Review - The Expendables 2
14 Aug 2012
Rejoice, fans of the 2010 original. Simon West’s The Expendables 2 is every bit as redundant and unsatisfying!
Still teetering uncomfortably between a gritty actioner and shameless homage to a bygone era, The Expendables 2 is a noisy, noisy film. And I WISH I was just talking about the blaring audio which muffles every second line of unpolished dialogue beyond comprehension.The Expendables 2has too many stars and too little action. The former could do with wittier quips and the latter would benefit from a creative second unit!
Marketed on its ensemble cast, the franchise’s defining feature doubles as its primary error. Every single name on those posters, beyond Stallone and Statham, feel like extended cameos, excuses for famous faces to wield automatic weapons.
At 102 minutes, it certainly doesn’t have the time (let alone the inclination) to develop the principle mercenaries (Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Crews, Couture) too busy allowing Schwarzenegger to butcher his every line or indulge Norris in some unwarranted reverence.
Why West and Stallone permitted such showboating at the expense of genuine performance is beyond me. But hey, maybe I’m just grumpy because they allowed their most capable, legendary performer to disappear without pomp or circumstance!!!
Honestly, The Expendables 2 seems an exercise more easily accomplished by photoshoot, or thirty second commercial! The “thrill” (and I am really abusing that term’s definition there) of so many past stars sharing screen time cannot sustain a feature film.
At least it has all that trailblazing, beautifully shot, superbly choreographed action to fall back on!
Oh no, wait, I’m confusing The Expendables 2 with an Indonesian film, shot for only 1/80th the budget by a relatively inexperienced cast and crew!
With only three notable Set-Pieces, the action is presented less sequentially, more as a collage. Often, eight or more players vie for attention and the editors chop at speeds that would do Jet Li proud just to keep pace with cast’s sheer breadth.The Expendables 2 boasts stuntman legend Scott Adkins clashing with Hollywood’s sole Action Hero himself, the irrepressible Jason Statham.
But apparently West and co. are oblivious to the significance, chopping an already humdrum clash to intelligible pieces.
COMPETITION: Find a word strong enough to convey my disgust to win yourself a complimentary high five!
In the interest of fairness, it’s worth admitting, however begrudgingly that The Expendables 2 isn’t devoid of merit. Li’s physicality and speed never fail to astound, Crews remains a miasma of mentalness and Statham consistently steals his every scene with poise, wit, charm and ability.
It’s PAINFULLY obvious he’s the only REAL action star left in the cast.
But even he is inexplicably, unforgivably sidelined for much of the second act!
Now, I can appreciate Stallone’s intentions with his Expendables series. A desire to revert to the glory days of 80s cinema, when action for action’s sake was encouraged. I’m on board with that notion!
However in doing so he’s been ensnared by the era’s limitations, the era’s icons.
It’s 2012, Sly!
There are choreographers that will drop your jaw, cameramen who will blow your mind and stuntmen whose physical majesty is so prominent, you’ll need a sit down and a nice cuppa just watching them!Stallone is desperately trying to orchestrate a renaissance for the Action genre. I love him for that.
But this is not the way to revive it.
GENUINE SUGGESTION: A spin off with just Crews, Li and Statham might do the trick. And then some!