Expendables 2 Review

Any hardcore fan of action films can close their eyes, and for each cast member of The Expendables 2, picture a collection of vignettes from the glory days of their illustrious career. If you've got a bad memory, I'll refer you to a previous blog post of mine titled "Best Fight Scenes of the Expendables Cast."

It's unfortunate that it has gotta be that way, but the glory days really are behind these guys. An often-cited problem with 2010's The Expendables was that with the exception of a few newcomers with little screen time, and of course Jason Statham, the cast was, well, a little bit old and withered. As critic Rene Rodriguez points out in his review (link below, under the "Hated It" category), "there’s nothing they can do about the lines and creases in their faces except take surgical jackhammers to them. The results are not pretty."

The Expendables 2 does introduce a bit more youth, with Liam Hemsworth and Yu Nan joining the crew, but it's quite irrelevant when the film is a distracting swirl of incomprehensible accents, tacky one-liners, grandpa heads on beefy bodies, flashy editing, 80's action movie nostalgia, noisy gunshots, and noisier explosions.

Below is a sample of 10 reviews from top critics:

Loved It

None of the most notable professional film critics loved The Expendables 2.

If you find an exemplary review, post the link in the comments section below.

Thought It Was Okay

Lou Lumenick - New York Post

Score: 2.5 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: "More fun and somewhat more coherent than its Sylvester Stallone-directed predecessor, “The Expendables 2’’ serves up a planeload of thickly sliced, well-aged beef and ham amid lots of stuff getting blown up. It’s hard not to like a movie in which Bruce Willis’ toupee-less CIA agent accuses Stallone’s ragtag band of mercenaries of engaging in 'male pattern badness.'"

Betsy Sharkey - LA Times

Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Excerpt: "Liam Hemsworth is a nice addition as the good kid who manages to pull off his Army sob story without totally embarrassing the guys, though there were a few wet eyes on screen. As to the boom boom, those sequences are splashy and high-octane enough they should satisfy the adrenaline junkies. But what gives "Expendables 2" its charm is the film's unabashed nostalgia for the genre's best B-movie moments."

Claudia Puig - USA Today

Score: 2.5 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: "Time spent as governor of California did nothing to improve Schwarzenegger's line readings. Between Belgian Van Damme's thick accent (he pronounces challenge with the accent firmly on the second syllable) and Schwarzenegger's Teutonic growl, some lines are mangled as hideously as bad guys' bodies. Fortunately, language is beside the point in this bombastic shoot-em-up extravaganza.

Neil Genzlinger - New York Times

Score: 3 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: "Just when you think the action-hero-filled “Expendables 2” has forgotten that this is at heart a comedy franchise, along comes a guy who has been out of the game for years to save the day. That familiar, weathered face belongs to Chuck Norris, and whatever Sylvester Stallone, the architect of these films, paid him to return to the big screen, it wasn’t enough. Mr. Norris arrives just as the blood baths and leaden dialogue are beginning to grow tedious, and his deadpan self-parody is pretty darn funny. More important, it gives you permission to laugh at the rest of this mindless movie, which is the only way to choke it down

Peter Travers - Rolling Stone

Score: 2 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: "The strain shows in The Expendables 2, even with flashy editing and a pounding soundtrack. Like the 2010 original, The Expendables 2 is all sound and fury signifying nothing, when at the very least it should add up to big, dumb fun. This sequel doesn't wear down your resistance; it just wears you out.

Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News

Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Excerpt: "When Stallone gathered up a mini-platoon of action stars for the first “Expendables” two years ago — along with relative young ’uns like Jason Statham and Jet Li — it had a self-deprecating kick. “2” works harder to land punches, but when it does, it provides the kind of fun it’s fan base hopes for. But expectations, and targets, are lower all around."

Peter Howell - Toronto Star

Score: 2.5 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: "The villain du jour, who actually is named Vilain, has Van Damme hoarding a big stash of weapons-grade plutonium (like there’s any other kind?) while also seriously annoying the Expendables with his dastardly deeds. It’s like watching a hog wallow at a fall fair: all mud, blood and squealing. And it’s set to the most incongruous pop soundtrack ever, with tunes The Young Rascals’ “Groovin’” making mass slaughter seem like a great way to while away a Sunday afternoon.

Hated It

Roger Moore - Chicago Tribune

Score: 1.5 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: "Of course,"The Expendables 2"is all good fun and games and recycled catchphrases. Until somebody gets hurt. A lot of somebodies. When you're filling the screen with every big-screen action star of the past 25 years — except for Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Steven Seagal — and every one of them needs his own body count, you see the problem. You run smack up against the Maximum Mayhem Threshold.

Rafer Guzman - Newsday

Score: 1.5 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: "Yeah, yeah, I get it: "The Expendables 2" is a fun-loving throwback to the gloriously bad action films of the 1980s. Here's what I don't get: Why couldn't it be a throwback to the good ones? BOTTOM LINE: Another mocking salute to dumb action flicks, but the joke's on you: It really is dumb.

Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald

Score: 1 out of 4 stars
Excerpt: "Most of these actors are extremely fit, with the bodies of muscular 30-year-olds, but there’s nothing they can do about the lines and creases in their faces except take surgical jackhammers to them. The results are not pretty. Rumor is a third Expendables movie is already in the works, with Steven Seagal, Harrison Ford and Nicolas Cage potentially joining the cast. I’d rather see a film where all these actors sit around playing poker and joshing each other than have to sit through another shoot-em-up for septuagenarians."

Wikian Reviews

Did you like Expendables 2?

The poll was created at 22:11 on August 17, 2012, and so far 9 people voted.

Write your own review in the comments below:

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