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Review: The Expendables 2

August 14, 2012

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia

Like its predecessor, The Expendables 2 is a veritable feast for action film fans. From solid action film director Simon West, there’s a cast that’s bordering on ridiculous with a collection of the most legendary film stars, including Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger finally coming together on screen. Expectations have been high for this film. It’s been marketed as the ultimate action film for anyone looking for a relentlessly fast paced adrenaline fuelled bit of cinema. Could it live up to the hype?

The opening scene’s certainly explosive. The level of violence is impressively gratuitous and the action is ridiculously fast paced as the gang battle to take out an entire army.  This film looked set to deliver new levels of carnage from the outset and definitely isn’t a good choice for those of a sensitive disposition, or in fact, anybody who’s after a cinematic experience that includes a clever plot, believability and well rounded character development. This is a film that fulfils the stereotype, and it’s a pretty basic formula. A gang of the most macho hard men ever seen on one screen seek revenge in a hostile territory, going against the odds to win battles and stay on top. The characters are quite amusing at times and the camaraderie on screen is interesting. Let’s face facts, the job of these actors is not to deliver complicated psychological insights or explore human relations. These mega macho action movie greats deliver a torrent of physical power, along with slightly cringe one liners. Job done then!

Unsurprisingly the testosterone levels in this film reach such high levels that attempts at seriousness and sensitivity provoke a face in palm reaction. At one point the gang come across armed peasant women protecting their grandson’s. The perfect time for Statham to say to Lundgren, “Hey, even you might get laid here”. Sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful this film isn’t, but at the end of the day that’s not what action film fans want, is it? The makers of The Expendables 2 definitely don’t seem to think so. This film is like marmite and its so tongue in cheek and extreme it can’t fail to more than satisfy the appetite of anyone already into this genre of film.

So, now it’s confession time: I hate action films. Did I hate this film? No, actually I didn’t. Seeing so many iconic actors on screen did leave me relatively impressed and amused, but that doesn’t mean I’d watch it again. The Expendables 2 does exactly what it says on the tin. This film does not or desires to be taken too seriously. This is a testosterone fuelled piece of pure entertainment and action fans will enjoy every minute of it, whilst casual movie goers won’t be asking for their money back either. Just remember to leave the thinking part of your brain at home.

Kerry Flint.