The Expendables 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor; full of bloody action, self-depreciative quips, and a whole lot more Arnold Schwarzenegger. While this testosterone-filled action flick may not be for everyone, fans of the star-studded cast will find exactly what they’ve been looking for — explosions, gunshots, and a whole lot of fun.
It’s unreasonable to expect a movie that exists only to package together a star-studded cast to be much more than just a good time. The first Expendables (2010) was a huge disappointment, focusing too strongly on its very weak plot, while not providing enough of the action moviegoers hoped to see.
The story in Expendables 2 is definitely lacking, but still strong enough to tie all the fist fights, gun battles, and jokes about Randy Couture’s ears together into one cohesive package. There’s a story here about a bad guy who is so evil that he enslaves women and children to dig in his mines, searching for a stash of old soviet warheads.
The film’s villain, Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), seems to have an endless supply of henchmen and weapons at his disposable. His motivations remain unclear, likely because he’s just too evil to be understood by a movie audience with normal ambitions.
Fueled by revenge, Sylvester Stallone’s team of aging badasses travel the globe to put an end to Vilain’s madness. This all culminates in a brutal fistfight, where Stallone and Van Damme make their final stand. Much to the advantage of the film, the plot and characters are born from satire. Expendables 2 feels very much like an action movie parody, and a decently funny one at that.
Rather than trying to be its own, original movie, Expendables 2 is a museum for action flicks, an ode to the movies that made this incredible cast famous. The cast here is what sells the film: Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Chuck Norris, et al. This is a supergroup of aging action movie icons, and Expendables 2 displays them in as much of their former glory as possible.
Yeah, there’s the occasional serious moment slipped in there (with very cheesy results), but what else would you expect? This is a movie that needs every textbook moment of the genre in order to work and, for what it’s worth, Expendables 2 works surprisingly well on that basis.
It certainly isn’t for everyone. I myself probably will never see it again, but enjoyed the escape from reality while it lasted. The characters are simple, the dialogue is terrible, the acting is subpar — and that’s what a movie like the Expendables 2 needs. This is a guilty pleasure for the man in all of who just wants to see some explosions have a little bit of fun.