Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Expendables 2

Lowdown: All the action heroes of yonder unite to blow stuff up.
Two years ago we had The Expendables, a movie that united plenty of action heroes – most of them generally retired by now – and put them all in one silly film. Alas, that particular film tried to make too much of the Stallone character at its center. That is, it tried to make what passes for a Stallone style statement. That is, it failed.
Now we have ourselves a second crack at the same formula with The Expendables 2. Sure we were in for a disappointment, I did not rush to rent this one out. Eventually I gave up and did, asking myself whether The Expendables 2 is going to double the disappointment?
Plot wise, we have ourselves the same "gang of geezers" action heroes, led by a Sylvester Stallone coupled with a much younger Jason Statham. I’m talking about the likes of Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren (Refresh me memory: didn’t he die in the first movie? Oh, why do I bother.). They are joined by a much younger sniper, Liam Hemsworth (the brother of the guy who played Thor). By blasting half the planet to oblivion, our crew rescues a millionaire as well as another guy who happened to try and rescue that millionaire for the same good money that motivated our bunch. You might have heard about that guy, he’s called Arnold Schwarzenegger (I think, but I'm unsure, he went by a different name in the movie).
Back home, the troops find themselves blackmailed by a CIA agent, Bruce Willis. He forces the gang to visit East European lands to retrieve some mysterious artifact with the aid of the movie’s token female character. But things go wrong and our gang is taken by a villain with an original name, Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme). Now they seek revenge as well as salvation, but rest assured: with the aid of all the big names I have mentioned thus far, as well as Chuck Norris, the good will blast/incinerate/blow/thump the baddies to hell.
In essence, The Expendables 2 takes the formula of its predecessor and magnifies it. There are more big names from the history books, more blasts, more silliness. It’s the latter that counts the most: unlike its predecessor, The Expendables 2 never takes itself seriously; it is a very silly film whose entire agenda involves blowing stuff up in rather ridiculous fashion while blatantly trying to involve the familiar stars in a manner that would induce famous quotes of yonder (ala “I’ll be back” or “Yippee-ki-yay”). This one is a Planet Hollywood reunion.
And you know what? It works! I thoroughly enjoyed this Expendables 2. I know it’s all too silly and all, and I think characters like Chuck Norris are pathetic; but the package works. The Expendables 2 delivers on its promise, for a change, and offers fine entertainment in the process. Now, how smart was the dude that decided to take Stallone off the reigns and put Simon West (Con Air) in charge of direction?
Best scene: Arnold bursts into the scene to save the day driving a digger not unlike the one that almost killed him in Total Recall. Oh, Arnie, how I missed you!
Overall: Silly, stupid, but damn good. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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