Directed by Simon West (Con Air (1997), The Mechanic (2011)).
Written by Richard Wenk (16 Blocks (2006), Vamp (1986)), Sylvester Stallone (F.I.S.T (1978), The Expendables (2010)) and others.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Liam Hemsworth, Nan Yu and others.
This is a movie made specifically for me. When I was growing up, most of these guys were my idols. They were my favourite actors, not because they were good actors, but because they’re bulging muscles and sweaty, snarling faces made me believe in superheroes, people, who could machine gun entire hordes of bad guys down, while standing in plain sight and not take one bullet. And then face off with the main baddie, who was really bad and after killing him, spit out some cheesy one-liner. I looked up to them, I felt protected by them. We approached the 2000’s and soon these guys went away. I was left with action stars, that looked like male models.
I couldn’t be the only person who felt disappointed. Sure, I like good acting now, but seeing Arnie jam an enormous drill into a guy, while screaming “SCREW YOU!” was something that I missed seeing in movies. And I really wasn’t the only person. When I was a kid, I would have never imagined a movie like this possible, but two years back, Stallone answered my childhood prayers and made The Expendables. If you think I could ever have enough of this you’re insane. So did I like The Expendables 2? Of course, I did.
I mean, it is NOT a good movie. The dialogue is bad, the one-liners stupid, acting silly, plot simple, action over-the-top and so on. But, this also describes most of the action movies with these guys that I loved. This is what I wanted and this is what I got. There’s no use in describing the plot, there’s nothing really specific about it, mostly coming down to Expendables shooting people and blowing shit up.
The best parts were the call-backs and references and self-aware humor. Willis and Arnold are in the movie a lot more as well, even Chuck Norris, who has maybe the smallest part does get more than one appearance. Jet Li is in the movie only for the first action scene, though and Rourke doesn’t appear at all. My favourite was definitely Dolph Lundgren, who is more of the comic-relief character here, which is interesting, since I think I liked him the most in the first one as well, when he played an asshole. They added some younger/newer faces, like Nan Yu and Liam Hemsworth, but in all the testosterone provided by the rest of the cast they got lost and forgettable.
The action is insane, but pretty well choreographed and mostly practical effects, except for additional CG gore and the more complex effects scenes. The movie opens with an action scene that is just crazy violent and over-the-top. Stallone takes down a helicopter by “driving” a bike into it. And the movie rarely slows down after that. There’s not much to say about it, except that you should know what to expect going into it.
Overall, more funny and entertaining than the first one, if you want no holds barred, balls to the wall action with some real gory mayhem and puns, if you grew up with 80’s action hero movies, definitely recommended.