THE EXPENDABLES 2 (2012) Review

Directed by: Simon West
Starring: Every big, burly, badass, beefcake action hero ever

If testosterone ever decided to write, star in and direct a movie you could probably expect to see something similar to THE EXPENDABLES 2. The simple premise behind THE EXPENDABLES was to try and make THE AVENGERS of action movies. Basically gather the baddest motherfuckers together to create an unstoppable force of bullets and muscle. Although the first film didn't quite deliver on what it promised, the sequel has taken everything and cranked it up to 11 and in doing so has created an infinitely entertaining piece of mindless and destructive action.

Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team of tough as nails mercenaries are approached by CIA agent Church (Willis) and tasked with recovering some sensitive cargo which was aboard a plane when it crashed. It's supposed to be a quick and easy paycheck for the Expendables but of course things don't go to plan and one of their crew ends up being killed by the ruthless villain (who coincidentally is named Vilain) played by Jean-Claude Van Damme. It seems a bit of revenge is in order. Expendables style.

Joining the cast from the first movie are the living legend Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude as mentioned, Liam Hemsworth as crack sniper Bill the Kid and Nan Yu as the innocent looking but totally capable Maggie.
Jet Li drops out early in the film which I had no problems with at all with because along with Jason Statham I never really thought he fit in that well. Unfortunately Statham is in for the long haul. But the combined forces of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Norris, Lundgren and co. creates more than enough awesome to cancel out Statham's douchiness.

The movie get straight into the action, skipping the usual opening credits and indeed the film's title doesn't appear until around the 14 minute mark. The fast-paced introduction has explosions, bullets flying every which way, bodies piling up and finally the Expendables making their narrow escape. It is a pretty epic beginning and acts as a sign of what's to come.
The next mission which is the main focus of the movie has them run into Vilain and his vicious militants and introduces us to the Jean-Claude and his portrayal of an all round bad guy which I think he did a pretty good job at. It's the second villain he's played this year, the other being in the latest UNIVERSAL SOLDIER film.

When the Expendables lose one of their own to Vilain all hell breaks loose and Barney and his gang will stop at nothing to get revenge for their fallen comrade in addition to recovering the cargo they were hired to collect in the first place.
What follows is a huge war between the two groups with plenty of guns, bodies, explosions, zip-lines, an array of locations and a truckload of cheesy one-liners and terrible but hilarious jokes. The jokes and one-liners might seem downright stupid to a lot of people but I for one think that they added a lot more humor to the film and showed that the filmmakers and actors alike weren't taking themselves too seriously. There are references to DIE HARD, RAMBO, THE TERMINATOR and there's even a Chuck Norris joke thrown in for good measure.

This may all just sound like a lot of mindless, violent fun - but that's exactly the point! Nobody should be taking this movie too seriously, all you need to do is sit back, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. Nobody here is in danger of winning a best actor award any time soon, but the explosive fun and fast pace and film references here are exactly what fans of these ageing action heroes want to see. This is ten times more fun and enjoyable than the first film and a must see for action fans. It is lacking in a few departments and some of the new characters didn't really add much to it, and the big finale between Barney and Vilain isn't as climactic as it could have been but apart from those few problems this is non-stop action and fun from start to finish. I wonder how THE EXPENDABLES 3 plans to top this?

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