PG Cooper: The Expendables 2 Review

Posted: September 5, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: August 17th, 2012

Running time: 1 hour and 43 minutes

Written by: Richard Wenk, Sylvester Stallone, Ken Kaufman, and David Agosto

Based on: Characters created by David Callaham

Directed by: Simon West

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and Dolph Lundgren

Back in 2010, Sylvester Stallone put together an action film called The Expendables. It had a pretty standard action film plot, but the catch to the film was the cast, which had several major action stars including Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Jason Statham, and others. The film also featured cameos from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I was pretty excited but was overall underwhelmed. The film had a lot of problems and overall wasn’t very good. My enthusiasm for the sequel wasn’t very high but to my shock I got a lot of enjoyment from The Expendables 2.

The titular Expendables are a group of mercenaries who travel around the world killing bad guys and saving good guys. The group is made up of Sly Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, and Jet Li. Of course, all these actors have characters they’re playing, but I’m not going to bother using them. It doesn’t matter that Sylvester Stallone’s character is called Barney Ross, you are going to call him Sylvester Stallone anyway. Early into the film, the team is contacted by Bruce Willis, who sends them on a job to find a computer file…or something like that. The team gets the file, but it is then taken by the villain of the film, Jean Claude Van Damme and his team of evil. So The Expendables have to, as Sly puts it, “Find em, track em, and kill em!”

As you’ve probably deduced from the plot description, the plot isn’t exactly Inception. It’s a straightforward action plot with very few twists and turns. The story is more or less exactly what you’d expect. Of course the simplicity works as an asset in many ways. The film does have focus and the story never becomes convoluted. The good guys are good and the bad guys are evil. It’s mind numbingly simple but if you’re willing to accept the simplicity it’s easy to get into and have a good time.

The purpose of the film isn’t to tell a good story anyway, it’s to get a bunch of action heroes together and have them go through a lot of action set pieces. This was the same goal as the first film but this time around, The Expendables 2 actually succeeds. Even though it’s mostly the same cast as the first film, but they’re used much better here. First off, the characters I actually like are focused on, where as boring characters like Randy Couture are mostly left in the background. Expendables 2 also has better villains than the first film. Jean Claude Van Damme makes for a good villain and he’s also given a psychotic henchman who’s also a lot of fun. Chuck Norris’ appearance is also a lot more fun than I would have expected it to be. Most importantly though, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis are in the film a lot more than in the first. They aren’t main characters or anything, but they’re given enough to do and watching them was a lot of fun.

The action scenes here are pretty kickass. The film opens with a massive set-piece which features car crashes, explosions, shootouts, and martial arts. It’s an awesome way to start the film, perhaps too good, since the film is never able to top the opening until the climax. The action is brutal and bloody, but in a way that’s fun and not unsettling. The action is entertaining throughout, but things are taken to a new level during the climax. Throughout the climax we’re given an epic shootout, fun car chase, and two brutal one-on-one fights. There’s not a lot of tension in these shootouts given that the film’s protagonists feel like unstoppable super humans, but the scenes are still a lot of fun.

The Expendables 2 is a stupid movie. The dialogue is goofy, the character development is non-existent, the story empty, there is little tension, and no depth…and I had a blast watching it. Maybe it’s a guilty pleasure, or maybe I was in the mood for a fun action romp, but I had a great time watching it. I realize and acknowledge its many flaws, and there are many, but I can still push past them to enjoy the film. If someone were to criticize the film, my only real defence would be to say, with a smile and shrug, “I had fun.”

Rating: B

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review PG. The first one had its moments, but this one has plenty more of that and with plenty more iconic faces that I have missed seeing for so long. Hopefully this means that they’ll be back to stay for good. Hopefully, though.

  2. Miles better than first :D

  3. Chris says:

    Inception, hmph!!!!!

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