Monday, September 3, 2012

The Expendables 2 - A Nonstop Badass Testosterone Fueled Thrill Action Joyride

2010 saw the release of The Expendables, a movie that set out to use and exploit every possible action movie trope in existence and pair it with an all star cast. Needless to say, it succeeded and a sequel was released on August 17 of this year. I apologize if this delay seems a little late, but school has just crawled back into my life, which means I won't be able to spend as much time as I would like playing the games, watching the movies and reading the comics that make this blog work. What's important however is that I have seen it now and think it's one of my new favorite action movies.

The plot is this: After a sequence in Nepal, Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) has a new job for Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his mercenary group The Expendables to retrieve an important item from a downed plane. To aid in this operation, he sends Maggie Chan (Yu Nan) with them to the site. However, they are ambushed during the job by Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), an arms dealer who wants to use the item to locate a large stockpile of Plutonium to make lots and lots of money. After an event within this first encounter, Ross leads his group on a quest to stop Vilain from accomplishing his goals and finally be even with Mr. Church.

This time around, I felt that the plot was actually more coherent and believable for an action movie. All of the actors do their part to help, with Van Damme doing a surprisingly good job as a villain (yes, the villain's name is Vilain), a cold and ruthless one at that. There's also some new blood in the form of Liam Hemsworth, who some may recognize as Gale Hawthorne from The Hunger Games, as a new recruit named Billy the Kid, who does well for his role and I think a couple more roles in movies like this one could lead to a good film career. While some characters are shoved aside, such as Yin Yang (Jet Li) leaving early on and Toll Road (Randy Couture) barely speaking at all, this is understandable due to the expanded roles of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as a brand new character played by none other than Chuck Norris. I liked Willis and Schwarzenegger playing off each other in their scenes, the latter even manages to steal the show from time to time, but Norris' acting admittedly felt a bit wooden compared with the rest of the cast (though he is better than Keanu Reeves). Then again, he likely wasn't hired to act well.

That is where the meat of this movie kicks in: action that contains so much testosterone in a single frame that it puts other action flicks to shame. This movie has it all. We're talking fist fights, gun fights, explosions, chains as a weapon, missiles, explosions, knife fights, tanks and explosions. I can't really say too much about the action sequences so that I don't take too much away from them, but believe me when I say that they are all incredibly awesome and will make you say phrases akin to "Whoa!" and "Holy [expletive]!" Sometimes, I couldn't help myself from laughing with joy and merriment.

Speaking of laughter, this movie, like its predecessor, was laugh out loud funny at the right times. A lot of the humor came from quips regarding each actor's careers, as well as an inevitable Chuck Norris joke adapted to suit his character Booker. While cute, some of these feel a little cheesy later and a little out of place. On the other hand, they do help to ease the tension while watching the movie.

A minor complaint that I have though is that sometimes, when looking at a given scene, you can sort of tell what's going to come next. While I'm not going to give examples, though I will mention that one involves Billy the Kid, I will admit that these and minor plot holes do not detract from the sheer awesome onscreen.

It's very clear that The Expendables 2 doesn't take itself seriously, a fact established in the first ten minutes where you realize that everyone is just there to be totally badass, nor does it try to. You can tell that everyone involved had a lot of fun working on the movie, with the end result being a product that is well worth the money and simply does not fail to entertain. Fans of action movies and the first Expendables will definitely enjoy this one, though I encourage older viewers to give it a shot as well. It delivers on all levels and for that I am deeply satisfied.

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