The Expendables 2…a movie reviewed by James Berardinelli. Rated 2½/4

August 30, 2012 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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The Expendables 2 does not defy expectations; it defines them. If you think you know what the movie will deliver, you’re probably right…writes James Berdinelli.

No surprises, no twists. Even more than the original The Expendables, this feels like an homage to the ’80s, although maybe that’s because of higher profile parts for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose cameos have been expanded to supporting roles. Joining the party are Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. And the much feared PG-13 neutering did not happen. The Expendables 2 glories in carnage to a degree where it’s almost impossible to imagine how much cutting would be needed to avoid an R.

On the whole, The Expendables 2 is more satisfying than The Expendables. With Stallone no longer behind the camera (he has been replaced by Simon West), the action scenes are better staged and more competently presented (no shaky-cam this time around). There’s more humor than in the first installment, although nearly all the good one-liners are given to Schwarzenegger. The action is fast and brutal and, if it doesn’t raise the pulse much, it’s at least flashy. The plot is a by-the-numbers affair that feels like it was dusted off the shelf as a rejected ’80s Bond movie, but The Expendables 2 isn’t about character development or narrative inventiveness. It’s about kicking ass, blowing up things, and spending time in the comfort of a darkened theater surrounded by ’80s action icons.

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