Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s was a wonderful time for action movies. I loved watching Stallone and Schwarzenegger films. Then Bruce Willis came along with Die Hard. I remembering watching Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, and even Cynthia Rothrock and Jeff Speakman movies and loving them. I even used to imagine my own movie starring all of them when I was a kid. I thought how cool it would be to see them all share the screen together. No matter how late the dream came true with The Expendables it was worth the wait. I had a lot of fun with the first film. Needless to say I was very excited about the sequel.
To get such heavy hitters in the action genre together in a movie is always fun. Stallone, Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Willis and Schwarzenegger all together. Count me in. Plus, this time they added Norris and Van Damme and gave Willis and Schwarzenegger expanded roles. The overall product was decent and fun. Van Damme was a good villain. The story was simple but effective. It worked.
There were a few things, however, that bothered me. First of all, how many stupid jokes where someone is practically winking to the camera do we need in this film? Honestly, I don’t need references to Rambling, Die Hard, and Schwarzenegger’s “I’ll Be Back” catchphrase. The only one that worked had to do with Chuck Norris and a cobra. That was hilarious.
The other thing that bothered me was something that shouldn’t. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it though. They were in Russia at a soviet spy training town made to look like America during the Cold War. The Cold War ended before the American post office changed its symbol. They didn’t change to the new sleeker eagle image until the Soviet Union had collapsed yet in this America Town they were hiding in we see a mailbox on the street with the new eagle symbol on it. I couldn’t stop myself from wondering if the Russians ever stopped training spies. Maybe the FSB took over after the collapse and kept going with it. Maybe it was just an oversight on the production designer’s part. I don’t know. All I could do was think about this and wonder if it was a small hint of things to come in Expendables 3.
Okay, I got way off track there. I am supposed to be reviewing the movie not talking about my anal retentive attention to detail. The movie worked in some respects. The great thing about the first film was the personal journey of the characters. Stallone turned his back on his mission to what was right. Lundgren betrayed his friends and later redeemed himself and was later welcomed back into the fold. Mickey Rourke’s character had an awesome monologue midway through. That is what made the first movie good. This one got close a couple times but never found the magic of the first movie. Instead, it settled on making jokes and amping up the violence.
I still enjoyed in the movie very much. It just fell short of the first. Hopefully they can pull it together in the next one. We will see. 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. It would have been less but I don’t want Chuck Norris to come after me.