Monday, August 27, 2012

THE EXPENDABLES 2 - Stallone's tongue is firmly in cheek

Let me just start off by apologising for not having updated in the past week. Having been away on a very important course, I have failed to keep up to date with cinema trips and any news going on in the film world. Despite the course being pivotal to the industry to which I would love to stamp my authority, I have missed heading out on a Friday or Saturday night to see the latest film of the week. That was only missing one weekend imagine if I missed more. So without further ado let me tell you what I thought of The Expendables 2 which is the first of two films I will be seeing this weekend. The first Expendables was fun, with no story line to note, mediocre acting, corny dialogue, and a complete homage for 80's action flicks with some of the 80's best action heroes. This second instalment is exactly the same only bigger and a hell of a lot better.

The opening fifteen minutes of the film is brilliant. An action sequence in where our Expendable heroes have to ram raid their way into a city of Nepal in order to save a powerful Chinese politician. Their entrance, their fight and their escape are thrilling and your bum with be on the edge of your seat throughout. The direction of the whole sequence is superb, with everything looking as realistic as it can. Once your heart has settled back down in your chest we are introduced to the newest member of their team who is desperate to quit in order to return to his girlfriend, after their next mission though which is to pick up a box which was securely stored on a plane which was shot down over Albania. This box can not fall into the wrong hands is the understatement of the film told by Bruce Willis' Mr Church. Of course this is exactly what happens at the expense of one of Stallone's expendables, so he takes his now slightly depleted team after the people responsible to gain unholy revenge. The story of it all is the weakest part but we are more than willing to forgive that given that it isn't about story and is more about simply arse kicking.

Jean Claude Van Damme is the man to play our villain and to be fair he was brilliant in his role. It was when he was on screen that the film took itself seriously, and the tongue in cheek humour never came from his character. Unfortunately he was not in the film quite as much as I had hoped because he really did steal it when he was on screen. Other actors are just their typical selves, not that it is a problem as once again this is not what the film is about. The film is like a montage to old school action films, and the tone flits between serious to satirical. What is good about it is that director Simon West has captured the moments where satire and deepness are needed. Like I said when JCVD is on screen there is no light heartedness. His story thread is pure evil being the man willing to sell plutonium around the world in order to supply bomb makers. When the story is following our expendables however we are given the laugh out loud moments which most people have come to see. The moments where Chuck Norris turns up and states a Chuck Norris 'fact'. Or when an action hero arrives and states that he is back! Or when heroes pinch each other's lines form their most well known films. It is a film that you just watch with a smile on your face as it is a serious story that they are not taking too seriously. They all know what they are doing.

There are moments that don't work for the film however. The Expendable who is killed is one with little emotional impact, and the way they try to make it more emotional is by adding in some pretty on the nose expositional dialogue for this character which after he is killed off seems very pointless indeed. However at least with this we don't lose one of the main Expendables we have come to see. Also some of the sound quality is poor. Whether this is the capturing of the sound of the mumbling of the actors I don't know, but unless they are shouting corny lines they seem to mumble their way through them as if they are embarrassed to say them. The picture quality at times also seemed a little blurry. This could have been a point to the old action films but in today's world of HD I felt that it could have been a lot better. Despite all of these we do get some very good moments which include the acting from the villains, JCVD and Scott Adkins are both great, which is better than the heroes as they are the seriousness of the film. There are some great fight scenes between Statham and Adkins, and mainly Van Damme and Stallone which rivals the fantastic fight between Vin Diesel and The Rock in Fast And The Furious 5. The only disappointment was that the Stallone fight wasn't longer. The cameo from Chuck Norris is also worth the watch.

To sum up see this film if you want to have a hell of a lot of fun, because that is exactly what it is. Don't see if for in depth character study, see it for action and humour because that is what makes this film good. It is so much fun that I had a smile on my face the whole time. The story is weak, and seems to be paper thin in order to get the big cameos in, but what would you rather in this film. It is all about the big cameos and the 'my gun's bigger than yours' tone, and because of this The Expendables 2 surpasses its predecessor and also shines brighter than some of the other action films of this year that have taken themselves far too seriously.

Pros: Had me smiling throughout and despite some poor acting from them the cameos are great fun.

Cons: Not enough Jet Li.

7 / 10

Top 10 of 2012 so far:

1. The Dark Knight Rises     10 / 10
2. The Hunger Games     8 / 10
3. Snow White And The Huntsman     8 / 10
4. Avengers Assemble     7.5 / 10
5. Ted     7.5 / 10
6. 21 Jump Street     7.5 / 10
7. The Expendables 2     7 / 10
8. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol     7 / 10
9. The Grey     7 / 10
10. Prometheus     6.5 / 10

1 comment:

  1. Although I enjoyed it, it does fit into the "it's so bad, it's good" category and don't believe that it's a piece of satire. Infact some of the dialogue is pretty forced especially when the other actors say each others lines and in the part where they're discussing their last meals and the chinese girl says she'd have crispy duck or is that about? The problem with the first one was that they took themselves too seriously and the same happens here too, if they'd played the "we're too old for this shit" card more often it would have worked as a parody.