Review: The Expendables 2

Well, The Expendables 2 is certainly an improvement over the first movie, which I thought was pretty damn terrible. The entire concept of this franchise is that it's supposed to harken back to the glorious action flicks of the 80s, and therein lies the problem. Their very existence begs comparison to those testosterone-infused classics, and that's not a battle the Expendables can win. These movies are nowhere near as good or fun or memorable as those 80s flicks. I mean... Terminator, Predator, Die Hard, Rambo... those are incredibly big shoes to fill. And what we get with Expendables 1/2 are incredibly pale imitations.

But I do give credit to Expendables 2 for actually delivering on the premise, which is to gather up all the 80s action stars from that era. Now we've actually got Arnold and Bruce and Stallone and Van Damme fighting together, whereas Expendables 1 seemed content to entertain us with random guys like Terry Crews and Randy Couture, or 90s action stars like Jet Li.

But the action in Expendables 2... it really does feel like quantity over quality. In those 80s movies, there would always be those memorable setpieces where they gave thought to the staging of the action. In Expendables 2... you see a whole lot of random henchmen getting blown away in a sea of bloodspray, but it's not really shot creatively. The most memorable kill is one involving Chuck Norris and an airport metal detector. That was pretty cool, but it's over very quickly, and we don't get enough of that kinda stuff. Even the final showdown between Stallone and Van Damme feels disappointing and half-baked.

The humor in this movie is mainly supposed to come from the banter between these guys, but I just didn't find any of it funny. I guess we're supposed to, but it all fell incredibly flat to me.

And while I don't expect much from the story, it just goes into some weird, bizarre places. Like... are we supposed to feel anything about that village that they rescue? This is a movie where we're supposed to laugh at dumb one-liners and thugs getting their heads blown off by machine guns, but then... all of a sudden, it wants us to give a rat's ass about these female villagers trying to save their children and then rescue their husbands from a mine and... it just comes off as really pathetic and stupid. I sure didn't care about those villagers, because the movie didn't earn that. If you're gonna make a big dumb goofy movie, don't try and throw in that stuff, it's just gonna feel out of place.