- Running time:
- 103 minutes
- Sylvester Stallone -
- Barney Ross
- Jason Statham -
- Lee Christmas
- Jet Li -
- Yin Yang
- Dolph Lundgren -
- Gunnar Jensen
- Chuck Norris -
Their bones may creak and their skin has grown leathery, but they're still at it. And this time the fearless crew of mercenaries is more fun to be around.
The gore is ridiculously graphic and there's far more brawling than brains in The Expendables 2 (* * ½ out of four, rated R, opens Friday nationwide), but the one-liners, delivered in a mélange of accents, fly almost as furiously as the deafening explosions and whizzing bullets.
Where the first Expendables, directed by Sylvester Stallone, took itself too seriously, the sequel, directed by Simon West, is more entertainingly cartoonish.
The corps' weapons cover a wide swath from brass knuckles to army tanks to airplane propellers that double as decapitation instruments, all in service of a stupendously high body count. Be prepared for an especially loud sonic assault, but some of the one-liners are priceless, as written by Stallone and Richard Wenk.
Stallone and his coterie of aging action stars send-up their he-man images in this celebration of mindless machismo. Broadly amusing gags ensue.
The story opens with an extended 15-minute siege. The group is attacking legions of soldiers in a Nepalese village in order to rescue Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Later, one of their own is cruelly murdered and the hired guns go into high-octane revenge mode.
The camaraderie is a bit less testosterone-laden this time, with the addition of codebreaker Maggie (Nan Yu) to the gang. She's there per the orders of CIA agent Mr. Church (Bruce Willis), to whom Barney (Stallone) owes a debt. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a baddie with the un-subtle moniker Jean Vilain. Chuck Norris is a one-man army.
But the plot is incidental. Expendables 2 is all about carnage and cheekiness.
Some of the visuals leave indelible impressions, such as a world-famous action star hilariously ripping off the door of a Smart car, ala Herman Munster. (To keep from spoiling the fun, we won't say whodunit.)
These movies are not meant to be anything more than silly fun, with an all-star cast of mature hunks engaging in shameless action flick clichés and capitalizing on audience nostalgia.
Fans of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Norris and Van Damme will have a field day watching these movie icons flex their still-taut muscles. Younger, more current action hunks like Jason Statham, Liam Hemsworth and Jet Li mix it up with the veterans.
Time spent as governor of California did nothing to improve Schwarzenegger's line readings. Between Belgian Van Damme's thick accent (he pronounces challenge with the accent firmly on the second syllable) and Schwarzenegger's Teutonic growl, some lines are mangled as hideously as bad guys' bodies. Fortunately, language is beside the point in this bombastic shoot-em-up extravaganza.
The Expendables 2 is corny, barbaric and sometimes visually murky. But humor and self-deprecating macho charm make this male pattern badness crowd-pleasing fun.
Movie theaters and showtimes for The Expendables 2 in Des Moines.
No Showtimes available
movies & tv reviews
Catch up on recent movies & tv reviews you might have missed the first time around.