The Expendables are back! And this time they’re caaaaampy! Well, not really, but pretty much all the pretense of gritty seriousness—really, the low point of the first movie—is gone. Stallone turns directing duties over to Simon West this time and, while I’m not a fan, particularly (although I did sort of like Con Air and The General’s Daughter), the occasional breaks in reality really work to make this movie feel like a classic ‘80s CarolCo or Golan-Globus production.
Mickey Rourke is out this time, and Jet Li only has a small role, while Willis and Schwarzenegger have larger roles, and Jean-Claude does some serious van Damage as the bag-eyed baddie. Also, Nan Yu plays the kung-fu chick.
We didn’t need a chick at all last movie (except for a brief appearance by Charisma Carpenter, who is back again as the gal who can cheat on Jason Statham and get away with it), much less a kung-fu chick. I would’ve preferred Maggie Cheung or Michelle Yeoh, who are genuine action heroes from the ’80s and ’90s, but Nan Yu is fine.
The plot concerns…the plot is about…uh…the plot…
Lost my train of thought, there! I mostly remember explosions at this point, but as best I can figure JCvD is out to capture some old Soviet uranium to sell to the highest bidder, and it’s up to the American heroes (also Brit, Swedish and Chinese) to stop him.
The plot allows them to visit an old Soviet fake American town and rescue some Albanian villagers (presumably the ones who don’t have Liam Neeson’s family hostage). And encounter the Lone Wolf himself, Chuck Norris.
The screenplay is chock-full of ’80s action movie references, too. The scenes with Willis and Schwarzenegger are outright goofy. “Die Hard”, “Terminator”, “Total Recall”, “Lone Wolf McQuade” and many other movies are referenced. The action, however, is most reminiscent of Schwarzenegger movies like Commando, where the good guys can spray bullets wildly in the air and there’s always a bad guy’s body stop them.
Entire battalions are wiped out in less than two hours.
This is exactly what it says on the label: Good-natured, mindless action. The Boy had liked the first one, but like this one a lot better. The Flower had never seen a movie of this ilk, but she is a big Chuck Norris fan, and found the whole thing agreeable and fun.