“Expendables 2” brings back all the action, stars, and cheesy lines of its predecessor. Its predecessor “The Expendables” is a throwback to the days of our youths with the action stars that many of us grew up with, just older, slower, but using the same lines.
You get the entire bloodlust of the first Expendables film in the first five minutes of the movie. It packs all the action that every adrenaline junkie wants, and the B-movie flair that was so popular in the 80’s. Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), and Toll Road (Randy Couture), return to battle evil for Mr. Church (Bruce Willis). Newcomers Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Nan Yu) join the crew in different capacities, and prove vital to the team.
They are thrown into a battle in Albania that tests them both physically and emotionally, while combating Villain (Jean Claude Van Damme). Tracking down Villain after stealing a special device that shows hidden plutonium deposits becomes a revenge mission after one of their own is killed. Taking the town folk under their wing outside of the mine, they must save their families and the world from Villain.
Poking fun at themselves, their signature catch phrases, and their old age is what gives this action movie some surprise laughs. Booker’s (Chuck Norris) first scene in the movie brings about tons of laughter from the audience, poking fun at himself. “I heard you once got stung by a king cobra,” says Barney. “Yes I did, and after five excruciating days of pain the snake died,” replied Booker.
Once the killing stops the problems begin, with nearly no one able to do a semblance of acting on the screen. Random plot twists that are completely out of left field make you leave this movie scratching your head wondering how that happened.
The problem with bringing back all the 1980’s action stars in the 2010’s? They are all way above the age that they should be doing this, even though the film brings in younger talent, the old stars just seem out of place.
“Expendables 2” has a better backstory than the first “Expendables,” with a better character connection, but this movie feels like a rehash. They moved from Latin America to Asia, switched in a villain boss instead of a dictator, and kept the oppression of people in the community.
Most of us grew up watching one of these actors in an action movie, when they were in their heydays, but now they are just out of place. We have our spy thrillers, romantic comedies, horror, but no longer the shoot’em up action of the 80’s.
In our youths we had all the action heros from Arnold to Bruce to Sylvester to Chuck, and that seems a bygone era in today’s world. The action stars that were supposed to become the new Arnold’s, like the Rock,never panned out, and today’s action movies leave us craving for the B-movie quality of the past.
The movies were cheesy, the action seemed impossible, but we ate them up. No one wanted the multi-million dollar CGI effects that we have today. This film is bare knuckle fighting and low tech special effects, just like it was in the 80’s.
The scenes never seemed possible and the action wasn’t plausible, but audiences loved it and craved more. Nothing made sense but thats what made action films fun.
Everything eventually comes back in style, and maybe now is the time we can bring back these action classics. With their seemingly impossible action sequences, and attempts at comedy, we pine for the hero to win, and wonder how they will complete their next mission.
If you want a throwback to the past and some high-octane scenes that never get old, then this movie is for you. Three stars out of five.