Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Expendables 2 ★★★

Insert One-Liner Here

Written by Matt Giles
Edited by Erin Accomando

There are too many movies out there that are misrepresented through poor marketing. Oftentimes they're not well received and leave audience members feeling cheated out of their money. It could seem as though the days of knowing exactly what you're getting when you enter a theatre are gone, unless of course you're going to see The Expendables 2, the sequel to the 2010 film that offers everything you're hoping for with a one-two punch. If you were a fan of both the first film and the eighties action films it represented, you won't be disappointed.

Our rag-tag group of misfits are back with an explosive vengeance, this time to square off against Jean-Claude Van Damme, an arms dealer who, early in the film, brutally kills one of their own and takes possession of a blueprint containing the location of five-tons of plutonium. Added to the mix on the good-guy-side are expanded roles for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis; an appearance from Chuck Norris, who delivers perhaps the cheesiest lines in the film; Liam Hemsworth, the newest recruit to the team; and Nan Yu, a Chinese Agent assigned to the team by Willis's Mr. Church. Everyone else on the team returns except for Mickey Rourke, who is never referenced but sorely missed, and Jet Li, who unfortunately only appears in the film's opening. Of the returning players, I enjoyed the chemistry between Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham - a perfect match-up for the old and new action star personalities - and also that the rest of the group were actually in most of the movie, something that the first film lacked.

Stallone himself is an actor that (in my opinion) doesn't get enough credit. He may look like he needs to take a breather every now and then and yes, he has a lot of one-liners that many may role their eyes at, but he never fails to bring some humanity to his roles, at least in his current career upswing. I may be accused of taking him too seriously, but seeing what he does with his character The Expendables 2  illustrates his soft side and emphasizes why he's the leader of this group. In addition, Van Damme is much more of an evenly matched villain to Stallone's hero than Eric Roberts was in the previous installment. He doesn't play the menacing bad-guy in the conventional sense; he's more reserved than you might expect and it serves him well here.

While the actors are fun to watch, the action is equally as fun, relentless though it may be. Everything in this sequel seems to be just a little bit better than the first time around. Much of that may be due to the fact that Stallone chose not to direct this one and instead gave the directing duties over to Simon West, who has experience in directing silly action films like Con Air. I liken this film to a roller coaster that lasts nearly two hours. Strap yourself in and just enjoy the ride.

If you grew up watching films like Commando, Rambo and Die Hard, you'll have a lot of fun. This is an action film that is completely unbelievable yet entirely entertaining. It's reminding its audience that no matter how old these action stars may get, they've still got it. Being released at the end of a summer that has brought us several super-hero movies and an Alien prequel (sort of), The Expendables 2 serves as comfort food for people like myself who sometimes just need terrible one-liners that follow giant explosions.

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