Director: Simon West
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren
Back for War
The gang of mercenaries are back and have just finished a mission where they had to rescue a hostage and bring him back to China. They are then forced into a mission where they have to retrieve an item from an airplane wreckage in Albania.
While trying to find the item their mission gets interrupted by the arms dealer Vilain and his crew. Vilain gets the item, which he is going to use to find five ton of plutonium that are located in a mine in the Bulgaria. Before leaving the group, Vilain also kills Billy and now the mercenaries are out to take revenge on him and also stop Vilain’s evil plans.
The first Expendables was cool to see since it was supposed to be a salute to the 80’s action films and action heroes. It was by all means not a perfect film, but it was a fun experience. This time there are more cameo’s and the humour and self-references are upped. Some of the humour works while at other times it gets cringeworthy bad. The story is crappy put together and it seems like nobody cared about it at all.
As with the first one, it’s Stallone who has the biggest part with Jason Statham as his main sidekick while the rest doesn’t get a lot of screen time. Since Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger has even bigger parts here, while Chuck Norris has some cameo appearances and Jean-Claude Van Damme is now the bad guy, there is really not any time left for the mercenaries. Jet Li says hi and bye very early in the film and I wish they would have kept him longer and rather traded out Terry Crews and Randy Couture instead since none of them are really that big of action heroes anyway.
The best out of any of the actors here is Van Damme. Putting him as a bad guy, even a cliché eastern european bad guy was a good choice since he has a lot of fun in the part and makes for an excellent villain. Lundgren is also fun the few times his character get to say a few words. I was expecting some sort of fist fight between those two though since it would make sense and could be done very fun with references to Universal Soldier, but this is Stallone’s ride (and his moustache which looks painted on) and as the main hero it’s him who has to be active in the final fight. They should still have found an opportunity earlier to make those two fight though.
This time around, Stallone gave up the directors chair in favor of Simon West and that was a smart decision on his part. This film has better action sequences and feels more balanced and well put together. He did what he could with such a terrible script I guess and I’m sure it wouldn’t be easy for him to get the much needed changes approved on it. I know that the 80’s action films didn’t always have the best scripts in the world, but rewatch all of the classics and you will find better stories and dialogue than you will find here.
The Expendables II stretches the love of nostalgia to its very limit and I’m surprised to see that a third film has been announced. Having a bunch of fun action heroes doesn’t automatically get you a great action film and this is a good example. Worth seeing for the nostalgia factor, but if you skip it then you are not missing very much.