- User Rating: Excellent
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Almost every action hero of the last 30 years together, shooting up the landscape.
Cons:Expecting great cinema, don't see this movie. It just covers the plot holes with explosions.
The Bottom Line: This movie has more explosive head shots per minute than any other I have ever seen. You either like that, or you don't.
The Expendables 2 (2012) Directed by Simon West
Barney: I also heard you were bit by a King Cobra once.
Booker: That’s true. But after five days of horrible unendurable agony…the cobra died.
The Expendables was a neat concept that really did not stand much of a chance of being made into a workable movie; basically, you gather every big (physically and box office) action hero of the last thirty years, and make a movie about them being totally bad(if wrinkly)@$$ed. It worked.
The only complaint was; not enough Arnold, no Bruce Willis, no Jean Claude Van Damme, and no Chuck Norris.
The plot is simple; with a cast like this, you don’t want a complex plot. There is a McGuffin (that’s the term for whatever everyone is after). If it falls in the wrong hands, it will be very, very bad. In this case, the wrong hands belong to Vilain (Jean Claude Van Damme). Yes, they named the bad guy Vilain. Liam Hemsworth is the lucky kid, Billy the Kid, who gets to join these legendary heroes, and Nan Yu plays Maggie, a technical expert and safecracker necessary for the mission to play the collective love interest. They go for the McGuffin, they lose the McGuffin, they go to get it back.
How can such an insanely simple plot work? Actually, how could it fail? Simple plots actually work better than the convoluted ones. Besides, let’s not forget what the plot really is; it’s a delivery system for the action, just like coffee is a delivery system for caffeine. And in this case, it’s like a shot of espresso in a Jolt Cola.
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is the leader of the Expendables. How did Sly warrant top billing as the biggest action star? He wrote the script.
Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) is the copilot, gunner, and knife expert. He is also the baby of this crew at 45.
Yin Yang (Jet Li) is the prerequisite martial arts master, much more likely to disassemble the bad guys with his hands than a gun. His role this time is much more limited, almost a cameo. A pity, since the man is just so fun to watch.
Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) is the demolitions expert; a MIT graduate with a degree in chemical engineering and some serious problems. I always thought Dolph was born late; about a thousand years late. What a Viking he would have made. Oh, by the way, Dolph Lundgren IS a MIT graduate with a degree in chemical engineering.
Booker (Chuck Norris) is another merc in the biz; not one of the Expendables, but a convenient Deus ex Machina to haul their fat from the fire. Chuck has become such a legend he’s almost a joke of himself. But dang, the man is still making action movies at age 72.
Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme). Yes, they named the villain Vilain. That takes testicular fortitude. Of course, the actor has more than enough to spare to pull it off.
Church (Bruce Willis) as the puppet master who pulls merc’s strings, it’s easy to cast Church as one of the Villains. However, he redeems himself in the firefight. Then again, after you see his going away present to Barney, you might recast him as a villain again.
Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is another outside agent, not an Expendable, but in the same profession. He was just a cameo last time; this time, they gave his role more meat, and a few of his classic lines…or at least one, repeated repeatedly. I think they really missed the boat on this one; they should have called him Dutch.
Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) I never really thought about Crews as an action star, but he has had a few action flicks under the belt, and most of all, really looks the part.
Toll Road (Randy Couture) is a late comer to the genre; he was forty when he got his first role. However, I think we can all agree, he’s a natural.
Billy The Kid (Liam Hemsworth) is that necessary element in a good action revenge movie; he’s the sacrifice. While Liam isn’t the action hero his brother the god is, I would say he is laying the foundation well to enter the genre; I would not be surprised to see him offered more roles over this.
That’s quite a cast. The vast majority of them are on the high side of 50. Chuck Norris is 72. The “star” Stallone, is 66. It takes a certain amount of testicular fortitude to make an action movie where three of the big names are drawing social security. But that is what this movie is all about; getting the juices flowing; elevating your heart rate while you sit in theatre. Making the audience wince and jump, and break out in spontaneous yawps of masculine approval for a particularly well delivered bit of machismo. This movie has no underlying social message; it has no cultural value. It may, in point of fact, score negatively on social merit. But it knows what it is; the last hurrah of our old 80’s and 90’s action heroes and it sends them off with a bang…usually caused by a bullet…usually making the guy’s head explode.
I wonder if Wesley Snipes will be on board for Expendable’s Three?
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Movie Mood: Action Movie
Viewing Method: Sneak Preview at My Local Theater
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Script