“The Expendables 2” – Back for War

I had no idea Chuck Norris’ voice was so high. That’s pretty much what I walked away with from this sequel, besides the over the top explosions and gun battles that would make Michael Bay break down and cry. To me this was a perfect example of what happens when a studio gets involved with making a sequel to a half-way decent film, and in my opinion it failed to hit the mark.

The first “Expendables” was pretty solid; a bunch of aging action stars getting together to form a mercenary-for-hire team to do the dirty work of the government while also retaining some form of humanity. This second take was more of a revenge mission as one of the members is killed off right at the beginning. When the posters and the teaser trailer hit, everyone was excited to see JCVD and Chuck Norris (CHUCK NORRIS!) in the film, but after watching it you realize that they were hardly in it at all. JCVD (Jean-Claude Van Damme) plays the villain of the film, trying to collect plutonium to make a bomb or something, kind of hard to pick up on when the actual plot scenes are few and far between. Chuck Norris shows up about halfway into the movie as another friendly mercenary who likes to work alone, however his appearance is nothing short of a gimmick. No joke, but when he walks up to the team he actually delivers his own “Chuck Norris” meme that was so popular on the internet a few years back. That’s how…low this movie sunk. Bruce Willis and the good Governator make a comeback as well, and I’ll honestly say that I enjoyed Willis’ performance as a John McClane-esque CIA operative working in the shadows. Arnold, however…I swear the man’s acting has become worse over the years. He definitely peaked during “Jingle All The Way”. From the way the trailer portrayed those two I thought they were going to be villains in the film, judging by all of the yelling they did in the first film, but they surprised me and actually come out on top as friends to Sylvester and his crew. However while we’re on the topic of cheesy lines, I’m starting to wonder if Arnold is getting paid every time he says “I’ll be back” in a movie that isn’t “Terminator”, because frankly it’s getting old. He and Bruce have a quote exchange in the middle of a firefight (where else?) that is literally just a chance for them to pretend to be the other. Wow.

Just a normal day for Chuck Norris.

So enough about why it was mediocre. The original cast is back and I enjoy the camaraderie they have for one another, especially because they’re all jacked up meat heads with guns. Jet Li makes yet another appearance in a film, coming out of retirement for the umpteenth time, but disappears early on with a very ambiguous answer as to whether we’ll see him in future installments. The explosions and violence definitely keep up with the name “Expendables” and don’t leave you wanting for much else. The dialogue could use some tweaking, but then again in a movie about guys shooting each other and blowing things up one-liners are an occupational hazard. I guess the first film really didn’t need a sequel because it would essentially be the same film, over and over again, which is exactly what this ended up being. I’m sure the studios will want more of these and last I saw, a female version of the film is on it’s way. So heads up, we could be seeing “The Expendabetties” sometime in the near future.

DIRECTOR’S CUT: Hooray explosions!



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