The Expendables 2 Review

The Plot:

In the second big screen adventure for Sylvester Stallone’s superteam of action movie icons, our favourite gang of likeable mercenaries are back for war and out for revenge when one of their number gets killed on a supposedly routine mission. They’re also trying to save the world from a vicious crime lord threatening to plunge the world into nuclear war.

The Good:

Drenched in explosions and hysterical one-liners, The Expendables 2 delivers on the teasing promise of the first film and takes the concept of an action movie star mashup to the next level.

The tantalisingly brief cameo of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger alongside Stallone was undoubtedly the finest moment of the first Expendables film. This sequel reunites these three titans of testosterone, at last giving fans the real gun totting team up they always dreamt of. Seeing them finally side by side blasting their way through an army of disposable bad guys will surly leave devoted action fans in delirious ecstasy.

Fans have waited a long time to hear Arnie utter his immortal catchphrase, and The Expendables 2 makes a fitting return to the screen for arguably the biggest action star of all time. Casting ‘The muscles from Brussels’ Jean Claude Van Damme as the film’s Kung Fu kicking eurotrash bad guy is totally clichéd but still utterly inspired genius.  Likewise, the addition of Chuck Norris and his perfectly groomed beard to the cast of The Expendables 2 is simply an embarrassment of macho riches. Watching Chuck Norris destroy tanks and openly acknowledge his own mythical action god status is pure joy on screen. Like many of the films best moments of knowing comedic nods and ridiculously excessive action, it’s genuinely hard to stop yourself applauding wildly.

The first Expendables effort occasionally took itself a little too seriously and failed to take full advantage of the delightfully silly side of Hollywood action blockbusters. The Expendables 2 is everything the first film could and should have been. It’s so packed with wisecracks and action heroes poking fun at each other that it verges on a outright comedy. Even the film’s brief attempts at serious dialogue can’t help but draw wry smiles and big laughs from amused audiences.

Though The Expendables was criticised for its gory violence and frequent torture scenes, but the sequel is so fast moving that its violent excesses are really on a par with our average computer game. Hardcore fans won’t feel like they’re missing any CGI blood splatter, but more squeamish film fans won’t need to hide their faces much either. It’s a perfect balance of explosive mayhem and sanitised evil doer dispensing.

The Bad:

The Expendables 2 is a guilty pleasure that will obviously bring considerable less pleasure to those unfamiliar with the musclebound heroes of the 80s and 90s. Those who miss the frequent in-jokes may be left a little bemused by the grunting macho antics of aging bodybuilders. The testosterone fuelled he-man parade is admittedly aimed very much at big boys who like big guns. But every film has its target audience and it’s impossible to please everyone, no matter how much star power and explosives you throw at the screen.

The most severe critics might point out that the film’s plot is little evolved from the standard genre fair in the last Expendables outing. BUT in truth a complex emotional narrative is utterly unnecessary so long as there’s a vague excuse to destroy vast armies of faceless bad guys. Armed with a silly sense of fun The Expendables 2 doesn’t have any of the scenes of mumbling sullenness that spoilt the party the last time. The new writers and director have made a massive improvement in overall quality.

The Ugly Truth:

The Expendables 2 is a gun totting orgy of musclebound cinematic excess. Anyone left at all disappointed by the first Expendables experiment will have their thirst for cheesy one-liners and explosive action hero adventure totally satisfied this time. The good guys are back for war and back for fun. It’s a safe bet they’ll be back again too. Hasta la Vista film fans….




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