Expendables 2 has Arnold Schwarzenegger in it and this time he is there for more than just one scene, like it was with the first Expendables movie. But the former action superstar gets terribly weighed down by contemporaries Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, who takes turns at making fun of him. But in the end it is Schwarzenegger who gets to have the last say, replying to Stallone's reference on the plane presented to him as 'one that needs to be in the museum', saying – “So do we”.
Expendables 2 is little more than a glorified show-off of the action stars of yesterday (expect for Statham). While Stallone wrote and directed the first Expendables movie, this time he has vacated the director's chair to Simon West, who specialises in directing action flicks. The result shows and the action sequences shown in the movie, even while being bloody, violent and at times plain ridiculous, does end up being better than in the first.
But a poor script based on an outdated concept of heroism and bravery robs Expendables 2 from much of its credits. The way all the killings and apparent racist remarks have been glamourised widens the gap separating the movie with present day viewers. While following the usual norm of having the scenes of action, comedy and emotion follow one another in a regular order, the movie depends solely on the star value of the actors, while the characters that they play in the movie lies completely hallow and devoid of any identity.
Jason Stathom as 'Lee Christmas' is the right hand man and the best buddy to 'Barney Ross' played by Sylvester Stallone. Like with the first movie, Statham gets the most spot light after Sylvester Stallone. But 'Lee Christmas' fails to fire this time around like he did in the previous film, and Statham fades in the impact made by Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Jean-Claude Van Damme perhaps might be the only one in the movie who has taken his character seriously to give a mark of identity to it. 'Jean Vilain' is mean, cruel, treacherous mercenary and who holds respect for all 'men of action'. He plays the leader to the mercenary group 'Sangs', who gets in the way of 'Expendables' in course of a mission and leaves them short of one member. Van Damme thus makes it personal with Sylvester Stallone and how Stallone and his group extract revenge makes up for the rest of the movie.
The rest of the cast has been used to a minimum, including Jet Li. The new arrival to the Expendables team is Maggie (Yu Nan); besides tagging along with the 'big boys' she also gets to have a 'special place' in the heart of Barney Ross.
With a hallow, unrealistic storyline, which has been picturised in a manner more apt for an action flick of the 80s, consisting of average dialogues and less than average humour, Expendables 2 could find it hard to repeat the success of the first part. The one thing that goes well for the movie is that, this time every major actor in the movie has managed to make his bit impressive, which means the movie satisfies those who watch it purely for the sake of seeing the team of action stars demolishing the villains.
Other than the sheer weight carried by the team of distinguished stars, Expendables 2 is nothing much besides gun fights, bomb blasts and catch phrases. The movie is a worth watch only to those excited at the prospect of seeing the biggest action stars sharing the same screen space.
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