The Expendables 2 (2012) – review by Max Coulson



I’m really not getting it.  I’m just…  I don’t fucking get it.

Okay, this movie is better than the first one.  The action scenes are shot and edited in a way that doesn’t induce migraines, this time around, and the pacing has been dramatically improved.

It’s still fucking shit, though.  I get what these films are going for – they’re meant to be throwbacks to 1980’s action fare like Commando, the Rambo sequels, and a general love letter to everything big and loud that you just don’t really see, anymore.

The issue is that the end result is less like Commando or Rambo II, and more like Missing in Action 2 or Invasion USA, minus the charm.

These films really do remind me of Chuck Norris’ run of Cannon action movies.  Hell, this one even has Chuck in it.  More on that, later.

I just don’t understand the appeal of these cookie-cutter plot, fairly mediocre action movies.  These are the sort of films where I can be watching fifty people being gunned down, explosions left and right, and be utterly fucking bored, the entire time.

There is never any tension, partly because characters casually display superhuman strength and endurance, but because the story is so cliched that you can actually predict every story beat, about ten minutes into the film.

Okay, spoiler warning for anyone who’s never watched a movie – but Liam Hemsworth’s character dies.  He’s the token young member of the team (and the only one not played by an action movie icon) who is going to give it all up to be with his sweetheart.  No, really.  No, really!  The scene where he’s about to die is dragged out so fucking long, as well.

The whole time Van Damme was taunting the team and threatening Thor’s brother, all I was thinking was, “just kill him.  Kill him.  I know you’re going to kill him because this isn’t the first movie I’ve ever watched.  Fucking kill him.  Hurry up and kill him so people have a reason to start shooting things.”

Y’know the worst part about all this, though?  LIAM HEMSWORTH’S DEATH WAS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY TO THE PLOT!

The bad guys have a map to a bunch of cold war plutonium which they plan to sell to other bad guys who will fuck up the world with it.

Guess what…   that’s all the motivation you need!  They were there to retrieve the map, and the map was stolen – so they don’t need revenge as a motivator to kill the bad guys since, presumably, that’s what they’d have done anyway!

Fucking wasting my time with bullshit scenes that are not only cliched and predictable, but completely superfluous to the narrative.  Fuck you, movie.  Fuck you in the eye.

But none of that matters anyway, does it?  Nothing in the story matters, since all anyone gives a shit about is the fact that lots of people they recognise are in a movie together.

Big fucking whoop.

Oh no!  The characters are trapped in a cave with no way out.  How will they survive this?

Arnold Schwarzenegger shows up in a cave-digger thing, possibly as a partial reference to Total Recall, with no real explanation as to how he got there, how he knew where they were, and where he got a cave-digger thing.

Oh no!  The characters are all out of ammo and surrounded by bad guys.  How will they survive this?

Chuck Norris shows up with no real explanation, and guns them all down from off-screen.

This is bad writing.  It doesn’t matter if I know who the people are, it’s still bad writing.

Like, is that all people need?  “Ooh, a person I recognise!  I’m so amazed!  Oh, and they made a joke about another movie that said person is known for starring in.  How fun!”

I found it kinda funny how, since there are no well-known or iconic movies starring Chuck Norris, they just reference memes and have him walking around to the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.  Close enough, right?

It’s not even fun.  It feels more like a self-congratulatory circlejerk than an actual movie.  “Get it, they mention that Dolph Lundgren’s character is a chemical engineer because that’s what Dolph was in real life before he became an actor!  How fucking amusing!”

Literally the only redeeming moments in this movie are Jason Statham’s knife fight in the church, and…  no, actually, that might be it.

Even Terry Crews is dull in this movie.  Fucking Terry Crews!  How do you even manage that?!

I was gonna watch 2 and 3 but, nah.  I’m done.

Fuck this franchise.  Fuck it in the eye.


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