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The Expendables

The Expendables

What She said:

She

The Expendables 2 is made for dudes who like to watch other more macho dudes do super dudely things.  Not to worry, this movie wastes no time introducing you to the characters or torturing you with boring back story.  Oh no, we get to jump right in with the bloody fun.  In case you missed the first Expendables movie, these gems bring together all your favorite aging action movie stars—Stallone, Statham, Lundgren, Couture, Crews, and Li.  This second flick ups the ammunition, figuratively and literally, adding Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis in more prominent roles and also bringing in Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris.  Seriously, if they make a third one of these movies, I’m not sure who they can call to flesh out the cast, maybe Steven Seagal or Jackie Chan?

The Expendables

Anyway, I cannot really tell you what the storyline of this movie is because I totally missed it.  I think there’s something about foiling a plot involving bad guys trafficking plutonium, but honestly, I don’t even know.  I know that Stallone spends much of the movie trying to avenge the death of a comrade by killing Van Damme.  That much I got.  Either way, the plot is inconsequential to this film.  What’s important is that these 50-70 year old men had an excuse to hit the gym and the juice, and once again jack their bodies up to unparalleled proportions.  Stallone is so bulging and veiny that he looks like he might explode. 

There’s lots of big loud guns, big loud music, and big loud males.  The fight sequences are over-the-top, as is to be expected, and the fake blood is extra red and oozy.  The Expendables 2 also tries to upstage the original in the one-liners department.  There are some doozies.  And not to fear, there are Chuck Norris jokes.  If you’re a guy, you’re probably going to love this movie.  If you’re a girl, then you might not think so kindly of it.  It’s not too bad, but the Expendable 2 is a simplistic action-fest.

Thumbs half up.

What he said:

He

Barney Ross (Stallone) and his band of mercenaries are back for more macho madness.  The movie begins with them on a mission in which they are tasked with rescuing a Chinese diplomat. During the mission, they also bump into and rescue rival (but not necessarily enemy) mercenary Trench (Schwarzenegger). The movie opens with a bang as they mow through a town in Nepal to find the hostages. Bodies start dropping about 30 seconds into the movie. After the rescue they send the diplomat back to China (along with Jet Li’s character) and Trench disappears back to wherever it is he hangs out when not taking on bad guys.

While having a few beers during some downtime, new recruit Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) confesses to Barney that this life isn’t for him. He is a former solider and thought he’d try being a mercenary, but decides he’s had enough killing and wants to retire. He’s a standup guy though, so he tells Barney he wants to finish out the next job and then he’s done. Barney respects the kid and is actually a little jealous of his decision. This is the only life he knows, but sometimes he wishes he’d have done things differently, so he can understand the Kid’s decision.

The Expendables

Not long after that, Barney is strong-armed into doing a job for Mr. Church (Bruce Willis). If you haven’t seen the first one, Church is a CIA operative and has a history with Barney. The job seems insanely easy until an arms dealer (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and his henchmen ambush them. He steals what it is the Expendables were recovering, and also kills one of them! This pisses Barney off greatly. From that point on he sets out on a quest for revenge.

When I said the movie opened up with a bang, I meant it. The opening is a sequence of all kinds of macho activities. Oversized vehicles plowing through the town, giant guns cutting bad guys in half, and big muscular guys doing the driving and shooting. The ending also had a good fight between Stallone and Van Damme, and Statham some guy named Scott Adkins (who I hear is someone people are trying to push as one of the next action guys). As expected, there were also several good one liners, as well as an entertaining cameo or two. But there were several scenes where the guys were just standing there with giant weapons firing into even bigger crowds of bad guys, and they looked like they were doing little more than posing. It’s a shame they don’t put a little more effort into these movies. When these guys were all in their prime, action fans longed to serious various team ups and face offs between. Well we’re finally getting that, but it’s not as good as it could and should be. If you are a fan of some of the great action stars of all-time, it’s fun to see these guys do their thing together. But at the same time, you can’t help and wonder why they didn’t try a little harder to make something closer to the caliber of the action flicks we all loved from the 80s and early 90s. These movies represent both nostalgia and something of a missed opportunity. They’re okay. They entertained me, but I likely won’t seek them out any time soon. I’m more likely to watch some of their old movies I already own before that.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written for your written pleasure on November 28, 2012.