Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Expendables 2 ★ ★ ★

Release Dates

Australia:  30th August, 2012; USA 17th August, 2012; UK16th October 2012
Other Countries: Release Dates

Ex-action star and ex-Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, Trench, fills the screen, and utters the words, “I’m back”.   And, yes they are people.  Hollywood action stars don’t retire any more, they just get parts in ‘The Expendables’ where they can lampoon their previous career, have a laugh and remind cinemagoers who they once were. 
Who would have thought two years ago that the first, ‘The Expendables’, with a flimsy plot, a bunch of old action stars and reasonably small budget,  would become a box office hit, going on to make $US274 million worldwide? Probably only Sly Stallone since ‘The Expendables 2’ was on the drawing board even before the first one was released.
We should learn to never underestimate Stallone, with all his faults (and I’m referring to acting here) he somehow knows how to turn what shouldn’t work into a success. Never one to hop off the train he’s shoved into motion a number two was always going to happen.
This time the team of wrinkly, but surprisingly buff action heroes, of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), Toll Road (Randy Couture) is joined by newcomers, Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth), an ex-army sniper and Maggie (Nan Yu), a combat proficient, computer whiz.  Church (Bruce Willis), who we are really uncertain is a good or a bad guy, sends Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and the gang to recover a package from a crashed plane in Bulgaria. 
There they encounter the very nasty, Jean Vilain, (Jean-Claude Van Damme).  During this meeting, amidst much chest beating, something goes wrong (I can’t say what or it will ruin the surprise) which turns the retrieval of the package from Vilain into a very personal vendetta for the group. 
Along the way, you will join the audience in solid laughter as each new action hero arrives on the scene, their characters written so that you will find yourself muttering the titles of eighties films and wracking your brain to remember which character had once said THAT line.
Of crafting the team of old-school mercenaries loved by audiences worldwide, Stallone has said that he was originally inspired by classic action films like The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch and Dogs of War – movies that were defined by hard-hitting action and by tough yet sympathetic characters, “These guys harken back to a time when our heroes were flesh & blood. They didn't have any extraordinary abilities other than the desire to survive and to be victorious, even at the expense of their own lives. There's something that is relatable about that.”
As expected, ‘The Expendables 2’ delivers much knuckle crunching fights, machine gun shooting and kick-boxing action and if you don’t find yourself laughing then it will only be because you are too young to take this trip down memory lane.  You will lose count of the dead bodies and the myriad of ways they die but that’s okay because you are not meant to remember this movie for long.  I couldn’t repeat the plot of the first one if you threatened my life with a tank.
Stallone reflects on the film, “Maybe it’s the beginning of a revival. Or, maybe it’s the end of an era. But one thing is for sure; we’ll never see this again. To get all of us together at one time is a minor miracle. It’s never happened before and it will never happen again.”
‘The Expendables 2’ provides enough tongue-in-cheek fun, action and nostalgia to score another box office hit and I seriously doubt ‘The Expendables’ “will never happen again.”  I imagine there is a script already sitting in Sly’s out tray and a few emails to buddies, beginning with, “I’m back.  If you’re not busy...”