Friday, August 17, 2012

Expendables 2 Delivers

As I was walking out of the first showing of Expendables 2 I turned to another middle aged white guy who was exiting the theater and said, "Was it everything you hoped for?" He grinned at me and said, "It truly was." Me too. Expendables 2 is a love letter to the action movies of the 1980s-1990s and it has everything fans thought was missing from the original. Bruce, Arnold, and Sly actually fight side by side against the bad guys.  And when Chuck Norris showed up, seriously, the crowd I saw it with actually broke into applause. I kid you not. There are explosions and gun fights galore and the heroes spew the one liners just like in the old days.
    Stallone is a savvy enough movie maker though that EX 2 isn't just a throw back. There's story here and some decent characterization in the few quiet moments. There's also a female expendable this time in the very likable and attractive Nan Yu who can do some serious kung fu style butt kicking.
   But it really is still a boys club movie and it's great to see all these classic action stars finally sharing the screen. There was more cheering from the crowd as Sly, Arnie, and Bruce all walked toward the bad guys with machine guns blazing. There was a lot of laughter too at the self-depreciating humor as the boys joked about their ages and insulted each other.
   Just like in the first one, the surprise standout performance was by Dolph Lundgren as the hulking, unpredictable, unstable Gunner. Who would have thought Lundgren would have such good comedic timing?
   Oh and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who at 50 is the youngest of the old guard cast members, can still throw some serious kicks.
   Basically if you're a fan of movies like Rambo, Terminator, Bloodsport, Die Hard, Commando, Lone Wolf McQuade, and other action films of the 80s/90s, then you're going to get a kick out of Expendables 2. I may go see it again, and I'll buy the DVD the day it hits.

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