Film Review: The Expendables 2

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, and Jean Claude Van Damme
Directed by: Simon West

Earlier today, I just saw “The Expendables 2”. I did do a little shopping today, the only thing I picked up was, the “Jaws” Blu Ray which I’m looking forward to checking out. I’ve seen Spielberg’s “Jaws” too many times, but I’m just curious on how the film would look and sound on Blu. The “Jaws” Blu is pretty popular and selling fast, so I was curious on it. It is a classic Spielberg movie and one of his best. Now on with my review of “The Expendables 2”

Plot/synopsis: Mr. Church (Willis) reunites, “The Expendables” team, where he puts them on a mission that they need to retrieve an item from a safe that was on an airplane that was shot down in Albania. The Expendables team, gets two new recruits to join their group Billy (Hemsworth), and Maggie (Yu-Nan, a Chinese actress). While the team successfully gets the item from the plane, Billy is kidnapped by Jean Vilain (Van Damme). Without giving spoilers, one of the Expendables group is killed, so the rest of the Expendables do a mission of their own. To hunt down Jean Vilain and kill him.

When the first movie came out in 2010, the film got mixed reviews. You either loved the first one or hated it. Well it seems that Sly listened to the reviews. So he said, “Ah, to hell with it. I’m not going to direct the next one, I’ll pass the torch to someone else”. Sly just wanted to see if someone else could make the next film better… and surprisingly enough, the film was better. A MUCH BETTER FILM, than the last one.

As the movie opens, the action will start right off the bat. Kicking you in the ass hard, and the movie will immediately put you on the edge of your seat. The action was a lot more violent than the last one. The action scenes lasted longer too! Once an action scene starts it can go on for a good 20 to 30 minutes or more. It was indeed a thrill ride of an action movie. You can tell it was done the old school way. It clearly reminded me of those action films you see from the 80’s. That’s the whole point of “The Expendables” movies. They wanted a true action movie, that won’t be a CGI fest like most movies are nowadays.

The writing is definitely better than the last one. This one was more of an action/comedy, I had a few laughs at some of the jokes during the film. Especially the scene when Chuck Norris was first introduced. Did you know that they actually used one of his Chuck Norris facts (HINT: King Cobra)? It was great to finally see Chuck Norris in a big movie on the big screen after years of making straight to video films. The same can be said for Jean Claude Van Damme. It was finally great to see him on the big screen too. I thought Van Damme’s character, Jean Vilain, was one of the greatest movie villains I’ve seen in a long time. Van Damme did a great job in that role. I’m also happy to see Arnold back on the big screen in a major way. It’s nice to finally see him shooting machine guns again!

Of course, the character that continues to impress me the most is Dolph’s character, Gunner. He is a pretty special character and he’s the one that you would want to pay attention to the most out of the entire group. The first movie, Dolph misbehaved pretty badly, but now he’s a good guy in this one, obviously. In all honesty, Dolph’s character over the two films was never looked at as a villain, in my opinion. I think he was just confused on who he really is. My only complaint about this movie, is that I wished they used Jet Li more. He got lesser screen time in this one. Yes, Jet Li did get into a few good fight scenes, but his character is so cool. Just like the first movie, they didn’t use him much either. I also think they needed to do more with Randy Couture as well. Of course, with so many iconic action stars in one movie, it’s hard to give each guy a lot of screen time, so they try to give everyone a chance to shine as much as they can.

With all this being said, this was a thrill ride of an action movie. It was pretty breathtaking and will kick your ass. I had a smile on my face during the big gun battle toward the end of the film, when Arnold and Bruce both got into the action. Sly was real good in it too, of course. His fight scene with Jean Claude at the end of the film, was just epic.

This was indeed a major improvement than the last one, and I’m already looking forward to “EXP3”. So far, “EXP2” is one of the best films of 2012.

Score for “The Expendables 2” = **** (4 stars as in “excellent”)

Kev

Edit to add: Got the name of the director wrong, corrected it…

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