A film that is less than the sum of its parts, The Expendables 2 may boast major action wattage yet fires blanks on all fronts, especially in its dream team scenario.
Lacklustre should not be the word to describe a film like The Expendables 2. The first film certainly was not, matching the hype of its dream assemblage of action stars past and present in one big blow ‘em up, knock ‘em out movie.
Yet somewhere along the way a hot spark leading to a wall of TNT has been distinguished. Here we have Jean Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris teaming up with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, the pick of the crop in vintage action. Yet under the guidance of Stallone (series creator and co-writer) and director Simon West it is effort given for nothing but a bland time, putting a damper on the wet dreams of action fans everywhere.
Much like the first movie, The Expendables 2 centres on a mission set up by shady CIA operative Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) where he sends Expendables leader Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team of mercenaries (Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Coulture and newcomer Nan Yu) to find a mysterious package before it falls into the hands of uber baddie Villain (Jean Claude Van-Damme).
With such a simplistic premise and a tired screenplay where high cues are found in the quickly boring self-referential humour, The Expendables 2 relies on its larger than life personalities and their ass kicking ways to see it through.
Yet under the direction of Simon West opportunities are squandered for the (seemingly) ludicrous goal of creating an express conveyer belt action movie, where guest stars show up, blow things up and then disappear. A film featuring this type of ensemble needed more time to let is players do what they do best.
Dream scenarios such as Statham facing off against straight to DVD star Scott Adkins, the titans match of Stallone trading fisticuffs with Van Damme, or watching Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris laying waste to an army should not be as unstimulating or forgetful as presented in this movie.
Gone is the energy that Stallone the director gave the first Expendables movie, replaced by a mediocrity that a film like this should never possess in the first place. As it stand The Expendables 2 may talk a big game, yet can’t back it no matter how many muscles are on display.