The original Expendables was a throwback to the action movies of the 80’s, full of indestructible heroes and more explosions than World War 2. As an added bonus you got to see many of the stars from the same era were sharing the screen together for the first time
Though it was a great testament to the films of that era, it seemed to be taking itself far too seriously which forced it to rely more on the action. Something that didn’t always work well.
Thankfully the sequel did away with that and has fully embraced the absurdity of it all. And damn, it makes a huge difference.
The plot doesn’t need much explaining: the team is on a mission that results in one of their own being killed. Revenge then becomes the order of the day. That and explosions. And lots of guns.
The old team is still here. Sly, Dolph, Jet and The Stath have slipped back onto their roles without a hitch. In addition Bruce and Arnie have more screen time even if all they do is continue to play by their action hero stereotypes. Of all the actors, Dolph seems to be the one making the best of it – hamming it up with an effort that makes the most of the limited time on screen.
If that isn’t enough to drive the story, we have Van Damme outshining the lot as the bad guy and Chuck Norris appearing in the most insane self referential cameo of the lot.
It’s almost as if everyone realized how mad this all is so they might as well push it to the limit. In such an excessively violent movie, to have the cheese factor almost top that leaves for a strangely entertaining experience.
Whether it was intentional or not, the end result is something that got a huge number of laughs from everyone watching. And that makes it the perfect popcorn movie.
Final thoughts: this is the movie the first Expendables should have been. It’s a hugely entertaining experience that will reward fans of the ‘classics’.