“Six pounds of pure plutonium is powerful enough to change the balance of the world. Imagine what five tons will do.”
Director: Simon West
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme
Writers: Richard Wenk and Sylvester Stallone
When I watched the first Expendables I had some fun but was ultimately disappointed. I think this was mainly thanks to the editing. All these fights, and old stars kicking ass and I had trouble watching the thing. Whether this could be levelled in Stallones direction, it doesn’t matter as a new director might finally give me the movie I’m after.
Well I kind of got what I wanted. Stallone attempted some cool things with the first movie, but I just don’t think he really got a handle of it all. Simon West goes the other way and doesn’t really bring anything to the table. But he’s competent and at least this time the editing flowed better with the movie and while hectic you could see all the action happening. And it is now at this point I become a squealing fanboy as everything else was just damn awesome.
One of the biggest improvements story wise was the movie just leapt moving from one set piece to the next without taking the long periods of self reflection the first one did. As a celebration of the action icons of the past this is exactly how it should be. The story still has moments of navel gazing, and old timers feeling the weight of time and choices but this sequel balances this with the hardcore action and over the top violence.
Now onto the stars of this movie. Each actor is basically playing a glorified version of themselves, all the parts they’ve played rolled into one. Basically take a look at all the actors and if you like the list you’ll love this movie. But it’s not fair to leave it at that without singling three of my favourites. Dolph Lundgren steals a fair few of his scenes, and it was great to see him have a bigger part. I so want to see him and Jet Li do a buddy movie. Love or hate Chuck Norris the person, I have a fondness for Chuck Norris the action star. I loved watching his movies and seeing him here was great. His character in this is born from all the Chuck Norris memes on the internet, in fact they even manage to cram one of the Chuck Norris jokes in this movie. Finally there is the MVP of this movie, a man who isn’t playing an amplified version of himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme. The villain of the movie called Vilain (get it) and he’s just a bad ass. Smooth, psychopathic, able to jump kick Stallone’s head off. He’s everything you could want in a bad guy and I wish he was in the movie more.
Action is jam packed into this movie, and there were plenty of moments that I was cheering. Truly this was the movie that glorified the magnificent cheese of past action movies. Gauging from the audience’s reaction everyone was into the movie. It was also nice to see everyone get an action scene for audiences to cheer for. It did make me miss Arnold. However there was a downside to some of the action and that were the CGI blood effects. It wasn’t so much the over the topness of the effects but they really did look bad. What ever happened to using fake blood and a pump? Oh and i'm not sure if this was a problem with my cinema's print, but the quality was pretty bad with it being exceptionally grainy and low quality.
Expendables 2 was much better than the first. It got the balance better between action and reflective moments, with it realising that it needs to embrace the cheese. Just from the cast you should be able to figure out if you want to go along. If you were put off a little with the first movie, give this a go. I honestly can’t wait for the third movie. Time to bring on the CAGE!