I Saw A Film Today… The Expendables 2

I had no intentions of seeing The Expendables 2. It might be a slightly weak excuse, but I never saw the original. I knew that this film is really a sequel that does not need a viewing of the original. No, the film I intended to view on my weekly visit to the cinema was The Bourne Legacy. But the official website for the theater, and also the place I work at, got the showtime wrong and I showed up fifteen minutes late. So I settled for Walking Leather Coats 2.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his haggard group of military specialist, which includes blade expert Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), hand-to-hand expert Yin  Yang (Jet Li), crazed and unstable fighter Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), weapons specialist Hale Ceasar (Terry Crews), Young sniper Billy (Liam Hemsworth), and Demolitions expert Toll Road (Randy Couture), are still kicking and protecting ‘Merica. The group this time around is approached by a CIA agent named Mr. Church (Bruce Willis), who turns in a favor to employ the lads for a seemingly easy mission.

But things are not as easy as that when a French wannabe arms dealer named Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) kills a team member and steals the package the team was commissioned to retrieve. Now Ross has a vendetta against Vilain, who has plans of stealing a large amount of plutonium and selling it to the big baddies of the world. Then some explosions occur, slews of nameless and untrained mercenaries are killed, and cheesy dialogue is spoken.

If I were to try to summarize the experience you will get from The Expendables 2, the best way to do so would be to call it an extremely loud and incredibly dumb film. It has all the negative aspects of a bad 80’s film. It’s CGI, which is heavily present in this film,  is on the level of an early 00’s low-budget film. And somehow it was made in the last year. Go figure.

When things are not exploding or gratuitous violence is not taking place, this film is actually really boring. The scenes just seem to drag on without any real pacing. The scene where one of the team members is taken hostage goes on for a long time. You know what is going to happen. You know the guy is going to be killed. Yet Stallone and JCVD, who is a boring and only slightly menacing antagonist, have a manhood-measuring contest for about four minutes. Statham joins in too with JCVD’s sidekick goon as well. The whole thing boiled down to a rather dull scene. And the rest of the time that the guys aren’t firing weapons off, they speak of nothing outside of how tough their job is.

The casts in this film are action film vets. I mean if you boiled down why this film exist, that’s kind of the whole point, right? Get a bunch of the old guys and friends together to make a movie. That’s why I have a hard time understanding why most of these performances are so bland. These guys should shine in a movie like this. Stallone and Lundgren are just inaudible mumbling messes and don’t seem to put much effort into this. Jet Li is in the film a whopping six minutes. And Liam Hemsworth only slightly more.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Chuck Norris (who is already a terrible actor) are left with little more than recycling famous catch phrases from their most noteworthy films. For one, these guys are not comedians. So why they made an attempt at humor here is beyond me. Second, can we take a moment here to recognize how unoriginal the names of these characters are? Lee Christmas. Yin Yang. Toll Road. Billy the Kid. Gunner Jensen. And the villain of the film is named Jean Vilain. Really?

There are some who do shine here somehow. Jason Statham isn’t as old as most of these guys but he shows his talent as an action star here as he has done time and time again. I also rather liked, surprisingly, Randy Couture. He has stated that he sees his character as the glue that holds the group together. I can see that. There is a certain subtlety about him. I’m intrigued to see more work from him.

I went in to this film expecting little more than being mindlessly entertained, which would have been satisfying enough. But not even that was delivered here.

Verdict: Skip it!

*Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout.

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One Response to “I Saw A Film Today… The Expendables 2”

  1. great review.
    sounds terrible. haha.

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