movie film review | chris tookey

Expendables 2

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  Expendables 2 Review
Tookey's Rating
Average Rating
0 /10
Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li
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Directed by: Simon West
Written by: Richard Wenk, Sylvester Stallone, from a story by Ken Kaufman,David Agosto, Richard Wenk, based on characters created by David Callahan

Released: 2012
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 103

Better than the first film, but even sillier.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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You may recall that in the first Expendables, which proved nostalgia is alive and well by grossing $274 million worldwide, Stallone and Jason Statham led a team of virile but aged mercenaries to risk their lives for a young woman they’d barely met. This time round, they’re just as improbably aiming to take revenge on a fiendish European villain (he’s even called Vilain, and played as an out-and-out bad guy by Jean-Claude Van Damme). He’s murdered one of Stallone’s younger chums (Liam Hemsworth), a handsome sniper whose demise is foreshadowed so many times that it comes as a relief when he finally gets killed.

Goodies and baddies alike are involved in an attempt to get hold of plutonium, which involves other lone mercenaries played by Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger turning up whenever our heroes need a deus ex machina. Bruce Willis also appears at several points for no obvious reason other than to show solidarity with his fellow action stars.

By way of contrast, Jet Li kicks various butts early on and then disappears, possibly to star in his own action film. No one seems to notice.

There is an unmistakable whiff of three decades ago in the way the elderly lads rack up a gruesome bodycount of stratospheric proportions and blow up anything that gets in their way. The plot doesn’t make a lick of sense but exists purely in order to generate ambushes, chases and explosions.

Former Olympic diver Statham and martial arts star Van Damme get to do most of the action, virtually all of which is incredible, not always in a good way. Our Gold-medal winning shooter Peter Wilson would certainly envy the heroes’ ability to fire with pinpoint accuracy while abseiling.

Feminists may not appreciate the scene where the lads are ambushed by women, none of whom can shoot straight. I’d love to see our cheery new boxing champ Nicola Adams sort out these antediluvian chumps.

Wit is in short supply. Schwarzenegger gets to say “I’m back” a lot, which has become his equivalent to Brucie’s “Nice to see you, to see you nice.” The biggest laughline when one of the bad guys is shot to smithereens by five of the good guys, whereupon Stallone grunts “Rest in pieces!” The repartee is not Wildean.

Willis makes the obvious point, which is that most of these characters belong in a museum. So does the film, but it’s fun in a primitive kind of way – no CGI tricks are involved - and directed by Simon West with more energy than the earlier film, which was directed by Stallone, seemingly under heavy sedation. It’s West’s best, in fact, since Con Air, made twenty-five years ago. But that’s not saying much, as his recent output has included an inferior remake of a Michael Winner film (The Mechanic), another poor remake of a woman-in-peril shocker (When A Stranger Calls) and the teeth-grindingly dreadful Lara Croft Tomb Raider. He’s not going to be winning Oscars, any time soon.

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