This time it’s Poisonal!
THE EXPENDABLES 2 finds the sinister Church (Bruce Willis) sending his obviously irreplaceable team The Expendables (led by Sylvester Stallone) on a mission into some war-torn country with rebels or something, to get something-something from a crashed plane for the purpose of something-something. It doesn’t matter. The Expendables complete this mission within ten minutes. Now they have to transport this McGuffin back to Church, and that’s when the villain comes in. A villain named Vilain. Unfortunately, I’m not kidding.
Of all the toughguys sprinkling their seed over the filmstock, Jean Claude Van Damme lands the meatiest, yet cheesiest role as the indeterminately-Euro villain Vilain. We don’t know why he wants the McGuffin, and we don’t care. Because this movie’s raison d’être, the point of all this man-struggle, all this man-meat mayhem, is to get Schwarzenegger, Willis and Stallone onscreen together in one shot, and to have them firing those big, big penises – I mean guns. Now that’s just semen – I mean, gravy.
THE EXPENDABLES 2 reunites the stars of THE EXPENDABLES (2010) before they get too old to make the muscle-milk commitment (Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Jason Statham), adds old Chuck Norris (who had to put his social security on hold to pick up this paycheck), and young Liam Hemsworth, Thor’s cuter brother.
The plot is side-kicked into gear when Vilain kills Thor’s cuter brother and Stallone takes it personally, blaming himself as the leader of the man-team. So Stallone and his man-men hunt down Vilain for pure man-revenge! “Track ‘im, find ‘im, kill ‘im!” I have it on good authority that was the pitch for the executives, who greenlit the movie with massive erections.
There’s punching and kicking and a token Asian chick; there’s the cool sea-plane and the usual bunch of bad guys who can’t aim; there’s the glorious Charisma Carpenter (which gave me a massive erection) and a plot about plutonium and Pretty Orange Explosions. It’s one silly deus ex machina after another, but we gotta admit it’s really cool to see these tough guys all onscreen together. In THE EXPENDABLES, Stallone accomplished an Herculean feat in uniting all the heroes of at least three generations of boys-to-men. And here, he adds even more man-cherries. It’s the real deal – they’re not computer generated or just being referenced in dialogue. They’re all in one location, presumably eating lunch together, in the makeup chairs together, arm-wrestling together and oiling each other up before a scene. It’s a man thing.
All these guys might have had “it” during their heyday, especially Van Damme, but in this movie, it is Jason Statham’s finesse that shines above everyone else’s (even Jet Li, who only gets a few kicks in before being unceremoniously written out of the script). That TRANSPORTER blood still icing his veins, Statham’s moves are by far the smoothest and sexiest. I envy his body-oiler. But I still don’t understand how he gets close enough to bad guys to beat them up – when they all have guns. Do they take shooting lessons from Boba Fett? (Having a blaster, yet idiotically flying up close to Luke Skywalker before trying to fire it, whereupon Luke knocks him into Pit of Sarlacc.)
The final man-fight is between Stallone and Van Damme on a catwalk (homage a la Van Damme’s DEATH WARRANT, a la Van Damme’s STREET FIGHTER, a la [insert any given Van Damme movie]).
The self-referential elements start escalating toward the bullet-riddled finale, as all the man-heroes coagulate in one big man-shootout, including Willis and Schwarzenegger.
Arnold, running low on ammo, screams at Willis: “I’m almost out – I’ll be back!”
Willis: “You’ve been back enough! I’ll be back!” Willis takes off.
Arnold: “Yippie ki yay…”
Norris bellies up to the barricade next to Arnold, firing wildly.
Arnold: “Who’s next – Rambo?”
The real question is: Where’s Clint Eastwood?