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    The Expendables 2 (2012: Simon West)

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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Join date : 2011-02-16
    Location : Modesto, CA

    The Expendables 2 (2012: Simon West)

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:22 am

    "Who do you think you are, Rambo?"

    I was looking forward to this film almost as much as I was looking forward to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I thought the first film was decent (I missed it in the theater) but used way too much of the shaky-cam action that obscured too much of the action. So when I heard Simon West (Con Air) was directing and that they got back Jet Li (though lost Mickey Rourke) and had Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris I knew I was in. I sure as hell was not going to miss this in the theater.

    The cinema I go to has different size theaters and screens so I was happy that I got the big theater for this film and its access to the balcony restroom that most do not know about. It was rather empty, being typical for late August (school is back, though weather was mild with a high of about 96F that day) and a mid day showing, but I am not complaining though I do want this movie to do well at the box office. I liked how almost all of the trailers were male action oriented: The Last Stand, Dread, Jack Reacher, Bullet to the Head and Lawless. The odd one out was The Possession. I was pretty pumped up the previous male machismo trailers and the inordinate amount of chai tea I had consumed before I arrived.

    If you are a fan of Jet Li, he is in only the first 10 minutes, later replaced by a surrogate female version Maggie (Nan Yu: Speed Racer). I am glad they got him in it though because he had prior commitments (being The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate I suppose) which almost prevented him from being in the movie; his fight scene is pretty cool though a bit short (I would even state that this scene was possibly directed by Corey Yuen). His exit does leave the possibility of him coming back.

    The beginning is a symphony of unfettered mass destruction with little CGI and plenty of old school pyrotechnics and stuntmen. The action was an improvement on the first with better cinematography, less chaotic quick-cut editing and a less spastic camera. After the impressive prologue, we get to the story. Church (Bruce Willis) calls in a favor that Ross (Sylvester Stallone) owes him. Ross is to use his team to escort Maggie (Nan Yu) to pick up contents of a safe of a recent plane crash. It is supposed to be an easy assignment. They are ambushed by a villain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and his cohorts led by martial artist and b-movie star Scott Adkins, who has some honor and respect for the Expendables, except for new recruit Billy (Liam Hemsworth who currently is known as Thor's brother), and lets them go. Always a mistake to do that for future combatants, but JCVD needs the challenge later on. Now what is Ross going to do but "Track 'em, find 'em, kill 'em."

    I had a few issues with the movie. I thought the gravitas of the situation could have been raised. I would have thought that the importance of that much plutonium would seem more of a danger than how it was portrayed in the film. Also some of the relationship plotlines were meandering like Lee Christmas's (Jason Statham) fiancé (possibly to make it realistic, possibly because of the script revisions) and as always in a team concept film some of the players are relegated to the background like Randy Couture and Terry Crews though seriously with this cast how could they not be.

    But I had so much fun with this throwback to 1980s action films. The action scenes were well done and I had a better time with this than the first one. There were plenty of in-jokes for fans and I am impressed by the physical shape of those involved. It is funny that the backstory about Gunner and his Chemical Engineering degree and being a Fulbright scholar is actually Dolph's real life story. The Chuck Norris cameo as Booker, named after his character in Good Guys Wear Black, was cool (no chance of him being in the third though). There was even a Chuck Norris fact thrown in. Add in parts from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger and you have quite the assembly of aging action stars. All proving that they are still quite relevant.

    Now please get Steven Seagal, Mel Gibson, Nicholas Cage, Steve Blackman and Jeff Speakman for the third film.

    No additional extras during or after the credits. At the end the film was decidated to Kun Liu who was the stuntman that was killed on set during the filming in Bulgaria.

    Simon West Interview: http://www.trailerad...view-simon-west
    Box Office Mojo Article: http://www.boxoffice...?id=3507&p=.htm
    Expendables 2 News Archive: http://www.expendabl...ws-archive.html
    Dolph Ludgren Interview: http://www.cinemable...vies-32521.html

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