The Expendables 2 isn't about the acting
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Chuck Norris. Rated 14A.
Like 2010’s The Expendables, The Expendables 2 offers us fire-sale rates on a truckload of washed-up action heroes. Who do we get? Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Chuck Norris. For some of us, that’s worth the price of a ticket in Botox alone. But, like those late-night ads for nonstick frying pans, there’s a bonus: we also get brief appearances by Jet Li, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Along with relative youngster Jason Statham, Sly Stallone rides herd over more beefcake than you’ve ever seen this side of a gladiator movie. Stallone—who also cowrote the screenplay—portrays Barney Ross, a mercenary who enjoys teasing his colleagues in between killing as many people as possible. Sounding like Rocky Balboa after too many hits to the head, he explains his philosophy this way: “We keep it light until it’s time to go dark. Then we go pitch-black. Understand?”
Yes, we do. There’s going to be a lot of bad dialogue before director Simon West cranks up an astonishing body count. This time around, Ross is asked to find five tons of plutonium before the evil Jean Vilain (Van Damme) can blow up the world. Ross is also eager to avenge the death of his young protégé (Liam Hemsworth) at the hands of Vilain and his gang.
As might be expected, the acting here has a distinct phonetic quality. But who cares? This is basically for action fans who ask for nothing more than things that blow up real good. To be fair, the special effects deliver what’s expected. There’s plenty of splattered blood, flying bullets, and gory knife work. As for our cast, Arnie puts it best when he suggests that they all belong in a museum. He doesn’t say anything about a wax museum. But why be less than subtle?
Watch the trailer for The Expendables 2.