Hollywood and other film industries has never been kind to its old actors or players, as was clear from the careers of so many stars, even during the studio system. But, Expendables, the movie formed by Sylvester Stallone, is a throwback to the righteous-kill, action movies and stars of the 80s. It features several generations of action film icons pounding against each other.
“The Expendables 2” mostly serves as the working opportunity for many of Hollywood’s former action stars. It is also a self-referential tale, that pays serious homage to the stars better and more glorious days in the past. There’s really a great interest in seeing old-school action icons tossed together in the same movie, but imagine what a blast it could be if the films gave them genuinely inspired material. Instead, we have male population of a Third World nation being evaporated into red by a superior firepower. In short, it has no surprises and no twists.
PlotAfter an initial sequence in Nepal that finds them slaughtering thousands of bad guys, and rescuing a Chinese diplomat, the band of ruthless mercenaries -- Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Christmas (Jason Statham), Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) and Bill the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) -- are about to take rest, when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) drafts them to take on a seemingly simple job.
Church dispatches Barney and company to Albania, to track down a downed airplane, and retrieve the mysterious contents to a safe. To retrieve the safe and for negating its technological complexities, he sends along a young woman, Maggie (Yu Nan). But, the the group is ambushed by Jean Vilain (Van Damme), and he kills Bill. Vilain has found a stash of weapons-grade plutonium deep in a mine and trying to get it out by using slave labor. The mysterious content is a blue-print of the mines.
The Expendables team is helped by Mr.Church and Trench (Arnold), a rival. Then, the movie travels for that big-climax, even though, the character building moments throughout the movie are mostly painful and mundane.
AnalysisStallone and his Expendables has leathery skin, but they're still at it, and they’re not trying very hard to hide it. Since the block-buster success of their first film proved the enduring popularity of action heroes in their 50s and 60s, we have more muscles crammed into this movie. The excited pack has a couple of noteworthy additions (Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris) and subtraction (Mickey Rourke), plus enlarged cameos (Schwarzenegger and Willis).
Simon West takes over the direction from Stallone this time, but his efforts are as pedestrian as can be, and lacks the style, grace of his movies like "Con Air." The action sequences, are a major drawback in a film like this, because its completely formulaic. Fans of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Norris and Van Damme will have a great treat in watching these movie icons together, and twist their still-taut muscles, even though their stunts looks more of a workout for their stuntmen.
There's no need to write a lot about 'Expendables 2,' because if you have a firm understanding, in what they're getting at, it is unlikely to disappoint. It has knife fights, big guns, blood and witty one-liner nods to the assembled actors’ filmographies. This is generic, basic action film-making, like the ones in 80s, no more, no less. 'The Expendables 2' is a movie fast food of lower level, but it does have a certain charm to it, no matter how slight it may be.