The Expendables 2 (2012)
Director: Simon West
Jean-Claude Van Damme/Vilain
Mr. Church (Willis) imposes a new mission on The Expendables and Jean Claude Van Damme’s goat loving psycho character Jean Vilain gets in the way of them accomplishing it. Before you can spell “testosterone overload”, things get personal, bullets fly, one liners are dropped and bodies hit the floor! Party time!
The boys are back in the trenches and this time they’ve brought more back-up to help them jack up the body-count to a ludicrous degree! I loved the original THE EXPENDABLES, even with its faults, and the same can be said about this sequel. Am in the dark as to how the new generation will respond to this kind of movie, being that it’s basically a Cannon action film with a budget; but all I know is that I grew up with Sly, Arnie, Van Damme, Chuck, Willis and Dolph, and here they are all in the same freaking movie whooping that ass! Hard to f*ck that up for me...
This sequel was definitely heavier on the quips than the first film! Don’t get me wrong, there was some Sly soul searching stuff (reminded me of Rocky), a gripping father/son like relationship with the new kid in the team (Hemsworth) and an endearing old cynic versus young hopeful (Nan Yu's character) thing going on but at the end of the neck snap; The Expendables 2 exists to be a fun, macho, bullet filled ride and it so delivered as that! It was obvious to me that the cast had a blast doing this one and I joined in the festivities. Filled with jokes and self referential humor (as to their films and in Dolph's case real life back-ground), I chuckled many o times while arm wrestling this bad boy. All of the Chuck Norris stuff in particular was golden (I love how they squeezed in a Chuck Norris fact in there)! Yup, it came off like a get together of a bunch of old friends, and that definitely made for a mucho appealing vibe.
Action wise; when they hired Simon West to direct the picture, I was a bit concerned. Sorry guys but I hated Con-Air; it was a poseur action flick in my book (with one good shot - the "Con Hair", mullet, kick - which ripped off Hard Target). But The Expendables 2 didn’t have that problem. West shot the action get-downs in a fairly old school way. We got lots of wide shots and fight scenes that you can actually see unravel (much better fight editing here than in the original). Get ready to have your mind blown by some of the set pieces found in here. The film opened uber strong with one hell of a diverse extended action ripper and kept peppering me with mayhem throughout till the explosive last act. NOTE: The stunt work in here was insane! The shit they pulled off was mucho impressive. And this was the real deal, done practical. It was a breath of dead air to witness!
What about the cast? What do you think! Stallone once again acted as the core of the film. The man still looked fit and comfortable throwing them killer punches. Dolph Lundgren was amazing, he ran with the role (he was basically the comic relief) and stole lots of scenes from under peeps noses once again! Jason Statham was Jason Statham (great role) and he had some awesome knife moves to show off. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger basically had extended cameos, but at least this time we got to see them mow down some scum within their limited screen time. Nan Yu brought a sprinkle estrogen to the mix and (much like the broad in the first film) reminded me of Co from Rambo 2. Finally Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jet Li (who exits the film pretty early) and Liam Hemsworth were more in the background but still delivered the goods! Update: yes Charisma Carpenter is in the film, for like 3 minutes. Baby looked good, but not much of a role.
To me the stand out of the show were the two main bad guys who were sadly a tad underused. Scott Adkins slapped on his Russian Boyka accent from the Undisputed series and owned the screen as the right hand fist. Dude has some moves on him (Adkins is basically one of the heirs to the action throne) and I loved every second of his physical throw downs. But the real star of the show, the one that stole every damn frame that he was in, the one that begged for more coverage was Jean Claude Van Damme as the nemesis Jean Vilain (Get it? Villain). Van Damme hadn’t been in a big screen wide release since Universal Soldier 2: The Return in 1999 (JCVD got a limited release) and man was it money to see him up there again! He commanded the screen, oozed of evil charisma and when it came time for Van Dammage, you bet he put out a couple of his signature kicks. Van Damme was definitely the main highlight for me. Hopefully Hollywood will recognize the man’s talent and give him another theatrical flick to spin kick in. He f*cking deserves it.
Which brings me to my bummers. I didn’t feel the film emptied its whole clip. I mean, why didn’t Dolph Lundgren have a real mano et mano? Why were the two fights in the last act cut so short? Maybe I was spoiled via the Stone Cold versus Sly man-dance in the original, but here it felt like the boys held back a bit, favoring gunplay. Maybe they’re just too old for that shit. After Sly broke his neck while filming the first film, I kind of don’t blame him. The script also had its fair share of conveniences to serve the plot, the fate of one character was so see through it wasn’t even funny, one monologue made no sense to me (they killed your dog…?) and if Arnold drops "I’ll be back" one more time, I’ll toss my The Running Man DVD out the window. We know you’re back bro, it’s too gimmicky now, let it go and lets MOVE ON! But those are all nit picks.
All in all, The Expendables 2 gave me exactly what I craved from it: all of my favorite action stars in one film, a mammoth body count, all kinds of carnage, mucho kabooms for my bucks, some tight fights, lots of laughs, another badass/Rambo-ish score by Brian Tyler and lots of thrills and smiles! These dudes may be old, but they haven’t forgotten how to crack skulls. So yeah man, count me in for The Expendables 3! Am game!
The splatter reminded me of Rambo (2008). Lots of heads blown off, peeps riddled with bullets, knife wounds and countless baddies being BBQed by explosions.
T & A
Do Terry Crews gargantuan biceps count as TNA? Dude is a beast!
Real action lives again! The Expendables 2 won’t win any screenwriting Awards but it gave me exactly what I wanted from it. All of my favorite action heroes in one movie, all kinds of sick action, some nifty fights, mucho explosions, laughs galore, some gore and a body count that put the C in “count”. Everybody was on top of their game, Lundgren was hilarious, Adkins was the shit but Van Damme undeniably stole the show as Vilain. The man still has it! Hopefully Hollywood will wake up and give him another big budget shot! In short; if you’re going in The Expendables 2 to witness jaw dropping and epic action scenes, crazy stunts, nameless baddies getting their heads blown off and all kinds of comic banter, you’ll be well served here! I am seeing it again this weekend! I wanna give it my money! Lock and load!
Donnie Yen was offered a role in the film.
Nicolas Cage, Antonio Banderas and John Travolta were approached but couldn't do it due to scheduling conflicts.
The flick was shot for $100Million.