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Expendables 2- review

“Expendables 2” (2012)
Directed by Simon West
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham
Running Time 102 Minutes, Rated R.
2.5 Mitch’s out of 5
Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com

Just because you admit that it’s supposed to be a loving tribute to the dumb 80’s style action films doesn’t mean that it’s still not dumb.  “Yeah officer, I understand that I was driving drunk, but I was doing it to show how stupid people are when they do it.”  “Expendables 2” drives drunk the whole film and expects you to appreciate when it crashes into your front lawn’s mailbox.  I have no problem turning my brain off, because I want to see a film that these actors were in from their heydays, but the problem with the Expendables franchise is that their loving tribute comes off more as a loving spoof, and its hard to empathize with characters that are winking at just how silly their universe is.  

Plot schmot.  The walking cliche special-ops group for hire known as The Expendables are on a mission to find the blueprints to an enormous stockpile of Russian nukes (wink, wink). When one of them meets, and I bet you can easily guess, their untimely death.  The gang then goes on a mission of revenge, and this time it’s personal.  

With more than just a glorified marketing cameo this time, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis get about 10 more minutes of screen time than they did in the first film.  Both actors try out each other's fame making taglines, said with the believability of nothing more than Willis picking up a paycheck and Schwarzenegger desperately trying to be an action star again.  New to films are Maggie (gasp! a girl!) played by Nan Yu, The Hunger Games Liam Hemsworth (gasp! someone young!) and the Lone Wolf himself Chuck Norris (gasp! Chuck Norris!).  Norris comes off more wooden than... something very wooden (I couldn’t think of anything alright) who may have given the film’s biggest laugh when he delivered a pretty sweet “Chuck Norris joke”.  

My favorite addition was my favorite action star growing, Jean-Claude Van Damme.  He plays the film’s ruthless villain named Vilain (how mildly clever).  Van Damme, who turned down being in the first one is “Expendables 2”’s best thing going.  He’s the only one who really gives us something to chew on, and the climactic tough guy “mano y mano” fight with Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross was downright awesome.  The rest of the film doesn’t have an ounce of life that their fight did, and that’s too bad.  

I gave the first “Expendables” only 2 Mitch Heads (egotistical equivalent of stars), and I’m giving “Expendables 2” 2.5 Mitch Heads, so if my math is right I’ll be able to give the third one a mildly passing score of 3.  

I’ll be able to give “this” one a mildly passing score of 3.


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