Dir: Simon West
Starring: (*takes deep breath*) Sylvester "I didn't hear no bell" Stallone, Arnold "Kill me, I'm here!" Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Jean Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Chuck Norris (seriously!)
Great films that are similar: The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, Rambo: First Blood
Our generation sucks, just a little bit...
(*NOTE: this review will mostly avoid the subject of Chris Hemsworth*)
Ah, the elderly. They have both their charms and their faults. They are out of touch, bad with machinery, usually dangerously conservative, and their grasp of contemporary ideas are as off kilter as those of most dictators. And, yes, the sequel to 2010's too-serious smash hit The Expendables does suffer a bit from the dated ideals of its aging action stars.
But, then again, getting older has it's benefits, too. You see, when you get older you gain experience, experience becomes wisdom, wisdom becomes a new perspective, a new perspective becomes a sense of humour....
and a sense of humor becomes this....
|Ha ha ha...you're terminated, f***er!|
You see, we live in an age where everybody takes themselves and their movies a little too seriously. This is the era in which Christopher Nolan made Batman sombre again, and sadistic torture porn has humbled even the most shocking movie violence of the past (Peckinpah, Cronenberg, and the likes).
Think about it, who starred in the original Predator (1987)?
And who starred in our generation's supposedly "gritty" re-imagining Predators (2010)?
And, I could say the same for the Terminator franchise:
See what I mean about our generation taking itself too seriously?
And so, we come to my most fundamental point regarding The Expendables 2. This is, in fact, my kind of action film. It is a film that makes no attempt to be gritty, serious or real. Instead of pathos, they have muscles, humour, and shameless self-reference and depreciation. These good old boys are just out to laugh at themselves amidst the bloody carnage of their twilight years. Be it Van Damme's round house kick stabbing, Arnie ripping the doors off of a Smart car, or an Dolph Lundgren's revelation that he likes to eat "clubbed seal", one gets the impression that, through kill after kill, these guys are really enjoying themselves.
In a era where everything is real and gritty, this renaissance for the action genre has come at precisely the right time for my tastes. With Arnie and Stallone working together again on a project called The Tomb next year, it seems that these guys that star in this film are truly intent on having what a friend of mine described as their "second childhood" now in their old age. And why not? Not only do they have the gumption to reference Die Hard (1988), Terminator (1984), and the internet sensation "Chuck Norris facts" in this movie, but they have also shoe-horned in two glorious homages to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966). Plus, the body count is obscene. There is even a woman in the movie in the form of a decent enough role for Nan Yu. And, we get to see the movie's soul young pretty boy get killed off early. Oh, what a silly joy this is!
|Pictured: A senior citizen.|
This film's appeal can be summed up in one of its finest moments. Upon spotting an old, dilapidated military plane given to him as a gift, Stallone's Barnie Ross is heard to remark "that belongs in a museum", to which Arnie's Trent replies with a wry grin "we all do." In other words, these guys are ridiculous....and they love it.
Oh, and by the way, they want Nicolas Cage, Harrison Ford, and Sean Connery for the third film!
Here's to the future for action's elderly all-stars.