The Expendables 2 (15)
Directed by: Simon West
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Nan Yu and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Running Time: 130 Mins
Sylvester Stallone gets the boys back together to tear up parts of the world with seemingly unending gunfire. If you’ve seen The Expendables, you know what to expect.
After a character introducing opening scene filled with ram-raiding modified armoured vehicles, an impressive amount of wiped-out extras, the best pan fight I have ever seen and some one-liners, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is once again hooked into a job he doesn’t want by Mr Church (Bruce Willis). When one of their own is killed completing this job, Barney Ross takes it personally and takes the fight to the new enemy.
Plot wise, it’s pretty light on the ground, the acting doesn’t help and some of the one-liners are quite frankly awful, but that’s not why we’re here. My main complaint about The Expendables was that it felt like some of the actors were brought along for the ride, to be a name alone in the credits. Statham and Li have produced some of the best film fight scenes in recent years and they alone should have carried any martial arts fights, but no one seemed allowed to explore their personal styles. In this sequel, all that changes.
In the Expendables 2, Li departs shortly after the first scene (he’s not the Expendable who dies) and is replaced by Nan Yu playing Maggie, but his presence is well felt during the opening and his pan fight is my most memorable moment of the film.
Statham as well later on during the film is allowed to explore his signature style during a solo multiple opponent take-down in a chapel with the line ‘I now pronounce you man and knife’.
Those disappointed by Willis’ and Schwarzenegger’s lack of action in The Expendables will be happy to know that they do get their action on in this film and although Norris’ role felt very forced, it is a fantastic scene and Norris carries it well.
Van Damme, although over the top and dressing like Wesker from the Resident Evil games, pulls off going as the only big name against the all-star roster.
Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren all operate pretty much in the background, they each get a small shot at the front of the screen, but are essentially big name extras. But Sly’s and Statham’s onscreen chemistry and bro-mance are show stealers. The fist poundings, the fights over the radio, the banter. If a movie duo ever needed space to explore their onscreen relationship it’s these two. Someone needs to write a road-trip cop movie and cast Sly and Statham.
If you enjoyed the Expendables, you will love The Expendables 2. If you didn’t enjoy the Expendables for the same reasons I did, you will love Expendables 2. If you don’t like over-the-top shoot outs, bad one-liners or 80/90s action films, you probably won’t like or get the Expendables 2. You won’t be challenged by this film, but you will be entertained, in parts, by some actors.