Review: 'The Expendables 2'
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Saturday, August 18, 2012
8/18/12 at 5:12 AM
"The Expendables 2" is both a better movie and more dumb-fun than its predecessor for the same reason: less talking, more blowing the crud out of everything.
That doesn't mean there's any less acting. There's just less of tough guys like Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham trying to have conversations with some degree of depth when they are experts at conveying that they have each other's back with a wink and a grunt.
There's less Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews trying to outdo each other with "Who's tougher?" confrontations when all these meatheads require to show their mettle are firearms the size of suitcases and knives that would send Crocodile Dundee crying for his mama.
We love these guys because they are men of action, not words. This men-on-a-mission movie is unapologetic and extremely efficient in providing its target audience of adrenaline junkies and fans of middle-aged action-movie favorites excessive firepower.
We love moments like the one inside an airport overrun by good guys and bad guys, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis are driving through the terminal in a smart car with both car doors ripped off, shooting everything and everyone, while Chuck Norris takes out a guy who lands on the conveyor belt for the X-ray machine and gets checked like carry-on baggage.
If you're not smiling at this description alone, "Expendables 2" is not the movie for you.
If high-caliber weapons that cause chunks of flesh to go flying and blood sprays reminiscent of sprinklers upset your constitution, this is not your picture.
This is macho-movie proficiency from director Simon West ("Con-Air") that meets grindhouse sensibilities as to the over-the-top violence. I'm thrilled to see that it's playing at the Admiral Twin, because the drive-in is the perfect showcase for this throwback of action and actors.
The story isn't about much beyond revenge, and the writers (Stallone among them) know that this is enough. That's part of the film's streamlined beauty, avoiding personal stories that would slow down the charged pacing.
There's an Eastern-European thing going on (Bulgaria locations stand in for Albania and Russia) with Jean-Claude Van Damme delicious as a sadistic villain seeking to steal plutonium and sell it off to the highest bidder. Sure, the mercenaries known as the Expendables band together to halt this threat.
But it's all in the name of revenge when Van Damme's Eurotrash baddie (named Jean Vilain, no less) kills one of the Expendables early on in a particularly nasty manner.
The boys make enough room here for a woman to join the group this time (Chinese film star Nan Yu plays a technology expert who can take care of herself), but don't look for romance.
As someone might have said in a 1980s Schwarzenegger movie: Ain't got time to love.
Standouts include Stallone, Liam Hemsworth and Lundgren, who seems to be embracing his resemblance to Lurch and even utters "You rang?" at one point, which was among the catchphrases that actually worked among some clunkers.
If you're attending for Jet Li or Chuck Norris, don't blink or you'll miss them. With this many he-men, accepting that you're a role player is part of the plan.
By the end of the movie, I'd had so much brainless fun that I could only imagine who they need for "The Expendables 3." I couldn't help but think that Burt Reynolds, Wesley Snipes and Steven Seagal might make even more testosterone ooze off the screen.
‘THE EXPENDABLES 2’
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason
Statham, Jean-Claude Van
Damme, Liam Hemsworth,
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph
Theaters: AMC Southroads
20, Cinemark Tulsa, Cinemark
Broken Arrow, RiverWalk,
Owasso, Starworld 20, Eton
Square, Sand Springs, Admiral
Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Rated: R (strong, bloody violence
Quality: (on a scale of zero
to four stars)
Original Print Headline: Shoot-em-up fun
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
Liam Hemsworth is a standout in "The Expendables 2." Courtesy