The Expendables 2

In E, Films by Christa Ktorides

By – Christa Ktorides – Something of a strange

By – Christa Ktorides

Something of a strange and bizarre nature
occurred while watching The Expendables 2.

The film flipped from being a shonky, out of date, straight to video (yes
video, it’s that archaic) shoot ’em up into a hugely enjoyable, daft as buggery
action flick with its tongue wedged firmly in its muscular, manly cheek.

Proceedings begin
with a huge, ludicrous sequence involving tanks, planes, blood and shooting.
Lots and lots of shooting. It’s noisy, the dialogue is littered with action
film clichés and the huge lapses in logic are exasperating. So it’s with
surprise that the giggles of derision soon turn into guffaws of genuine delight
as Sylvester Stallone and his band of merry men charm their way into the
audience’s affections with some solidly mental action and more than a few
metaphorical winks to camera.

Plot-wise it’s all
simple enough. The mysterious Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists The
Expendables – the band of aging mercenaries comprising Stallone, Jason
Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture
and new boy Liam
– to retrieve a mystery object from a downed aircraft before said
item ends up in the wrong hands. Packing them off with tough cookie consultant
Maggie (Yu Nan) the “easy job gone bad” scenario kicks in as the team
then embark on a mission to stop the villainous and amusingly named Jean Vilain
(Jean Claude Van Damme) from getting his hands on a serious stash of
weapons-grade plutonium.

Director Simon
may not hit the dizzy action heights of his own Con Air but his deft
hand ensures that he extracts some fun performances from his collection of
grizzly stars. Lundgren once again seems to be having the most fun while Van
Damme enjoys hamming it up as the nasty Vilain and he finally gets to square up
to Stallone showing that he’s still handy with a round house kick. Li is sadly
wasted, getting one effectively slapstick fight scene before he disappears for
the rest of the film while Willis and Schwarzenegger
indulge in some scenery chewing and some catchphrase swapping to amusing
effect. Statham too is sidelined to a certain extent in comparison to his
second lead status in the first film but he does seem to be having a blast with
his pal Stallone and is his usual solid, reliable self. Crews and Couture have
a couple of nice moments each and Hemsworth is suitably clean cut as the rookie
Expendable. You either love Stallone or you don’t. And if don’t then you have no business seeing The Expendables
2 as he does nothing here that will sway his detractors. He and co-writer Richard
have written some truly risible dialogue but the film is rescued
thanks to its sheer daftness and any film that has Chuck Norris popping
up for a wildly chucklesome, crowd pleasing cameo has to be worth a trip to the

Don’t go into The
Expendables 2 expecting a true action classic as you won’t get one. What you do
get is enjoyable, logic dodging nonsense to please the late night crowd who
were weaned on Segal movies. Laugh at the dialogue, laugh at the “so
silly they don’t make any kind of sense” action sequences and laugh at the
clumsy food-related bonding scene, safe in the knowledge that, on this
occasion, the filmmakers are in on the joke with you.