Sylvester Stallone's action extravaganza redux. All you really need to know is the platinum gold cast (deep breath): Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Norris, Van Damme, Willis, Li, Statham, Hemsworth, Crews and Lundgren. Now playing nationwide.
If The Expendables 2 is marginally better than its predecessor it’s only by virtue of having slightly more coherent action sequences (a wide shot of Jet Li fighting that lasts longer than 5 seconds!). It’s definitely not because this bone-headed, nostalgia-soaked indulgence for ‘80s action has-beens is actually any good at all.
As per #1, the film’s humour aims extremely low, full of prosaically wise-cracking dialogue and worst still, post-modern eye-winkery that lets its stars cringingly regurgitate classic action-movie quips (“Your ass is terminated!”, “Yippie-kai-yay!”). Slip in a few jokes about old age, and you have some seriously awful comedy to complement its smorgasbord of casually brutal, high-body count slaughter.
Okay, so the plot is as generic, sketchy, by-the-numbers as they come - fine - but it’s a shame that The Expendables 2 does a glaring disservice to the bulging ensemble by shoddily utilising them. Liam Hemsworth’s rookie hot-shot sniper is short-lived and the only character worth any emotional value, Van Damme’s baddie gets in a grand total of two flying kicks against Stallone, and Chuck Norris is reduced to the equivalent of a running gag from a Zucker Brothers spoof.
New Jet Li/Asian-component fill-in Nan Yu is a wooden and dull femme butt-kicker, while Willis and Schwarzenegger give career-worst performances. Everyone deserves better, but the sad thing is they’re obviously content with simply hi-fiving and bro-fisting each other to the bloody end. Give me Last Action Hero any day over this slop.