Testosterone-charged geriartic gang war
The Expendables 2
Direction: Simon West
Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger
The follow-up to the testosterone-charged 2010 blockbuster reassembles the cast of ageing action icons and calls on them to deliver more of the same knuckleduster excitement of their first outing.
So more of the same is what you get with The Expendables 2, a recycled concoction with the familiar action-heavy framework without improving upon it.
The nonsensical plotline merely serves as a pretext for the usual barrage of stunt-laden set pieces.
Sylvester Stallone, who co-wrote and helmed the original, turns the directional reins over to Simon West (Con Air), choosing instead to concentrate on his alpha-male lead role.
His band of biceps-bopping mercenaries are assigned to retrieve a cache of plutonium before it falls into the hands his rival, believe it or blanch, Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme, who like most of his co-stars is well past his prime).
Disbelief is required not so much to be suspended as abolished altogether as the titular tough guys gleefully garrotte, decapitate, and vanquish the adversaries with their bare hands. In true Z-movie tradition, there’s next to no interest in developing characterisations or relationships. The mandatory female quotient is provided by Nan Yu who functions as little more than a prop in her role of the Chinese ‘expendable’.
The macho heavyweights including Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li (though he only cameos), are abetted by additional recruits to the pack, Liam Hemsworth (at 23, the Australian hunk is the only youngster in the group) and yesteryear’s Chuck Norris.
Reprising their roles from the first film, both Arnie and Bruce Willis are a bigger presence, even sharing more screen time with Stallone. Emerging in a blaze of machine gun glory during the climactic shootout, the thick-necked trio also finds time to trade quips. Never taking themselves too seriously the self-deprecating banter of the wild bunch leavens the deadening effects of the carnage.
An unabashed ode to brawn power, The Expendables 2 just about makes it to the see-grade.