Within 40 seconds of Expendables 2′s Title Card, the music starts to bump and the movie’s leathered cast begin to mow down the faceless horde of badguys. What follows is a good 15 minute montage of Jet Li, Dolph Lundren, Jason Stathum, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, and Sylvester Stallone ripping swaths into the army protecting a small base in a town that could have easily remained nameless. The stage is set for the hour and 40 minute ride into madness that could have easily been the plot of some kids play time with his GI Joes. But, should we ask for anything more from an end of Summer action movie sequel showcasing bygone action stars and character actors? Nope.
After a cold opening that featured dozens of well choreographed fight sequences, pyrotechnics, and “witty” one-liners, I was happy to see the focus move towards the guys hanging out. The crew seems a bit more closer this time around, allowing for geniune moments of laughter as their banter plays out. Unfortunately, it seems like halfway through the script, they ran out of new ways to keep this going and instead relied on the repetition of a joke or the ever easy target of Mr. Couture’s cauliflower ear. I feel their need to put an explanation point jibe on every death left very little in their tank as the movie progressed.
That’s where the real problems of this film come into play. When it comes down to it, it’s a lazy script that is saved by the cache of its cameos and the infinite gallons of CGI blood at its disposal. Many of the new cameos come on screen and spend a few seconds just pausing as if waiting for the claps that would come from their appearances. With each entrance, the star would smile and nod, knowing full well their badly written lines would still fill fans with joy. Unfortunately the movie suffers from a major need to fill in dead air with repetition of lines or with non-sequitors grunted by one of the cast members. I kid you not, even some of the weapons in the movie wanted in on this and have lines like, “Knock, Knock” and “Coming Soon” printed on their sides. I sat there during a scene and I heard one of the characters called a “lone wolf” three different ways all within the span of seconds of each other. These moments happen through out the movie, where characters will say something, only to be parroted by another character with the conversation ended with a veiled threat to shoot, stab, or kill the other person, then laughter. It’s a grating formula that wears thin, quickly.
But, that’s how it should be, shouldn’t it? This “franchise” should be about the people involved and the ludicrous orgy of action that is unleashed wherever they go. Expendables 2 knows what it is and aims to please those willing to suspend belief and allow themselves the thrill of watching these guys kick some ass. That being said, the amount of winks at the camera were just too frequent and caused more moments of awkwardness than anything else. They already had these aging monoliths on screen, did they really need every one of their catchphrases thrown out “ironically” throughout the movie? But that’s the problem with these larger than life characters, how do you know when to say when when everything is already over the top?
Rich’s Recommended Viewing:
Opening Weekend – At The Theater – Rent It – Watch It On Cable – Stay Away! – 3dfs/5
When it comes to Expendables 2, you know what you’re going to get. You don’t pony up at the theater or check out the disc down the line, unless you’re up for a big dumb action movie. I can honestly say that I had a lot of fun with the movie and the cynical in me was won over on more than one occasion as the movie surprised me with inventive kills or just how over the top it was willing to go. See it in the theater if you’re up for this kind of movie because the spectacle is well worth the ticket price.