Film review: Expendables 2By Andre Langlois
January 02, 2013
EXPENDABLES 2 brings together at last the world’s greatest ‘straight to video’ actors.
Okay, so Sly, Arnie and Bruce may have bankrolled the Hollywood behemoth for a few years but between the Rockys hid a dozen Cobras and for every Terminator there was a Woolworths bargain bin of Raw Deals.
This A-list of second-rate actors comes together for what producer Avi Lerner calls an event and “an event is something the audience likes to see”.
No Avi – the audience likes to see a movie. If the movie is good it may become, for some, ‘an event’.
The B-listers are here too. Van Damme adds some Bond villain camp to his round house kicks, Lundgren plays dumb and Jet Li wisely limits his appearance to little more than a cameo.
Speaking of cameos, Expendables 2 has the rare honour of counting a Chuck Norris walk-on part amongst its highlights. Even more miraculously Jason Statham is the paradigm of charisma, set next to the Tinsletown vacuum.
Have I not mentioned the plot yet? Well, there’s a MacGuffin which the gang has to find but they fail and it turns out it wasn’t a MacGuffin but a treasure map leading to a bounty of plutonium hidden by the former Soviet Union (remember the 80s?) and now being dug up using slave labour. Oh, and someone gets shot and Sly doesn’t like this – not one bit.
None of that is important. What is important is that the boys get to shoot wave after wave of baddies. The death count is equalled only by the bicep and the one-liner counts. The latter are largely mundane but sometimes drably self-referential and, on a couple of occasions, descend into questionable racial stereotyping.
You may be beginning to suspect I am the wrong person to be reviewing this film. Well, I’m not 12 any more, granted, but I watch Die Hard every Christmas, I rewatched The Rock recently and I’ll stick on Where Eagles Dare at any opportunity. There’s nothing wrong with testosterone guzzling, adolescent fantasy nonsense.
But this is no more a movie than Planet Hollywood was. Sly said that to get all his butch mates together on screen “the enticement was that it’s never gonna happen again”. Kerching!
When I say there’s “nothing wrong with testosterone guzzling, adolescent fantasy nonsense” – the ‘fantasy’ bit is key.
Unfortunately among the dvd extras is a documentary about ‘The Real Weaponry of the Expendables’ where it is suggested we get to “feel,
hold and even shoot” some of the assault weapons used in the film on a tour of The Gun Store in Las Vegas. At a time when we are once again reminded of the human cost of libertarian gun laws this paean to automatic weapon fetishism is truly grotesque.