The Score: "For All The Tough Guy Posturing In 'Expendables 2,' They Actually Turn Out To Be A Bunch Of Old Softies"

Friday, Aug 17, 2012 3:45PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

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  • The Expendables 2
  • Slyvester Stallone, Jason Statham
  • August 17, 2012
ABC News 1.5/5
MLive 2.5/4
Screen Rant 3.5/5
Game Zone 4.5/5

If an action-packed flick is what you need to keep your summer hot, then look no further as The Expendables 2 explodes into theaters nationwide today (August 17) with more firepower than ever.

Back for more testosterone to follow-up 2010's blockbuster hit, Sylvester Stallone and pals are up for more global warfare.

Explaining the plot of "The Expendables 2? would be a lot like explaining the plot to MTV's "16 and Pregnant." It's completely obvious and absolutely unnecessary. Back for action following 2010?s "The Expendables" is Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross, along with Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture. Jet Li only appears briefly while the Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger roles are slightly expanded from the first movie. New to the franchise are Liam Hemsworth (Chris's little brother and Miley Cyrus's fiancé), Chuck Norris, Nan Yu and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who plays the bad guy. (ABC News)

Rather than take all of the grunt work again, Stallone fell back and placed more attention on his own acting this time around.

The sequel is an improvement of sorts. Stallone co-wrote and directed the first one, but got Simon West ("Con Air," "The Mechanic" ) to helm "The Expendables 2," not that you can tell. Both direct with all the subtlety of a battering ram dipped in nitroglycerine. They tend to line up tanks and firearms and blast away, splashing digital blood all over the screen. Stallone also co-writes here, and shows a knack for hammering out "witty" "dialogue" that allows its stars to reference all their old movies with a meaty, steroid-amped nudge in the ribs. Otherwise, most of the things the characters say are monosyllabic exclamations muffled by the sounds of extreme demolition. (M Live)

New additions help boast up a star-studded class of American 1990's action hero icons.

Action veterans like Chuck Norris and Scott Adkins join the franchise in some smaller bit roles, but manage to deliver fun or thrilling moments; a self-referential joke from Norris is alone worth the price of admission. Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger are given expanded duties in this installment, and together they manage to nearly walk off with the entire film. Seeing the pair onscreen blowing things away and snapping on each other (and Stallone) multiplies the enjoyment factor exponentially; Schwarzenegger in particular seems to be more charismatic than ever, and is a welcome return to the genre. (Screen Rant)

Although packed with thrilling sequences, Expendables 2 also touches on the muscle-popping characters' lighter sides.

For all the tough guy posturing in "Expendables 2," they actually turn out to be a bunch of old softies -- who knew? When they aren't discussing ways to crush their adversaries, you're likely to find them talking about their feelings. Hemsworth is a nice addition as the good kid who manages to pull off his Army sob story without totally embarrassing the guys, though there were a few wet eyes on screen. (Los Angeles Times)

Despite the glossy appearance, some critics pointed out the film's questionable heroine casting decision and script flaws.

While The Expendables 2 brings an amazing cast of retiree action heroes to the table, one of my only complaints is the film's choice for the heroine of the group. Bringing a lady into the fold is a great idea, but Nan Yu simply doesn't hold her own against the rest of the cast. Actions veterans and UFC-fighters-turned-actors get a pass when they deliver their lines poorly, but a relative unknown like Yu isn't going to get the same treatment (newbie Liam Hemsworth, conversely, is probably the best actor in the film, so he gets a pass). (Game Zone)
There are, however, loads of horrendous one-liners ("Rest in pieces!"); some lame attempts at meta-humor (Schwarzenegger: "I'll be back." Willis: "You've been back enough. I'll be back!"); and some brief, horrifying glimpses at plastic surgery gone way wrong. Van Damme, whose English has gotten a lot worse since the last time we saw him, wears sunglasses for most of the movie -- even when he's burrowing deep underground to steal some plutonium.The Expendables 2 barely qualifies as a movie, but it does make for a fascinating study on male vanity. Most of these actors are extremely fit, but there's nothing they can do about the lines and creases in their faces except take surgical jackhammers to them. (Dispatch)

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