Josh Wilding Reviews: THE EXPENDABLES 2
Released in the UK on Thursday and in the US on Friday, here is my spoiler-free verdict on The Expendables 2. Does the action-packed sequel (starring such legends as Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis) deliver the goods? Find out here!
The reason that The Expendables didn't work for some was simply because it took itself a little too seriously. While it was a solid and enjoyable action blockbuster, it just didn't quite click. However, the very different tone of the sequel is set fairly early on in an action-packed and thrilling opening which sees Terry Crews tell Arnold Schwarzenegger that he will be "Terminated" if he doesn't return his gun. It is at this point that it becomes clear that The Expendables 2 is a film which doesn't take itself at all seriously. It could in fact be argued that the film acts as a parody of sorts on the genre, and for that reason, it works almost perfectly. The story isn't particularly original, and the dialogue is often horrendous, so much so that you may even find yourself laughing AT the film. But that's sort of the point. Despite the fact that there is definitely some unintentionally amusing dialogue, The Expendables 2 is a very funny film, and in terms of sheer entertainment value, it's right up there with Marvel's The Avengers.
In terms of performances, you get exactly what you might expect from The Expendables 2. Hammy, cheesy and over-the-top, it would be unfair to criticise any of the cast for this when it helps make the film so damn entertaining. Sylvester Stallone (Barney), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Trench) and Bruce Willis (Church) are all fantastic, and if seeing the trio fighting side-by-side doesn't get your pulse pounding, then there might just be something wrong with you! Jean-Claude Van Damme's ridiculously named 'Jean Vilain' - as you may have guessed, he is indeed the villain of the piece - is also incredibly good fun to watch and he kicks some serious butt in a brutal final battle with one of the main cast members. Jason Statham is on fine form (although he sadly doesn't get as much time to show off his acting chops as one would like) as are the always fun to watch Terry Crews (Hale Caesar) and Dolph Lundgren (Gunnar). Liam Hemsworth is perhaps the biggest surprise as Billy The Kid, and while he ends up being little more than a plot device to get the team from point A to B, he delivers an impressive and incredibly likeable performance which easily rivals that of his well-known brother Chris. Nan Yu's Maggie is also a pleasant surprise, although it's Chuck Norris (Booker) who steals the show. In recent years, he has become an internet legend of sorts, forming the basis of many a meme. Well, you can most definitely expect his hilarious scenes in this film to shortly become the subject of many a YouTube video and Tumblr page.
Simon West brings the same level of fun and excitement to The Expendables 2 as he did to Con Air, and the director has a fantastic handle on action sequences. It's actually refreshing to watch a film with some REAL stunts that don't rely almost entirely on visual effects. Despite sometimes being exaggerated, far-fetched and a little silly, the various fight sequences and gunfights are fantastically choreographed and real edge of your seat stuff. Each and every member of the cast gives it their all, and you and your friends are sure to spend some time arguing over which set-piece was best once the credits roll. The action rarely lets up, and when it does, there's often enough in the way of amusing exchanges to keep you thoroughly entertained (fans of some of the more iconic actors in the impressive cast will appreciate the Easter Eggs and references to everything from Die Hard to Rocky). Brian Tyler's score is the perfect accompaniment to the action in The Expendables 2, and the soundtrack also adds a lot to the film.
Fun, dumb and easily one of the best blockbusters of the summer. The Expendables 2 isn't perfect, but it hits all the right notes and delivers on everything you could possibly hope for from an action film. A must-see.
The Expendables are back and this time it’s personal… Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Lee Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time — six pounds of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. That is done the Expendables way...
Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross
Jason Statham as Lee Christmas
Jet Li as Yin Yang
Dolph Lundgren as Gunnar Jensen
Chuck Norris as Booker
Terry Crews as Hale Caesar
Randy Couture as Toll Road
Liam Hemsworth as Billy the Kid
Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jean
Bruce Willis as Mr. Church
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Trent Mauser
Yu Nan as Maggie
RELEASE DATE: August 17th, 2012
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