In The Expendables 2, the newest member (Liam Hemsworth) of Barney Ross’s (Sylvester Stallone) team is murdered in cold blood during a mission. Ross vows revenge on the criminal kingpin responsible – Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude van Damme). The Expendables go on the hunt for Vilain and foil his plans to recover a large amount of plutonium he plans to sell to the highest bidders.
After the first movie was a box office success, it was inevitable that a sequel would follow. One question was how producers and writers were going to top the first film. A couple notable action film figureheads were missing from The Expendables. Could Stallone and his crew possibly top their first outing with a second go-round?
The answer to the question is a resounding yes. The Expendables 2 delivers all the action, violence, humor, and mayhem audiences expect from the familiar stars that appear in it. Many action movie fans left the theater after the original noting that Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Steven Seagal were missing from the ensemble cast. They also felt a bit short-changed when it came to the brief appearances of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Have no fear, moviegoers. Van Damme and Norris are both in attendance this time around. Van Damme plays the main villain and relishes in it. Norris plays a sniper who flies solo but just happens to be everywhere he needs to be at all the right times to help Stallone’s crew out of tight spots. Willis and Schwarzenegger make up for their lost time in the first movie by getting in on the main action in this one.
Schwarzenegger transitions from the Governor’s office to battlefield look effortless. He has no problem poking fun at himself while delivering his token phrases, whether it be “I’ll be back” or stealing one from Willis by exclaiming, “Yippie kay yay.” I couldn’t stop myself from grinning as he marched forward in a hail of gunfire while shooting an automatic weapon and jerking with each shot like he was working a jack hammer.
There’s no shortage of blood and gore. You can’t miss the big splashes of crimson fluid splashing all over the screen. Body parts are blown off and keeping up with a body count is virtually impossible. It’s everything you’d expect from a movie combining all the classic elements and players of action films from the past three decades.
“The Expendables 2” is a nostalgic piece of action movie fun. It has everything one could want in a genre piece of this kind. Two questions came to mind as I was leaving the theater. One was, “How are they going to top this one?” and the other was “Where was Steven Seagal?”