OK, admittedly I thought that The Expendables, the first in what is now apparently going to be an ongoing series of films, was bad. Oh hell, let's say it: it sucked raw eggs! But now Stallone has returned with The Expendables 2, and all is forgiven. This movie rocks!
The Expendables 2 brings back the old (in every sense of that word) team (Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews), adds Liam Hemsworth to the team, reintroduces characters played by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger and throws Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme into the mix just for fun. And what fun! After a lengthy pre-title sequence worthy of an entire James Bond film, the main plot kicks into gear as the team is sent on a mission to retrieve an unidentified item from a plane wreckage. This mission gets compromised by the arrival of villain Vilain (Van Damme) and the brutal death of one of the team members. From then on, it's a simple mission to avenge the murder of their colleague; as Stallone puts it, “Track 'em, find 'em, kill 'em.”
And boy, do they kill 'em! This movie richly deserves its “R” rating – the violence is on a massive scale. It's a kind of black-humor violence, designed to take the edge off of so many anonymous bodies being cut to pieces by gunfire, knives, chains, etc. And of course Stallone and Statham both get a final showdown with their opposite numbers. Even Chuck Norris takes a break from selling Total Gyms long enough to wipe out an enemy army singlehandedly. Unbelievable? Yes. Entertaining? Immensely.
Then there's the scene of Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger walking side by side blasting away at the enemy. Words are inadequate…just enjoy the moment and realize that that scene alone is worth the price of admission. This is geek movie perfection.
Will I buy this movie on DVD? Yes. Will I watch it repeatedly over the next few years? Absolutely! Run to your local theater and see this epic – you'll thank me.
NOTE: Rumors are already circulating that a third installment of the franchise will not only reunite the main cast, but will also feature Nicholas Cage, Steven Seagal, Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford. I am so there!