'The Expendables 2': Big-name heavies can't lift dud of a sequel
A movie review of "The Expendables 2," a sequel that brings back Sylvester Stallone and his big band of action stars as mercenaries who end up trying to avenge one of their own.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
'The Expendables 2,' with Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth, Nan Yu. Directed by Simon West, from a screenplay by Richard Wenk and Stallone. 102 minutes. Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout. Several theaters.
Of course, "The Expendables 2" is all good fun and games and recycled catchphrases. Until somebody gets hurt. A lot of somebodies.
When you're filling the screen with every big-screen action star of the past 25 years — except for Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Steven Seagal — and every one of them needs his own body count, you see the problem.
But it holds together, more or less, right up to the moment Chuck Norris and his dyed beard make their preposterous appearance, an hour in. It's a moment that lowers the bar on stupid for the rest of the picture.
Sly Stallone and his team bring their soldier-for-hire thing to Nepal, Albania and environs this time around. There's a debt to be paid — to the spy boss played by Bruce Willis, one more assignment for "your little gang of psychotic mutts."
Liam Hemsworth is a sniper who joins the crew. Maggie (Nan Yu) is the Chinese "weapons-proficient" expert brought along for the ride.
There's a friendly rivalry with this big Austrian dude who says "I'll be back." Again.
And there's a Belgian-accented heavy (Jean-Claude Van Damme), all sunglasses and big knives and a high kick waiting to happen. His name? Jean Vilain. That's with one "L," mon frère.
When somebody in the mercenaries' ranks dies, Barney (Stallone) has three things to say: "Track 'em. Find 'em. Kill 'em."