The Expendables 2. You likely already know if you’ll enjoy this movie. This is a movie made for fanboys of the action genre that just want to see what would happen if Van Damme faced off against Stallone… or if the former Governor of California could make a triumphant return to the big screen.
Well, we find out in The Expendables 2. Stallone brings most of the original crew back, plus some new faces. There’s a thin plot that you don’t need to really keep track of. The basic gist is that Van Damme is stealing plutonium and it takes 10 former action stars to take him down.
What works? Like I said, you already probably know if this movie is up your alley. There is a ton of action and a ton of casualties. The best action scenes belong to Jet Li and Jason Statham, probably the only two still young enough to be able to really pull it off. However, knowing what these two CAN do only reminds you that this movie didn’t really do a great job. When you watch The Transporter series, Statham is a beast. The fight choreography for this movie was half-hearted and unoriginal unfortunately. BUT when it comes to shoot-em-up action with explosions, this movie has tons of that as well.
There’s also a lot to be said for this movie just being fun. It pokes fun at itself often (and its stars), though some of these jabs are too self-referential and come off as extremely corny (I’m looking at you Arnold). I started with the mindset that this movie should make sense but about 10 minutes in, I realized you need to enjoy the moments and not think about this movie in a logical way. It doesn’t make sense, so trying to force it to… will only hurt your movie experience.
Van Damme as the main villain is pretty satisfying and his final fight scene is pretty intense, though his opponent’s skill level may have hindered the choreography.
What doesn’t work? Again, most of the fight choreography is subpar. I expected it for the old-timers like Lundgren and Stallone, but the younger guys can still carry a decent fight scene but they weren’t given the chance. The humor is spotty, sometimes hilarious and other times ridiculously over-the-top and unnecessarily corny. And the movie makes absolutely no sense.
Think of this is an homage to the action genre, not a new addition to it. The movie is made of moments that are incredibly cool, though the plot that connects them is pretty weak. Acting is decent and the fight scenes are fun but unoriginal. For the amount of starpower in this movie, most people get their time to shine. If you’re in the mindset to go and enjoy a highlight reel of cool stuff happening, this will work for you. If you’re looking for a legitimate action movie with impressive fight scenes and cool effects, you’ll likely want to keep looking.