The Expendables 2
I haven’t seen the first Expendables movie but I read the Wikipedia summary whilst listening to the soundtrack from Predator, so I think I get the idea. If there are plot details from the first movie that you need to understand for the second outing, they were lost on me. As far as I could tell the plot was: a bunch of mercenaries (no pun intended) get sort-of-attacked by JCVD and then chase him with some McGuffin about nuclear weapons. The plot was so simple that it actually became hard to follow- why did they care so much? Why does Arnie keep bumping into them? Who’s Bruce Willis? But it’s churlish off me to pick up on these tiny little bits and pieces when there are so many, considerably bigger, problems with this film.
I get that if you’re an action fan, you want to see lots of guns and people dying. I understand that. That’s why I thought The Raid was so good; it managed to do that whilst also being smart, interesting and well made. The Expendables 2 is none of those things. It is unbearably loud and annoying, each explosion vying to be boomier than the previous one whilst also totally failing to justify any of the events that are happening on screen. The characters are insanely wooden (even by the standards of insanely wooden actors) and recite dialogue that could’ve been patched together from a collection of 80’s straight to VHS b-movies. The fact that it’s all self-referential and willing to laugh at itself does nothing to help- in fact, it just makes the ‘jokes’ seem irritatingly smug, especially whilst we’re being subjected to the train wreck of a film that they bothered to make.
They even lift laughs directly from Chuck Norris memes, doing so in such a tooth-grindingly obvious way that you’ll want to repeatedly smash your head against the back of the seat in front. Every national stereotype is rolled out- Jason Statham is back on Lock Stock duties, Dolph Lundgren plays some sort of Swedish physicist/sexual predator and the new member of the team is a sexy Chinese safecracker who, genuinely, tries to seduce the team by announcing that her favourite food is ‘Peking duck with lots of plum sauce…’. If that weren’t, in itself, reprehensible enough, the action is dull and repetitive, the concluding shoot-out is about as difficult for the Expendables as tying their shoelaces and Jet Li appears onscreen for about a minute and a half. You really fucked this up.
So shit that it undoes all the good work done by action movies this year. Clichéd, hackneyed and put together with such a sense of smarmy satisfaction that if I were ten stone heavier I’d punch Stallone in the face for it.
|Title:||The Expendables 2|
|Starring:||Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Liam Hemsworth, Yu Nan, Chuck Norris|