In case you haven’t heard the Expendables are a group or Mercenaries who take on delicate missions that require discretion and precision ands then go around blowing shit up and kickin’ ass eighties style instead – hells yeah!
So after the first movie when this guy named Church (Bruce Willis) gave the expendables a mission and followed it up with a threat (if they fail he’ll cut them up into little tiny pieces) – the mission didn’t exactly turn out the way Church wanted so he’s back making threats.
This time the Expendables have to recover a computer from a crashed plane that carries the location of 5 tonnes of plutonium (stuff for making big ‘splosions), but they are robbed of it by Jean Vilain and his group of bad guys including Hector (played by the kick ass martial artist Scott Adkins).
After killing the youngest member of their team Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth), the Expendables are ready to find the bad guys and blow them up.
It’s all about the names!
Naturally some of the old crew are back – you’ve got Sylvester Stallone as Barney, Jason Statham as Christmas, Jet Li as Yang, Dolph Lundgren as Gunnar, Terry Crews as Ceaser and Randy Couture as Toll Road.
There also happens to be a whole new line of names to sell this movie! But in order to fit them all in they’ve removed some of the old cast, like Mickey Rourke while dropping Jet Li off after the first fight scene (Yang quits the Expendables for an easier life).
Among the new names you’ve got Arnold Schwarzenegger playing a part to follow up on his cameo as Trench, and even Bruce Willis joining in and getting his hands dirty after his small role in the first film. On top of everything you’ve got the toughest man alive Chuck Norris fronting up to kick some ass along with Liam Hemswiorth, Van Damme and Scott Adkins.
A personal note: Scott Adkin’s role as the Russian (‘Boyka with hair’ like) Hector, although a major among the Van Damme’s bad guys, was so under utilised. Using only brief lines of dialogue to show him as totally ruthless, he could have been given a bigger part to showcase more of his acting skills. As usual his presence on screen is awesome but sold short.
There’s also a female ‘tagging along’ and bashing bad guys with the Expendables – Maggie Chan, played by Yu Nan.
Maggie is the Expendables way of cracking the computer code so it can be removed from the plane, but other than that is really used to balance out the male/female ratio a tiny bit more to make the movie a little less ‘sausage-fest’ ish.
Saved by the Cameo
One theme this movie has is precisely timed cameos that swoop in and save the day unexpectedly. Done in a fashion that has you thinking “haha, how convenient that they happened to be there..“, it seems to work for the whole big name line up of the film, and is almost comedic.
At the beginning of the film Barney’s team of Expendables rescue Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Trench, so naturally he returns the favor when all hope is lost later in the film. The usual “I’ll be back lines have returned, but are jokingly shut down by Bruce Willis replying “You’ve been back enough, stay here and I’ll be back!”. To which big Arnie replies sarcastically “Yippee Kai Yay…”
Naturally Arnie steals the show a little when he’s on screen. Despite looking a lot older than his Terminator days, he’s got that old skool Arnie nature about him that you can’t help but enjoy to watch.
Another cameo is from Chuck Norris arriving to save the day mowing down a bunch of bad guys when the Expendables seem to be pushed into the corner with nowhere to go. This is a little random considering Chuck doesn’t appear or is even mentioned before he shows up here, but had a small chuckle when I saw him (no that pun is not intentional).
Of course his cameo wouldn’t have been complete without a ‘Chuck Norris Fact’ –
Sly: I heard you were bitten by a Cobra?
Norris: Yeah I was, but after 5 agonising days, the Cobra died.
Then the 2 men have a small manish cuddle.
The Action & Martial Arts
This movie is not a martial arts film entirely, it is mostly a wide-range action movie showcasing many different types of explosions, gun fights, fist fights and fancy kicks.
While explosions are always cool there’s nothing new here, but the gun fights were pretty damn cool. While they were planned out and shot in an old skool fashion (running across the line of fire and miraculously not getting hit ), when shots are landed the men taking the bullets are really getting ripped up – with bloods and chunks of flesh flying off everywhere – this movie tries to up the realism of what it’s like to get shot in one of these situations.
As a martial arts fan (can you tell?) – I was impressed with what I saw.
The first being Jet Li’s pots and pans fight at the beginning of the movie. Although over quickly, it was fast and furious really showcasing why he’s one of the movie famous martial arts movie actors in the world. In classic Jet Li style he throws these pans around as he would any weapon, going high and low and really making something of it.
Jason Statham had a few fight scenes that weren’t too bad, but his fight against Hector (played by Scott Adkins) was the fight I wanted to see. In pure Scott Adkins style he took the fight scene to a whole new level, and the mix of styles with him and Jason Statham almost made me squeal like a small child (not literally). Mixing it up with hand to hand to before going knife to brass knuckles with Christmas.
Van Damme was back in all his kicking glory, but was little showed up by Stallone’s sudden ability to pull off a good fight scene!
One of my complaints in the first film was that Sly always had a gun and seemed to only fight hand to hand when the camera wasn’t filming – telling me he avoided fight scenes like the plague.
In this film Sly shows off some skill, having obviously put some effort in to take his abilities further to match the newer action guys (Statham, Adkins, Couture, etc) shows to me that he’s really paying attention and putting in everything to make a good film.
I take my hat off to Sly for that one…
Would I Recommend it?
I’m an action/martial arts junkie, and this film is better than the first inmy opinion and is even a bit funnier. Check it out – it rocks!
On Blu Ray –
Region A (US & Canada)
The Expendables 2 [Blu-ray]
Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe etc)
The Expendables 2 [Blu-ray]
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
The Expendables 2 on DVD
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
The Expendables 2 on DVD
Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Expendables 2 on DVD