From my count, it’s a good 5 minutes into the Expendables 2 before an actual sentence is uttered. There’s lots of grunting, explosions, shooting and the occasional “booyah” but a sentence? Nup. Not having seen the first Expendables, I thought I might miss some vital story plot. That wasn’t the case. Explosion, gunfight, another explosion, 20 baddies getting gunned down in a particularly blood spattering way. Another explosion, airplane chase. Oh, and explosion. And that’s just in the first 5 minutes.
With a cast featuring some of movies greatest action men, you’d expect no less. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Jean Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris; the oldies prove they’ve still got it going on. The under 30 Eye Candy is provided by Liam Hemsworth (that’s right, Miley Cyrus fiancé) and new comer Nan Yu, who effectively replaces Jet Li as the Asian contingent after he exits within the first 10 minutes. She also provides a slight love interest for team leader Barney Ross (Stallone) I say slight, as they’re not stupid enough to let Stallone kiss her, because that would be a little gross, right?
The opening sequence sees the team rescuing a Chinese businessman from Nepal. Remember those 80’s TV shows where China, Korea, Europe and pretty much anywhere always looked like a piece of land just outside of L.A? Well, so does Nepal. They also rescue rival Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cue “I’ll be back” no “I’LL be back first” lines.
The team are then sent by shady CIA man Church (Willis) on a seemingly straightforward mission to retrieve a package from a crashed plane in Albania, but after one of the team is murdered by villain Jean Vilain (yes really!) it’s all about revenge. And getting the package back.
The Expendables 2 has enough cheese in it to block your arteries 3 times over. And once you embrace this and realize that the movie isn’t taking itself seriously, it’s good b grade fun. Van Damme is an excellent villain (Vilain!), playing it up for all he’s worth. They pay homage to all of their old action flicks, with catchphrases popping up throughout. Chuck Norris turns up to save the day on more than one occasion, and even utters some of the famous Chuck Norris “facts” You know the kind – you can’t Google search Chuck Norris, HE finds you etc. etc. Director Simon West (Con Air) provides plenty of great action sequences, but some of the funniest moments go to Stallone, perhaps unintentionally. When he is delivering his eulogy for his murdered teammate, the theatre erupted with laughter. I think it was meant to be touching and moving. Whoops. Once you discover that Stallone was actually involved with the writing, it makes much more sense.
Leave your brain at the door for the Expendables 2. I can almost see the drinking game being created for it already (drink when Sly is unintelligible, double shot when there’s an old action movie catchphrase). Sure, it’s dumb. But it’s fun as well.
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