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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

The Expendables 2  

Review: written 22nd December 2012

Expendable, too...

Let's be honest, if you've picked or are thinking of picking this movie, you know what you are getting into. It's all your favourite action stars from the last 3 decades (with a preference for the 80's), including a few more than the last expendables movie.. Chuck Norris and Jean Claude van Damme join the melee this time round. It's a mindless plot revolving around mindless violence, with van Damme in particular clearly enjoying himself as the (thoroughly) bad guy, whose henchmen have as inexplicably poor aim with their assault weapons as Stallones team have perfect aim every time with their pistols / machine guns / knives / knuckle dusters. Stallone has passed the directing reigns to Simon West (Con Air) which is an improvement pace-wise on the first, but although the ludicrous action with all those familiar faces is a blast (`scuse the pun) for those who grew up on 80's movies, the movie suffers more than a little from having just too many characters to deal with. This means Chuck Norris appears as a self deprecating type joke rather than a character, and it's odd having Jet Li above the titles when in fact he is in a blink and you'll miss him role. On the plus side - more Willis and Schwarzenegger is entertaining , even if the wisecracks are somewhat overegged, and the Stallone - Statham duo at the heart of it all still works well, as well as the newcomer Nan Yu and also Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) in an important role. Scores if not hundreds of bad guys are killed in outrageously bloody and noisy scenes, and it's all done tongue in cheek.

Do I seem half hearted about it - well, there's this nagging feeling that with a decent script and maybe half the cast there could have been a really much leaner more entertaining movie here. People often say that movies aren't as good as they used to be - but when you see a movie knowingly riffing on 80's movies, you can't help thinking that movies ARE in fact better than they used to be. Having said that, it's just plain old fun seeing these guys on the big screen, and if expendables 3 comes along then I'm not going to pretend I won't end up watching that too...





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