Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: The Expendables 2 [2012]

Release Date: 16 August 2012 (Malaysia), 17 August 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Simon West
Written By: Richard Wenk, Sylvester Stallone, Ken Kaufman, David Agosto
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Nan Yu, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins
Duration: 102 minutes
In A Nutshell:
The Expendables is a team of highly trained mercenaries which consists of Barney Ross (played by Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (played by Jason Statham), Yin Yang (played by Jet Li), Gunner Jensen (played by Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (played by Terry Crews), Toll Road (played by Randy Couture), and the newest and youngest member, Bill (played by Liam Hemsworth). They are assigned by Mr. Church (played by Bruce Willis) to do a job with the help of an agent named Maggie (played by Nan Yu). Things go horribly wrong when they meet an opposing group led by Vilain (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Hector (played by Scott Adkins). They aim to seek revenge and meet some old friends along the way in Booker (played by Chuck Norris) and Trench (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Thumbs Up:
+ Good old-school type of action
+ Loads of laughs and banter
+ Action movie legends putting-up vintage performances
Thumbs Down:
- As is the case with old-school action, plenty suspension of belief is needed for those who aren't use to it -- not a problem for me here.
- Lacking suspense, but it actually works for this movie
- Bad guys are comically-evil (see The Verdict Is In segment below)

The Verdict Is In:
Previously, only a very few movies with ensemble stars have been good. The Avengers [2012] and Love, Actually [2003] are the odd exceptions that did manage to entertain. Even the predecessor to this film, The Expendables [2010] was largely disappointing. But we can now add The Expendables 2 to the list of successful ones. It was really great to see this ensemble of action-movie legends put-on a vintage performance. Classic old-school action. They also make fun of the movie characters that made each actor popular in the first place. Heck, they even make use of Dolph Lundgren's real life background of Chemical Engineering.

Other than the action, the film has truck-loads of humour. I even consider putting the label "comedy" to this review. And that's where it succeeds. In this era of gritty and realistic action like in the Bourne films or The Dark Knight [2008], it helps that they don't take themselves too seriously. The longer the film went, the more fun I was having. The only real downside for me were the comically evil bad guys. Not only is Van Damme's character named Vilain, but they are so cruel to the extent of wanting to get women and children to be "slaves" working in the mines.

In a year where I've seen plenty of good films but were under my expectations, this one surprisingly succeeds those expectations. Oh, and if you're not familiar with the Internet jokes on Chuck Norris, do check them out before seeing this. It is well worth it, I tell you.
8 out of 10


  1. Awesome that it doesn't suck! The trailer for it wasn't the best. I'll deifnetly see it - I love Jason Statham and Chuck Norris's jokes.

    1. I don't know if it was because my expectations weren't very high, but the longer the film went, the more I enjoyed it.

  2. dah tgk?!?!? cis..aku tgk weekend..raya 1st..oh selamat hari raya gak!

    1. Selamat Hari Raya gak!! Tapi aku kene keje time hari raya.... haha

  3. Well I thought the first movie was excruciatingly bad, I mean I nearly walked out of the theater and I felt bad as I asked a lot of my friends to go see it w/ me.

    So the second one is a lot of improvement eh, but I still won't shell any money to see it on the big screen. I'll just rent it so I can fast forward the REALLY bad parts, ahah.

    1. I didn't enjoy the first one too although I didn't hate it. I think the major difference here is that it doesn't take itself seriously. They seemed like they had fun making this.

    2. I wish they had poked fun at themselves in the first one, I mean that's the only way to go about it w/ all the senior actors, ahah.

  4. It seemed not the type I would go, but wouldn't mind checking it out. Also, I kind of think Stallone was overrated back then. Nice that you enjoyed the movie.

  5. I kinda enjoy the old Stallone movies like Rocky and Rambo, but yeah, he does appeal more to the male demographic.

  6. The further I get away from this movie, the more I like it. It really was a good time.

    Sunglasses in a mine! IN A MINE!

    1. "I saw Van Damme wear sunglasses inside a mine!!!" <--- seeing this AT THE THEATHER is experience you cannot buy!

  7. Proof that sometimes even your low expectations can be far too high.


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