Streaming Review: The Expendables 2

The Expendables 2
Netflix | Amazon | Epix | iTunes | SEN | Vudu | Xbox
DVD | Blu-ray
Directed by Simon West
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Yu Nan
Originally Released: August 17, 2012

Oh, the glory of the ridiculous action delivered in The Expendables 2. This is vibrant popcorn-movie wonder, a kick ass explosive injection of testosterone straight to the stones, and enjoyable. The cheese is thick and hearty – after all, who doesn’t like a little cheese with their nachos?

Picking up sometime after the first Expendables movie, Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) comes back to claim a mission in place of the lost revenue from the last mission. Barney (Sylvester Stallone) rallies his team, accompanied by Agent Maggie Chan (Yu Nan), to retrieve sensitive computer data lost in a downed plane in Albania.

Arriving at the location, The Expendables find the data, but are intercepted by a local militant gang known as the Sangs, led by Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme). The Sangs want the data, and at the cost of the life of one of the team, he takes it.

Barney leads the team deeper into Eastern Europe in a united quest for vengeance for the killing of their team member – as they learn precisely what the data is, and why intelligence agencies and mercenaries are interested in the game-changing merchandise that the Sangs are after.

The performances in The Expendables 2 lack grace and depth, but they make up for it in fun and facetiousness. The action sequences are delightfully caricature-esque of the 1980’s action hero movies, with careful choreography used for all the main players. The chemistry between all of the key action heroes is really fun, and the interactions are amusing.

But the portrayals, like the plot, are geared towards this film being pure action and excitement. There is very little depth, but surprisingly there is some very light symbolism used here and there, as well as some character development based from the previous movie. The key relationships between characters are what counts with the action sequences in The Expendables 2.

The ante is raised as far as these action sequences are concerned in the sequel. The opening scenes are as intense as they are exaggerated, but brilliantly executed on screen. Individual fight scenes are attention-grabbing and the banter between the heroes during these is delightful.

But in this sequel, we have a better level of humor in the script-writing. Chuck Norris facts are employed when he appears in the movie, which is both cheesy as fuck and hysterical at the same time. Key references to Sylvester Stallone’s, Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s, and Bruce Willis’ movies are injected into the plot – as well as some real factual history added to Dolph Lundgren‘s character.

The cheesy humor isn’t poorly included – it is damn essential for the sequel, and helps keep some coherence in the flow of the movie, adding to its pace and punches.

The highlight of the movie, along with the action sequences, is of course the combination of action heroes in one movie. The Expendables 2 is not a film you look to for deep analysis – but it’s an essential action film in the sense that these actors were always destined to be on screen together at some point. Stallone writes good action to this day, and although the “˜roid-amped Expendables is a tip of the hat to his (and the other cast members’) glory days, it’s a fun experience to escape into.

Definitely worth a look if you’re after some cheese with your nachos.

Overall Rating: 3½ out of 5


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