Friday, December 21, 2012

'The Expendables 2' is very much expendable

The Expendables 2 (2012)
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Nan Yu, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lliam Hemsworth, Jet Li, and Chuck Norris
Director: Simon West
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

When a CIA operative Church (Willis) forces The Expendables to escort a security expert (Yu) in a mission to recover stolen state secrets, they unexpectedly find themselves up against a Satanic group of mercenaries and their leader (Van Damme) who are persuing the same objective.

"The Expendables" was a decent homage to the action films of the 1980s and 1990s. It featured faces familiar from those days, in a story that made sense in an action-movie world kind of way.

"The Expendables 2" is a spoof of the action films of the 1980s and 1990s, and not even a good one. Its script is less of a story and more of  a string of catch-phrases and cameo appearances played more for the laughs than action and drama. Even the final showdown between the heroes and villains is played more for laughs than drama. In fact, it's such a spoof of action films that Chuck Norris's role in the film is basically a cinematic presentation of a few "Facts About Chuck Norris".

While every featured player gives the exact performance you'd expect them to give, and everyone is obviously in on the fact the movie is a spoof of action films, there's really little else here besides the aging stars that's note worthy. Average Willis, Average Schwartzenegger, Average Van Damme, Average Stallone, and Average Self-Mocking Post "Facts About Chuck Norris" Norris, all appearing in a disjointed and weakly written action comedy. Since I like all the featured actors, it's hard for me to hate this movie, but as it wore on the illogical of the story, the random way characters popped in and out of the plot, and ever-growing number of "wink-wink" moments started wearing on me.

The best thing I can say about "The Expandables 2" is that it's a far more effective spoof than anything that's ever come out of the creative team behind things like "Spyhard" and "Epic Movie"--but that's damning with faint praise, because I'm not sure it was intended to be quite as much a spoof as it turned out to be. I think it's just a badly conceived movie.

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