The Expendables 2 improves upon its predecessor. It’s no longer that Stallone/Statham heavy movie like the first but it still hasn’t quiet master the teamwork yet. The movie delivers on its promise of explosions, violence, and general “manliness”, even if it doesn’t offer a story worth writing home about. The movie makes a few mistakes when it comes to the actors but overall The Expendables 2 is the testosterone-pumping movie made for the big screen.
Back in 2010 I tagged along with my dad to go see The Expendables. I was surprise at how much I ended up liking the movie. It bordered along the line of so bad it’s good but it was still a lot of fun. It had a lot of action, big explosions, and cheesy one-liners. What more could be asked of an 80’s throwback action movie? Not to mention a movie full to the brim with all the classics stars, as well as a couple new faces. Given my satisfaction with the first one I was with open arms when I found out there would be a second.
One of my complaints from the first movie was that more than half of the movie was about Stallone and Statham’s characters. For a movie that touted an impressive cast they rarely were on screen except for the opening and closing scenes of the movie. I was pleased when they addressed this issue in The Expendables 2. The team for the most part is together throughout the movie and they all are given ample amount of screen time. It’s still a Stallone heavy movie but not to the extent of the first.
Minor Plot Spoilers
A lot of the characters are obvious cameo appearances, which is somewhat annoying. Norris, Willis, Li, and Schwarzenegger all have extremely limited rolls, which I suppose is to be expected, but personally I would have liked to see them more, especially Willis who is my favorite of the bunch. I am happy that he did have a larger role than last time but I wanted more. What follows is a major plot spoiler but it is the catalyst for the plot of the film and happens rather early on. Proceed at your own risk. One last plot spoiling crime that The Expendables 2 committed was the extreme misuse of Liam Hemsworth. The formula for this film was great but if they were going to keep The Expendables a reoccurring franchise they were going to have to find a way to keep things fresh. Enter Liam Hemsworth. I was excited about his inclusion because it felt like it was fresh blood in the mix and a chance for him to prove himself as an action star. However, the movie kills him off in the first forty-five minutes and only becomes motivation for the rest of the proven action heroes.
End Minor Plot Spoilers
Summary for the spoilers. The Expendables 2 still hasn’t mastered the art of teamwork when it comes to their star-studded cast. It favors certain stars over others but it is definitely an improvement from the previous film. The biggest crime of all is that the movie misuses one of its new faces.
Teamwork aside, all of the actors did a fantastic job. The thing I love most about The Expendables 2 is that you can tell they are having fun with it. The movie doesn’t take itself as seriously as the first and allows the cast to poke fun at themselves. The movie is filled with callbacks to other films. For example, there’s always some Terminator reference for Arnold, or Rambo for Stallone and it creates a fun dynamic between the cast. Even if the movie doesn’t know how to handle teamwork, the actors sure do. Together they make up a believable camaraderie and they behave like a natural group of friends. There are a few standouts from the cast. I admit I used to harshly critical to Statham in the past but when he’s on screen his fight scenes are always a spectacle to behold. Of course, Terry Crews was as entertaining as he always is and manages to do a lot with so little screen time.
Of course the biggest star of all in The Expendables franchise is the action itself. The movie opens up rather quickly with the team infiltrating a small town in order to save a Chinese businessman. The guns are loud, the blood is splattered, and the punches are punishing. Much like the first, second still found ways for me to be jarred at some of the fight scenes. They are all brutal, and unforgiving. The action really shines in the climax of the film and makes even the dull parts of the film worth the viewing.
As expected the plot is rather cliché and amounts to nothing more than a plot of revenge. They also tried to add in some subtle romantic subplots but in a movie like this it only slows down the pace. Honestly, The Expendables isn’t a series about plot so I’m more lenient when it comes to this category. However, audiences expecting the full package will most likely be let down from the less than stellar story. Of course, the movie chock full of cheesy one-liners which is a personal favorite aspect of mine but this is the kind of tone to be expected through the movie.
One of my biggest disappointments with The Expendables 2 was how bad some of the scenes looked. At times the movie seems to be extremely blurry and grainy for no apparent reason that I can think of. I understand that the movie is going for a grim and tough look but it shares the similar problem that Premium Rush did. These shoddy camera scenes only distract from the movie instead of adding any sort of style to it.
The visual effects in this movie are on the lower end of the quality bar. The blood splatters are less than impressive though abundant, and some of the vehicles such as helicopters or tanks seem obviously added in post. Again, I’m more lenient with this movie than I normally would be but overtime this will hurt the movie in the long run.
The Expendables 2 improves upon its predecessor. It’s no longer that Stallone/Statham heavy movie like the first but it still hasn’t quiet master the teamwork yet. The movie delivers on its promise of explosions, violence, and general manliness, even if it doesn’t offer a story worth writing home about. Audiences expecting this much will be pleased and entertained with this 80’s action throwback. The movie makes a few mistakes when it comes to the actors but overall The Expendables 2 is the testosterone-pumping movie made for the big screen.
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