Studio: Millennium Films
Publisher: Lions Gate
Release Date: August 17, 2012
Stallone and his star studded team of Expendables are back for yet another action packed non-stop gun blazing adventure in the Expendables 2. The original crew of Barney Ross, Less Christmas, Yin Yan, Gunnar Jensen, Toll Road and Hae Caesar are back joined by two new faces, Aussie actor Liam Hemsworth (Billy The Kid) and Yu Nan (Maggie). With an unsettled debt, Mr Church (Bruce Willis) tracks, finds and demands that Ross complete one more simple job to pay back the debt that he still owes from their last mission, so the crew have no other choice but to set out and get the job done. In what should of been a simple get in, get out operation, unfortunately goes horribly wrong and one of Ross’s members is killed. Ross and his team are then compelled to revenge their fallen team mate and take down a formidable enemy in a hostile territory. As always the odds are stacked against them, with a high chance of no one getting out alive, the Expendables do what that do best and that is find them, track them and kill them and get back in time for corn flakes.
In true Expendables fashion the action kicks off straight away as it did in the first movie with the crew deep in enemy territory located in Sindhupalchawk, Nepal on a rescue mission to find and extract a Chinese Billionaire held hostage. Driving in on three armored vehicles the assault on the enemy base goes off like clockwork, and the crew save not only the Chinese Billionaire but also Ross’s old buddy Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who was on the same mission to save the hostage but got captured and was getting beat up and interrogated. For any action fan out there the opening scene is a thing of beauty especially the added bonus of the one line catch phrases that we’ve heard so many times but never get old.
On the way out Ross and Christmas are ambushed and surrounded by the enemy in what seems to look like a no way out situation. But in the blink of an eye Billy The Kid saves the day and instantly cementing his rightful place as the new member of The Expendables crew. You get to see a whole lot more of Billy’s skills right up till the dramatic escape as Ross constantly emphasises how awesome the Kid is with nearly every shot he pulls off. With the Chinese Billionaire safe and sound in Ross’s plane, Yin (Jet Li) who I must say certainly was very impressive in the opening few scenes showing off his awesome martial arts abilities, accompanies the Billionaire back home as they parachute their way to safety somewhere over China, unfortunately never to been again for the remainder of the film.
With the opening job done, the main story mission is introduced, Mr Church (Bruce Willis) tracks down and confronts Ross saying that Ross stole the $5 million dollars that he payed him to complete the last mission (The Expendables) that supposedly did not end up exactly how Mr Church had intended it. With this little unresolved money problem, Mr Church offers Ross a simple straight forward mission of collecting a package located in a high security safe on a plane that crashed somewhere in Albania and returning it back to Mr Church. The mission is certainly a walk in the park for Ross and his crew so Ross accepts knowing that once this job is done he’s clear of his debt. Mr Church however adds a wildcard to the mission explaining that Ross must take specialist for the safe cracking job (Maggie) in which Ross is not very happy but can’t do nothing about.
The collect mission actually goes well and the crew successfully break open the safe and obtain the contents within it, but on the way back the crew are confronted by Jean Vilian (Jean Claude Van-Damme) the lead “Bad Guy” for the film who has taken one of the team hostage and threatens to kill him if they don’t hand over the package. After a tense few minutes of negotiations Jean Vilian and his team obtain package and as he makes his escape via helicopter, but before doing so Vilian heartlessly kills Ross’s crew member as they watch helplessly unable to stop it. At this point the crew are left ponder on what to do next. Should they (A) Pack up and go home empty handed with their tails between their legs or (B) Find Vilian and his small army, Track them back to their base of operations and Kill them all, collect the package and avenge their fallen team mate.
As this is The Expendables 2, Ross and his team chose option B and head off on a very daring, action packed mission to recover the package stolen from them, take down Vilian’s crew and blow up everything along the way. The story does slow down a bit during the later part of the movie but then certainly picks up at the end with the final confrontation between Vilian’s small army and Ross’s team who at that point are also aided by Mr Church, Trench (Schwarzenegger) and Lone Wolf (Chuck Norris) which I must say did a fantastic job with his time on screen. They even had time to throw in a Chuck Norris joke in which certainly had me laughing out loud. The two final battles between Lee and Hectar were well executed, fight choreography was done remarkably well, but did end a little too quickly. The final fight between Ross and Vilian was also handled well, but in my opinion ended way too soon. Being a fan of both Van Damme and Stallone both actors used their trademark moves and the dialog between them both during the final battle was well scripted and also very entertaining.
My only gripe was how Jean Claude Van Damme’s character was handled. With him being the “Big Boss” there wasn’t enough Bad Boss character development. Certainly he did take down and kill one of Ross’s team mates but that was all we really saw from him until the ending of the film. What would of been nice was to see Van Damme take down, and hurt more of Stallone’s team. It’s a pitty that Jet Li (Yin Yan) left early into the movie and didn’t return, but a one on one battle with these two famous martial artists, Jet Li and Van Damme where Van Damme could of beaten the Jet Li to an inch of his life would of added a little more value to his character and cemented him as a true Bass Ass Boss ready for Stallone to take him down in the final battle.
Visuals & Audio
The Expendables 2 has it all, if you’re a fan of action movies, then you’ll certainly enjoy every gun shot, every punch and kick, every head shot and all the blood that goes with it. Set pieces and explosions from start to finish look spectacular and very well executed. Of course for a movie such as this you have to accept a high level of unbelievably but with taking that into consideration The Expendables 2 pulls off these explosions and action scenes remarkably well. Audio and sound from every gunshot, snapped neck, knife thrust and high powered assault rifle rings in your ears making you feel like your right in the middle of the action alongside Stallone and his merry crew. There were a few times in that dialog couldn’t be heard over the excessive gun shots and explosions but it’s easily forgivable once you see an awesome headshot being pulled off you quickly forget what was just said and marvel at how well the production crew pulled of something that looked so real so quickly.
Expendables 2 is a must if you’re a fan of Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Jet Li, Scott Adkins, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Yu Nan, Chuck Norris or Arnold Schwarzenegger. No other action film out there has all these star studded hard ass movie action actors all under the same roof. Even though most of the actors are getting on and should be in a museum or retired the novelty factor of seeing your favorite alongside alongside your other favorite is well worth the price of admission alone. With rumours already in the works that the Expendables 3 will be starting film production at the end of 2012 and stars such as Steven Segal, Nicolas Cage and even Jean Claude Van Damme returning, it looks like Stallone and his merry band of Expendables are not going anywhere anytime soon.