Previously, Liam and Rose went on a platonic movie date to Magic Mike (somehow, Liam enjoyed it more than Rose did). This time, they went and saw the man-centric Expendables 2. There are some light spoilers ahead, but let’s face it: you’re not going to walk into this movie for the riveting narrative.
ROSE: Last time the two of us went to a movie, it was targeted at women. But The Expendables 2 (pretty much) actively denied any girls from coming.
LIAM: Let’s start off with the most interesting question then: Rose, as a women, did The Expendables 2 speak out to you?
More than I’ll ever know. Comparing this to our last film, I didn’t walk out of this one. I enjoyed every minute of it, and yet I don’t know why. I can’t even say it was in that ‘guilty pleasure’ way, like how it takes the piss out of those 80s action movies we watched and we’re like “it’s horrible, but I love it.” I keep describing that it was so bad it was good, but it was actually just good for some reason.
Good for what it was. Like, it wasn’t trying to be anything apart from being a crappy movie. It definitely did good there.
Okay, I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘good’. In fact, I would say this is a bad movie, and yet, I still liked it. Just because it’s a bad movie doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable. And I enjoyed this, and it seemed like you did too.
It was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen.
Unintentionally. Unintentionally funny.
But then I was like “Surely someone knows that this script is the most horrible thing ever.” Surely someone cast their eyes over it and went “Okay, well that’s just crazy and totally clichéd.”
Well, I think we both agreed that we didn’t like the first Expendables movie.
I didn’t actually see it.
Oh, you didn’t?
No. I heard from many people that this one was much better than the first.
It was, mainly because it wasn’t as boring as the first one. The script is pretty much just as bad, but at least with this one, they’ve handled the pacing better. Perhaps it’s due to Stallone giving his script to a different director, Simon West. But do I think it’s a good movie? No. Do I think it’s an enjoyable movie? Absolutely.
I think we have different definitions for what a ‘good’ movie is.
Well, how would you define a ‘good’ movie?
My reviews for ‘good’ movies aren’t on a spectrum. It’s either a bad movie or a good movie. So if I enjoyed it, it’s good. I compartmentalise* that.
*Liam had to look this word up
Ah right, I get where you’re coming from.
Okay, so, there’s a LOT of things we need to talk about. Let’s start from the beginning.
Jet Li is in this movie for two seconds, which was a bit disappointing.
Well, he did have his five minutes of badassery (which is more than he got in the first).
He’s got a really high shrill voice, which had me cracking up, and would have continued to have cracked me up if he didn’t jump off the plane.
He has an amazing grasp of the English language as well.
Yeah, yeah. What was that thing he said?
“See you later Alligator.”
He got the inflection completely wrong.
Yeah, yeah. It was so good. It cracked me up when Li was about to leave, Stallone brings out a camera from nowhere and takes a photo. It didn’t make any sense.
Stallone has almost this child-like way of how he thinks movies should be. I don’t know if he’s aware that some of the stuff he says in that movie is so cliché that even children would know it’s clichéd.
I did wonder whether he was putting all of it on or if he was completely unaware of how clichéd his script was. I am hoping he is unaware because that would make it funnier.
If it’s sincere, then I’m okay with it. Like, “This is the way movies are, this is the exposition, this is the character…” he can do scenes like the scene where he’s like:
And I was like “…you can’t say that, Sylvester. Movies have gotten better.”
But back to Jet Li. Spoiler Alert: he’s not in it.
I did like it how they were like “So, you think we’ll ever see you again?”
And he was just like “Pfft, no.”
And then he jumps out of the aeroplane. It was a classy exit.
Liam Hemsworth was added to the cast.
Spoiler alert: he dies, even though that’s in the synopsis.
You know he’s dying because he specifically says to Sylvester Stallone “I’m dying.”
Just in case you weren’t looking at the screen or the buckets of blood gushing from his chest.
I just love the idea of that being in the script.
I also like how he wasn’t over 50 years old or had a face that looked frozen.
Another way you could tell that he was going to die was that he was a young recruit, with a girlfriend he desperately loved and couldn’t wait to get back to…
…and how he badly wanted to quit but he’d “see out the month”…
…and how he had such a bright future ahead of him.
As soon as you see him mention how he’d “see out the month” and that he had a girlfriend who was a nurse in Afghanistan I was like, “oh… my… gosh.”
All of these clichéd elements are almost nostalgic because you never see them in movies anymore. You never see such obviously shit writing, not since the terrible action movies of the 80s, which people now parody. So it was funny to see it…
…to see them take it seemingly seriously?
Like, that weird speech he did.
Oh yeah! He says,
And then straight after, they’re like
and he’s like,
One of the funniest moments that I could not stop laughing at was when Bruce Willis’ character briefs them on their delightfully vague mission…
…where Stallone’s by himself in his massive aeroplane? And Bruce Willis appears in the cockpit from out of nowhere?
Yeah, for no reason.
I was wondering how long he had been sitting there waiting for Stallone to enter.
I love the idea of Bruce Willis just standing there in the cockpit, waiting for his big moment to dramatically enter.
Too bad he didn’t have a swivel chair. I was so hoping for a swivel chair.
It was great though, him being like,
And the best line in the movie is Stallone saying,
It was five steps back for female agency in action movies. It was the funniest shit I ever heard.
And that is how you knew it was a true throwback to the 80s.
Yeah. I laughed because in most action movies, that’s exactly what that girl character is: a bit of eye candy, most of the time. But the blatant outlining of how much these men hate this woman made me laugh because it was so preposterous.
And throughout the entire movie, they are all constantly surprised every time they realise “Hey, this person has a vagina and she’s not entirely incompetent.”
I know. But the funny thing is, she’s not even a good character. She claims to be combat trained and she can do sick moves on a bike, but she mostly shoots people, she never really talks and she (for some reason) had a thing for Stallone…
…which is the sickest shit of all time. I thought she was gonna be this awesome babe who was doing some sweet kung fu moves. That might be racist.
I figured she’d be the replacement Jet Li. Again, that might be racist.
I just thought she was going to be this ultimate badass, ya know? And she just totally wasn’t. She was also totally passive towards this blatant sexual harassment throughout the whole thing.
Especially with Lundgren eyeing her up.
Yeah… but I kinda had a thing for Dolph in this.
I don’t know why.
I find it kind of ironic that Stallone called him Frankenstein.
Especially with Stallone whose face, with every new movie, looks more and more like a Picasso painting.
Though perhaps he’s talking about Doctor Frankenstein, not his creation.
That’s probably the smartest joke in the entire movie.
Stallone really thought about that one.
Fast-forward to the end: I was physically recoiling in fear, so scared that she was going to kiss Sylvester Stallone… but luckily, she doesn’t.
What about deleted scenes?
Special Edition DVD.
I will not be renting the director’s cut of The Expendables 2.
Let’s talk about Jeanne Claude Van Damme: I am a big JCVD fan.
As am I.
Because I think he’s quite good-looking.
He kinda looks like he’s moulded out of plastic right now, but I still think he’s quite good-looking.
The dude rocks a mean pair of shades.
Yeah, because he has to hide the bags under his eyes.
When he took those glasses off, I swear I saw the crows fly away from his eyelids.
I know… But he’s 50-something, and he’s still got it.
Playing Jeanne Villain, the villain.
Yeah. I thought he was good. He was a good adversary for Stallone.
He had a lot of charisma, way more than the bad guy in the first Expendables. That final fight scene between him and Stallone: I thought they really brought it all to the table.
It was great! I loved how un-choreographed it felt. Those two just went at it.
It was very animalistic. Very cool to see.
Seeing JCVD do like, fucking, five roundhouse kicks in a row. I was like, “MEAN!”
Though it seemed like they got him to do just the one roundhouse kick before he put his back out and reused the same shot over and over.
I was impressed he could still do that.
We were both laughing before the showdown at this one scene:
The moment he unbuckled that belt was the single funniest thing I’ve seen in a movie in so long. Along with the dialog, how could someone watch this and not think they’re about to have some hot sex?
Some freaky, sweaty man-sex.
With chains… and knives… it was so funny. Was everyone else cracking up in the cinema? I think it might have just been us.
I think it was just us.
Aside from the unintentional hilarity, this is still pretty badly written. Not everyone is given a fair amount of screen time. Randy Couture’s personality is his messed-up ear.
Yeah, he didn’t get much screen time at all.
Jason Statham and Bruce Willis are people who are still legitimately in action movies. For Willis in particular, it’s kind of strange, because he doesn’t need to be in this, reliving his good-ol’ days when he’s still in his good-ol’ days.
He doesn’t seem like the old man who’s trying, he’s the old man who’s doing.
Yeah. Dolph I liked. Maybe it’s because he has an accent.
Well, Dolph was the best thing about the first Expendables and he’s just as good in this one, perhaps slightly better. He seems like the only person who ‘gets’ it, who knows how stupid it is.
Yeah, like the jokes they give him, he delivers them very well. As for Arnie’s cameos…
He looks like Tobias Funke when he got hairplugs that bled out into his hair.
Chuck Norris also served as cameo fodder.
Chuck Norris didn’t do anything. You see a bunch of dudes get shot, a tank blows up and you see him show up, implying that he did it all. Hell, the dude doesn’t even run in this movie.
In fact, that’s my main problem with The Expendables 2. It never goes into full absurdity, like we would be expecting Norris to punch a dude through the chest. Not in, through. Hopefully they’ll go fully absurd for The Expendables 3, and they might, because with this one, they seem to be heading more towards the direction they were aiming for in the first place.
What I respect in movies, a lot of the time, is sincerity. I feel that this sincerely was a movie that Sylvester Stallone thought “This is a great movie.” It didn’t seem like he was thinking “This is a giant piss-take.” I think he’s stuck in the 80s.
I can see his love for the 80s, even if he isn’t fully executing that expression. But he’s really, really trying and to his credit, he took the criticisms of the first film and made an honest attempt at improving upon those issues for the sequel. I respect him for that.
I can’t fault this movie for not being an amazing movie, because it was never set out to be that.
I’m still saying it’s a bad movie.
Most of the 80s action movies it’s paying homage to commit just as many horrid mistakes as The Expendables 2, but are you saying you’re forgiving those movies for having those clichéd elements because they’re nostalgic?
Well, I’m always going to draw the comparison to Commando because that’s really the matriarch* of 80s action films.
*the gender irony escapes Liam
I feel it all comes down to:
2) Hilarious unrealistic absurdity, which I think The Expendables 2 hasn’t quite reached yet
3) Massive amounts of nonsensical, cartoon-like violence
Personally, as a girl, I liked it. I don’t mind action. However, it did seem like I was playing a two-hour version of Time Crisis. That’s my official quote:
Yeah, grab yourself a light-gun if you’re gonna watch this, and have someone next to you shouting “RELOAD! RELOAD! RELOAD!”
It was such a parody to me, akin to Scary Movie or some shit. I liked it more than Magic Mike, though it had the same amount of weird female characters.
To be fair, Magic Mike at least had female characters*.
This is true…
Well actually, you had Jason Statham’s cheating girlfriend.
I’d say she was more an element than an actual character. However, there was that group of female villagers that wanted to get their men back from the slave-workers.
Though that was another funny thing: they hear gunshots, get behind cover then realise it’s “only” women.
If you were to make a list of talking female characters between this and Magic Mike, it might be the same.
With the villagers, you might be right.
As a guy, I felt it tried to annoyingly slap me repeatedly across the face with a grapevine of testicles while yelling “Are you a man yet!?” unaware of its own homoeroticism. Aside from that, it gets the pacing right, which might be a result of Stallone giving his material to another director, and in that way, I was never bored, which made it so much easier to watch than the first Expendables.
If we boil it down, I’d say that it doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a guy. Hear me out:
Girls, I feel, can sit and watch a terrible rom-com and know it’s terrible but still sit through it because they’re in their comfort zone. I feel the same enjoyment can be had with The Expendables 2, even though that’s not in a typical girl’s comfort zone.
I also feel that it has a certain level of stupidity that, if you can recognise it, you’ll have fun with no matter what.