Starring : Nearly every major action star of the past 3 decades
Directed by : Simon West
Copyright© Millennium Films / NU IMAGE 2012
Ensemble cast movies have been tried many times , Hong Kong film makers have been doing it for years to great effect and the recent Korean film ''The Thieves '' shows how to create a great ensemble cast and have a great story and give each of the actors and actresses a good amount of screen time .
The first Expendables movie is a fine film and brings together some of Hollywoods biggest action stars of the past and present. But even though I enjoyed the film I found it lacking somewhere.
The Expendables 2 was a chance for the producers and director to improve on the original ,to a degree they have succeeded . But the film suffers a short run time which gives little time to the many stars taking part in the film ,which is what lets it down in places.
Americas film studio bosses obsession with keeping action films short in run time is one of the most annoying things in cinema.
Now we have a cast that needs to be given time to get to know ,but in a little over ninety minutes that's not going to happen.
All the regulars are here , Stallone,Statham,Crews,Lundgren,Couture and Li. Though Jet Li only has a small role due to filming commitments he had on Flying Swords of Dragon Gate.
Appearing for the first time are Chuck Norris ,Scott Adkins (who was offered a role in the first film) ,Liam Hemsworth and Jean Claude Van Damme as the main villain.
And of course Arnold Schwarzennegger and Bruce Willis return in bigger roles for the film.
The film starts with the team on a mission giving it large ,it;s a scene to introduce us to the team and shows Jet Li as Yin Yang in his small but entertaining role.
The brunt of the film evolves around a new mission which is instigated by Mr Church (Willis) a secretive CIA agent.
A plane has gone down in Albania and the team need to retrieve a electronic codec from the crash scene . Along with his team Barney Ross (Stallone) along with new recruit Billy head of to the Crash Site.
Accompanying them is CIA operative Maggie Chan as she is the only one that can retrieve the date they need.
But when they get there they find themselves surrounded by a sadistic Group of arms smugglers led by Jean Vilain ( Van Damme) , he holds Billy for ransom at the crash site for the data they have retrieved .
They agree to give them what they need to save Billy who is planning to retire after this mission. ,but when Vilain kills him anyway as he leaves with the data ,Barney vows revenge.
Now the data is the key to finding a store of Plutonium left from the Russians ,on the black market it could worth billions and tip the balance of power through out the world.
The film goes off on a roller coaster from here on in , as the team find out where Vilain is heading and launch a mission to get Vilain and make him pay.
On the way they will encounter Vilain's mercenary’s who are using Men from a local villages to mine for the Plutonium (many dieing in the process) , when they get trapped in a makeshift town used for training exercises they get rescued by Booker , a lone wolf man for hire that fights for justice ,this is one of the highlights of the film as it brings back to our screens the legendary Chuck Norris and I must say at this point Chuck has stolen the show.
Sad that Chuck Norris has confirmed he won't be returning for the third in the series.
Booker points them in to the direction of a village that may help them with provisions ,but when they get there they are confronted by armed and frightened Woman . In the end they must do the right thing.
Like I said the film moves along at a pace and it's not long before where heading for a finale.
Barney Ross must get to the mine to stop Vilain and his henchmen .
Getting trapped they are finally saved by Trench in what looks like a scene from Total Recall.
Now it's all off to the airport to stop Vilain getting away with the Plutonium.
Here we will see more bodies get blown to bits then Die Hard ,with each of our heroes turning up to do their bit .But I must say it's quite a scene to see Jean Claude Van Damme as Vilain arriving at the airport only to be confronted by Stallone,Willis and Schwarzenegger.
Willis and Schwarzenegger share a couple of good scenes with good humour ,which had me cracking up . And the reappearance of Chuck Norris as Booker to spice things up was good to see ,but I would have liked to see him bust some moves as opposed to being laden with a gun.
Scott Adkins gives a great performance as Hector ,his fight with Statham sees him out class Statham ,but we all know the good guys must win in the end. Maybe if Jet had been free for more scenes we might have seen Jet and Scott go at it.
The fight between Barney Ross and Jean Vilain is typical fare but good to see two iconic action stars go head to toe ,it's reported that Jean Claude had the end fight rewritten to be longer as the original writing left it short on length and impact ,good thing as anything less would have been a waste of time .
In all the Expendables 2 is a good film but not great ,problem lying with by the time you get into it ,it's over with many of the characters having little screen time like which they deserve.
Maybe they can afford a longer running time for the third film, and with Nicholas Cage on board as confirmed it should be a good one to, Jackie Chan has agreed to be in the third providing Stallone can make sure his part is meaty enough ,Jackie said he does not want a small cameo and then he's gone type of role . This could be promising as if Jet Li returns then maybe Jackie and Jet wil get to fight each other again after their battle in Forbidden Kingdom ( they have dieing to do it for ages) , plus as a bonus there is a chance that Steven Seagal will put his rift with Avi Lerner to the side and join the project.
It's also reported Jean Claude Van Damme will return as the brother of Vilain , now can Stallone persuade Van Damme and Steven Seagal to fight each other ?
We will have to wait and see .
Score out of Ten = 7
Date : 28-12-12
* This review also appears on our sister site ''Shoot'em in the Head .co.uk
Stallone as Barney Ross
Jet Li as Yin Yang
Jean Claude Van Damme as Jean Vilain
Scott Adkins as Hector
Couture , Crews and Lundgren out for a stroll
Chuck Norris and that's a Fact!
Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis open fire!
Stallone and Van Damme go at it
|Directed by||Simon West|
|Produced by|| |
|Screenplay by||Richard Wenk |
|Story by||Ken Kaufman |
|Based on||Characters by |
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Editing by||Todd E. Miller|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||103 minutes|