By Gabriel Stoffa
Ames247 staff writer
As if the first movie wasn’t full of enough nostalgia for our great action heroes from the 1980s on up, “The Expendables 2” came out and tossed us more big names, blowing away baddies at a rate higher than any action movie I can think of, with a side of comedy to keep everyone entertained.
The first “Expendables” was a fun romp that wasn’t anything mind-altering but did have a hefty tag of well-worn plot for action followed by — if you haven’t seen it, I’ll bet you can guess correctly anyway — lots and lots of nameless soldiers getting shredded by bullets.
For the sequel, I think the writers decided to try and up the body count from hundreds, to hundreds and hundreds that get heads blown off, holes through chests or bodies simply pulped. But then, you do have John McClane, the Terminator, Rambo, Major Scott McCoy, to mention only the leaders of the action pack, slinging guns without impunity, so no big surprise on the death toll.
I wonder if their contracts have a minimum or maximum number of kills necessary for each character so as not to make any of the other super-duper action star homages seem better than the others?
“The Expendables 2″ brings back the rest of the”good guy” cast from the first flick, sans Mickey Rourke because he was reported in TheMovieBlog.com to only have taken the cameo in the first movie as a favor to his buddy, Sylvester Stallone. Alongside the originals, you get the ridiculously entertaining parts involving action written for Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Despite all the star power, the movie does get a little dull at times. Basically the first half is really fun, but then it slows down for a while to develop some further plot-ish things. I cannot really complain, because the plot-ish events were all really just homages to the action films these amazingly violent folks have appeared in during the past 30 years.
To tempt anyone thinking they aren’t interested in a blood bath of testosterone, there are also some nicely done comedic bits. My favorite is when you get Willis saying: “I’ll be back,” to Schwarzenegger, and then Schwarzenegger saying: “Yippe ki yay,” to Willis.
But there are some annoying parts that really shouldn’t have made the movie.
First off comes from the “replacement” of Jet Li in the movie. Li appears for the opening scenes, but for the rest of the movie we are given Nan Yu. I really don’t understand the need for her character, as all she offers is some computer skills for a minute or so. It would have been better written as a video conference where one of the regular heroes has to race the clock to work the computer code based on a shotty connection. Maybe Yu was included to create a female role model to counter all of the male-driven star power. But I have to ask why bother, considering how Y-chromosome the movie already is.
I am also disappointed that — spoiler alert — none of the main crew is killed. I know, I know, the hero is always supposed to win out, but with this much star power, I want a special treat. My hope is that a third movie is made, where the remainder of action stars out there are dragged in for a final super-brawl that leaves only a couple of the heroes alive. I figure Jason Statham should live, as he is the only one that is shown to have a love in his life with Charisma Carpenter‘s sexy, sexy character — OK, OK, I just like her because of her character Cordelia in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” and possibly because of the spread she did in “Playboy.”
I could complain about the movie in various ways, but I won’t, as I had too much fun watching the guys I grew up watching killing terrorists all appear to take down the enemies in one setting. Feel free to check out “The Expendables 2″ in theaters. Don’t worry if you don’t, as it will still be awesome at home with some beer and pizza, but don’t second-guess it as an evening out with your buddies.