“The Expendables 2” has Cold War undertones to go along with a cast that found fame during that time. Aging action heroes Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger act out a shoot ‘em up with so much blood and guts it would make James Bond positively red with envy.
I could tell you the plot of “The Expendables 2,” but this movie isn’t about the story. It’s a revenge flick about a team of mercenaries who will take on any mission, no matter dangerous, for money. Imagine what they’ll do for payback! In other words: “Track ‘em. Find ‘em. Kill ‘em.”
The old guys are mixed-and-matched with (slightly younger and more limber) film fighters Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Liam Hemsworth.
There’s enough grizzled faces on display here to make you think you’re watching at Mount Rushmore. The difference is, these faces speak. They say things like, “Rest in pieces,” after they’ve shredded a bad guy.
Most of the dialogue sounds as though it was run through the Action-Movie-Cliché-O-Matic™. The ever-popular “Houston we have a problem,” line makes an appearance, even though no one in the cast is named Houston and the film isn’t set in Texas.
More successful are some of the meta-jokes about clichés and the surreal cameo by Chuck Norris.
Mostly though the dialogue gets in the way of the big action scenes, which, let’s face it, are the real reason to see a movie like this. When the actors are speaking instead of shooting your mind wanders. “Why does Stallone have a Ming the Merciless moustache?” you may wonder. “How much did they set aside in the budget for arthritis medicine?”
But these are nit-picky points. How do you review a movie like “The Expendables 2”? I can say if you have a soft spot for 80s action, you’ll probably like it. If not, go see “Hope Springs” instead. The best review for the movie actually appears in the film. At one point Bruce Willis says, “A nice touch. A little extreme, but nice.” My thoughts exactly.