Nepal. A South Asian country of about
thirty million… until The Expendables killed every last one of
them in this film's opening sequence. I'm pretty sure
all thirty million of 'em are dead now. There is a
vacant country in Southern Asia if anybody in that area wants
to start their own little nation. The Expendables have
returned, in the aptly titled 'The Expendables 2' and they are
going to blow some stuff up real good.
After surviving that harrowing trip to Nepal, having to deal
with a bunch of soldiers clearly trained by the Storm Trooper
training brigade, the team settles back at their bar to enjoy
the good times. Of course you remember them… Barney the
leader (Sylvester Stallone) his lovelorn right hand man
Christmas (Jason Statham), the depressed Toll Road (Randy
Coutre), the gun loving Caesar (Terry Crews) and the
completely unhinged Gunner (Dolph Lundgren). Jet Li as
Yin Yang did join in for the opening sequence but apparently
he had another movie to shoot in Hong Kong at the time and
jumped out of an airplane before we made it back to the
bar. We also have a new expendable in young super sniper
Billy (Liam Hemsworth) who confides with Barney that this life
really isn't for him, and that he's going to leave the crew
behind to live with his French girlfriend he loves so
much. After the next job. Barney should've stabbed
young Billy right there in his eyeball to spare us from
grieving about him later on.
So what's the job this time? CIA honk Church (Bruce
Willis) is still all pissy about what went down in the last
movie and needs Barney to set it straight, so he dispatches
the crew to do a real simple gig, grab some case from a
crashed plane. Easy. Barney has to take a the full
ruby red lips of Miss Maggie (Nan Yu) along, but I'm guessing
the girl can take care of herself since she's Asian and this
is an action movie which means by default, she knows kung
fu. Easy gig.
Oh well. Waiting for them once they
retrieve this case is completely evil Mr. Vilain (Jean-Claude
Van Damme), leader of the hated gang known as the Saings and
he wants the case and he has Billy the kid as a hostage.
Obviously nobody wants to see Billy die... for whatever
reason… so the Expendables give Vilain what he wants.
Damn if this cat isn't a really, really bad dude. Kind
of. I mean he could've and should've killed them all
right there, saving himself a lot of trouble in the very near
future, but no… he kills just enough to piss Barney off and
ensure his ultimate demise.
Now it's on as our Expendables, plus the hot chick, minus one,
hunt down Vilain for blood thirsty revenge. And where
Arnold Swarzenegger and Bruce Willis just dropped in on the
last movie cameo style, they're here for the full bloody ride
this time. Man, even Chuck Norris decided to hop off his
Total Gym to help out. What's going to happen?
Stuff will blow up, bad guys with automatic weapons will hold
them casually and not pull the trigger when required while
getting systematically mowed down, and stuff will blow up some
more. This we know.
I gotta admit that I didn't enjoy the Simon West directed 'The
Expendables 2' nearly as much as I enjoyed the Sylvester
Stallone crafted 'The Expendables' which was one of my
favorite movies of 2010, despite the fact that this movie was
bigger, bloodier, more action filled, crazier, more star
studded and stupider. All of that in itself should've
made for a more entertaining action ride but… and I hate to do
this for a movie called 'The Expendables 2'… but I'm gonna
have to get all critical on this one. What I did
not realize about the first movie, which I re-watched before I
checked out the sequel, was that Stallone actually infused
subtlety and nuance in that movie. I know, right?
You probably thought it was just a stupid action movie, as did
I initially, but no… in comparison to the sequel the story was
deeper, the characterizations were better, the pace was less
hectic and it was an overall a better film in my
opinion. This sequel had more action, better action,
more explosive action, and it moved faster but maybe because
I'm finally getting old… it felt all a bit overblown.
Ah… but here's where the sequel trumps the original, in a big
way, and that would be villain Vilain. God bless
Jean-Claude Van Damme who was completely reprehensible as the
bad guy in this movie, just terrible. And to get all
critical again, he was the one guy in this movie who actually
adopted some kind of character as opposed to playing a slight
variation of his screen persona as all of our other aging
action stars did. The real problem with Van Damme in
this movie was just there wasn't enough of him. In fact,
he was so good at being bad in this movie, that Stallone
should think about bringing him back should there be an
'Expendables 3'. Admittedly that might be difficult…
considering… but the things we can do with movie magic.
And Scott Adkins was woefully underused in this movie.
Now I don't want to send out the message that I didn't enjoy
'The Expendables 2' because I'm pretty sure it delivered
everything that the filmmakers set out to accomplish and it
was entertaining, believe that, and Lord knows I'd watch the
worst Expendables movie before I'd watch a great 'Twilight' or
'Pirates of the Caribbean', but for me personally the first
movie set the bar pretty high and this sequel didn't reach
those lofty heights I imposed on it. Except for Van
Damme. God bless Jean-Clause Van Damme.