Directed by: Simon West
Written by: Richard Wenk, Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Liam Hemsworth and Randy Couture
While remakes are occupied with making old blockbusters look cooler, using young talent and the capabilities of today’s special effects, The Expendables gives a neck-snapping nod to the good-triumphs-evil action genre without having to replace the original heroes of the 80s and 90s.
The second installment of The Expendables returns to the screen with enough fire power to start a war, and plenty of one-liners that are as classic and familiar (albeit predictable) as Arnie’s accent. While the film offers non-stop action, Chuck Norris, and some cheesy jokes, The Expendables 2 suffers from a lack of originality in plot, and a lack of charisma from new characters.
Barney (Stallone) takes on a mission to retrieve a top secret blueprint from a safe before it gets into the wrong hands. Of course, it gets into the wrong hands, and these hands happen to be the meaty hands of Jean-Claude Van Damme who plays a super villain intent on digging up plutonium, thanks to the blueprint he yoinks off Barney.
There’s no need to go into the details of the plot, because none of it really matters in comparison to the flying bullets, grenades, knives, and fists that make The Expendables 2 so entertaining. With an extended cameo by Chuck Norris, The Expendables 2 get some laughs that reference the stars’ heyday movies, and celebrity status, and more exposure given to Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger make up for their smaller roles in the first movie.
But for all of its entertainment value and rather violent bromance onscreen, The Expendables 2 could have been a much better action drama. At one point, the story reaches for a deeper message than simple-minded, bloody rampages, and even presents Barney with a potential love interest, but in the face of CGI blood and one-liners you can see coming from a mile away, The Expendables 2 loses sight of its structure and story as a feature film.
The chance to see old action stars who defined a genre reunite and blow shit up is definitely one not to miss. But even in all the fun and explosive entertainment, it’s hard to ignore what it could have been with a better story and more engaging characters.