Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — A rarity in the film industry certainly would include the chance for a sequel to make up for a first chapter that didn’t meet its own hype. Taking that a step further and actually delivering the knockout blow in awesomeness might be even more unbelievable.
However, ladies and gentlemen, what should have been epic from the start not only is now, but may indeed leave us testosterone action seeking guys craving what comes next. The salute to the best of 90s violent mayhem has finally arrived and hosanna such an impressive cast list seems to have not been wasted in vain. “The Expendables 2” proves that no matter how cheesy or full of holes a plot is, sometimes all you need to be entertained is good old fashioned good versus evil butt kicking.
The story isn’t so much of a continuation of the previous movie, but simply another day in the life of aging mercenaries Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and the rest of the gang. During the latest round of missions their newest recruit, Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth), has come to a realization the life is not so much for him, claiming he’ll do one last mission when the CIA operative they were hired by in the first film, Mr. Church (Bruce Willis), decides to exchange a mission for a debt he feels he is owed.
What is supposed to be a simple object recovery mission soon turns into an all out war for revenge when Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), the leader of a rival mercenary gang, kills one of the expendables and takes off with the device they were after. They learn through their Church forced female recruit Maggie Chan (Yu Nan) that theft of the device will have global consequences if they don’t stop Jean and so begins an amazing display of action and memorable one-liners. Every bit of explosions, blood splatter and acknowledgement that there’s no way one can take this seriously keeps audiences engaged and laughing until the final bullet is fired.
What delivers this movie over the first one is that everything feels properly choreographed from the entrance of the cameo characters like pinned down savior Booker (Chuck Norris) to the final battle scene that isn’t rushed just to keep the movie under two hours. Besides the comfortable relationship between the main cast, there’s much more done with Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character and at times their separate interaction produces some of the best corny dialogue.
One can call it a guilty pleasure or just admit that this movie is plain fun and embrace something I recommend for my fellow dudes who have held out so far. Being R rated it’s a bit too gruff for the youngest, but otherwise nothing beyond what my generation was exposed to growing up. As a result I’d say the verdict for “The Expendables 2” is four out of five salutes.
Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.