The preliminary Expendables was not quite the '80s/'90s Action Celebrity Seasonal that was guaranteed, but rather a Sylvester Stallone/Jason Statham automobile that presented several relative lightweights of different action-god position. Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li are genuine activity celebrities, but Randy Fashion and Terry Workers were merely stars who have showed up in an activity image or two who occurred to say "yes." Now, with the first film's $274 thousand globally box workplace (off a $80 thousand budget), Stallone was able to move the soldiers. The two desire 'gets,' Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis get bigger and 'in the action' areas to perform now around while Throw Norris reveals up in an prolonged cameo. Like the first image, the film is generally a automobile for Sylvester Stallone with beginner Nan Yu getting in for Statham as the theoretical second cause now around. Once the film gets previous the 'but... she is a *woman*!' things, she suits right in with the group. Curiously, Jet Li seems to be in the prologue just lengthy enough to tell you that he can still conquer buttocks only to randomly vanish from the relax of the image. Since much of the film still includes Stallone and his motley team, Li is sorely skipped.
The greatest performing satisfaction actually comes from Jean-Claude Va Damme, enjoying the primary hefty now around. Van Damme actually gives the best performance of the whole throw, displaying that he's used his decade-or-so in direct-to-DVD activity stand up to cuboid up his performing abilities. Van Damme is quite interesting here as he clearly enjoys the opportunity to perform a dreadful super-villain. I'd dispute that he's at least as due for a big-screen return as the quite-terrible 'I neglected how to act' Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold's brief cameo in the first film was its low-light and he's similarly as self-aware now around in a relatively bigger part, to the film's overall hindrance. Willis also provides serious laugh instead of providing a real performance, which is odd as he's quickly the best performing professional of the collection and the one with the most achieved big-screen profession. Record will assess Mr. Willis as a excellent performing professional who sometimes dabbled in activity movies rather than a genuine activity star. Statham also tries to provide a real performance, but he's nowhere near as powerful here as he's been in companies Secure or The Financial institution Job and stands out only in a significant second act activity series. Liam Hemsworth reveals up as a new younger sponsor who gets to tell a 'meaningful tale,' but it only creates you (shockingly) recognize how much pathos Mickey Rourke provided the before around (he's absolutely MIA here). Factor being, with the controversial exemption of Van Damme, no one will put this on their emphasize fishing reel.
I focus on the performers because they are the main attraction. The plot is negligible (notice how I skipped the synopsis) and there is little subtext to be discussed. The core problem is that several members of the cast aren't playing characters so much as playing themselves in a 'wink-wink' manner that deflates any potential drama. Come what may, the original film at least pretended to be playing for keeps. Simon West (who made the great Con Air and the awful Tomb Raider) directs the carnage relatively well although he seems unable to stop his cast from giving into some of their worst and campiest impulses. The opening action set-piece basically blows the majority of the budget, and its an unquestionably impressive montage of utter carnage, even if its so lacking context that you could easily imagine that our heroes are actually villains paid to lay waste to well-meaning soldiers of whatever country they happen to be blowing up. The rest of the film can't measure up to the opening reel, although the climax delivers the body count, mixing god-awful planning by our heroes (which puts the villains smack-dab in the middle of a populated area filled with civilians) and some atrocious editing (which seemingly shows our heroes slaughtering innocent bystanders as well as faceless enemy soldiers). What action the elder statesmen do partake in is notable only for how little action it really is. Sorry Arnold, standing in one place and shooting machine guns off-screen isn't 'action.' With strictly CGI blood and various moments of poorly re-dubbed would-be profanities, it's clear that this film was shot and edited with a PG-13 in mind, just like the last time.
As entertaining and (usually) fun as the destruction-filled male bonding is, one only wonders what could have been (or what may someday be) if someone took this cast and tried to make a truly great action drama. If you could take the attempted substance of the first film and combine it with the over-the-top action excess of this sequel, along with a director who could actually direct these actors (cough-Andrew Davis-cough), you could make this franchise into something special, something where the best part of the film isn't merely that it exists at all. But for the moment, the franchise exists as a place for some of the 'classic' action stars of the 1980s and 1990s to get together and blow stuff up while the oldest among them try their hardest to pretend they can still run and jump like the old days (there is quite a bit of um... stationary action in this film). One could argue that a film starring the defining action titans of their day should produce something approaching the biggest/best action epic around, but The Expendables 2 is not that film. It is a step down from the original in terms of relative quality while a step up in terms of sheer entertainment value.
The Expendables may be a better film, but The Expendables 2 is a better movie. Now let's hope The Expendables 3 can muscle up to offer the best of both worlds.