Let’s be clear, this movie was made for a specific audience, a specific group of people, and a demographic that will understand and appreciate exactly what the intent of this film was supposed to be, not everyone is going to enjoy this darling. The Expendables 2 was everything most of us action junkies wanted the first to be. It was an unapologetic piece of action porn for us fans that have loved and adored these heroes for decades.
Make no mistake, the plot is outlandish and the heroes over the top, but the suspension of disbelief begins with you wanting to believe. The story begins with a new face, my sparkly eyed handsome hero Chris Hemsworth’s sparkly eyed brother Liam. As we’ve learned in past posts of mine, sparkly eyes allow for many special powers, in Liam’s case the ability to be an expert sniper. There was a ton of action immediately and the promise of much more to come. It didn’t falsely advertise, it was straight to the point, with continually improbable scenarios, mindless at times, and absolutely glorious in the purity of its intentions. Now that I’ve had my tangent you can enjoy my ten based facts to prove how right I am.
10. DOLPH DOES SOME WORK
My obsession with Dolph Lundgren is no secret. I have a soft spot for the beast of a man, and I can appreciate that he’s always willing to play the villain as well as the hero. He returns as a hero in this sequel, and let me hand it to him, his comic timing was surprising. The ridiculous twis that he was some kind of genius was so far fetched and hilarious it was close to one of the funniest parts of the movie. I was really happy Sly had him come back.
9. CREWS AND COUTURE
Terry Crews and Randy Couture are kinda the odd men out in this group of recognizable bad asses, and in the last movie were little more than eye candy that had a few brief moments of glory. While they do continue to play the thankless roles of the back round guys, they had some better parts, a few good lines, and defined their parts a bit more in this one. It was refreshing to see them do some work instead of just being another brutish body or guy blowing shit up, and trust me, shit blows up a lot.
8. JET LI GOES NINJA
Some of the characters aren’t perhaps as involved as they previously were in the first film, and some have bigger roles. Jet Li’s is smaller, but there is a scene early on where he brings down the mother trucking house, and reminds us why this little guy is one bad mother fucker. Age has not affected his talents, nor his charisma which you don’t get to see as much in his other films. I love my Jet Li.
7. JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME AS THE VILLAIN
JCVD really has been the brunt of jokes and jests for the past several years and his return to the big screen was not without agitation, and perhaps that’s why he got to delve into the role as the bad guy. Dark bags and the stress the past decade has taken it’s toll, but the easy fix of dark sunglasses hid it well enough and I gotta say he was a ton of fun as the big bad. He was ridiculous, but he really owned the role as villain. I miss you JCVD, has been or no, I love me some Bloodsport, Universal Soldier, and Lionheart.
6. ONE LINERS
E2 is packed full of cheesy, repetitive lines uttered before in our favorite films featuring them. Catchphrases we’ve all heard a million times were tossed around with tongue in cheek regard, but the real joy was seeing these guys having fun taking jests at themselves. It was clear the affection was made for the affection of their audience and not out of laziness or lack of creativity because you can say what you want about Sly, but the guy knows how to write a good script. This simplistic route was for us.
5. CHUCK NORRIS AS THE LONE WOLF
I dig Chuck Norris, I always have. I even love the Sidekicks Chuck Norris. I have vast appreciation for Chuck Norrisisms, t-shirts, posters, anything that exploits the myth of his greatness. Stallone is a cool enough dude to allow that myth translate into his small but unforgettable moments in this flick. I knew it was coming and it was the first moment I stood up and clapped.
4. JASON STATHAM BRINGS A KNIFE TO THE FIGHT
His character Lee Christmas is a little more quiet this time around and his storyline is not really the main attraction, but that doesn’t mean his very tough and dangerous skill set wasn’t utilized. We are privy to a brief preview early on which left me kind of disappointed, but by the end there is an epic fight where there is a knife involved that had me yelling as though I were at a sporting event. Let us not forget, gold old Turkish here, has been the main action hero of this past decade and give him his respect. He’s earned it.
3. LESS PLOT MORE BULLETS
By no means am I saying I disliked the first Expendables but there was far too great an attempt at some greater plot about the characters, their motivations, and the story itself felt more Rambo than a ridiculous action movie involving some of the greatest action heroes of all time. E2 never tried to make the innocuous attempt at a plot. Bad guy was out to steal stuff, good guys had to stop them. Things went boom. Banter in between. More boom. Thanks Sly.
2. JCVD vs. SLY
When we talk about shit getting real, (or at least when I do) it’s moments like these. There is the obvious and inevitable final showdown between Sly and his epic buffness and Jean Claude and the moves we whom have loved him for years know he’s talented for. And no it doesn’t involve the splits or show his naked rear end off. The climax is totally worthy of our love and affection. Spin kick Jean Claude, spin kick! I salute you.
1. STALLONE, ARNIE, AND WILLIS KILLING BAD GUYS
There is one great moment that brought tears of happiness to my eyes and brought me to my feet cheering like one of those girl with pom poms at sporting events, and that was the singular moment when Arnie, Sly, and Brucie fucked some shit up. Arnie with a cigar and some big ass gun, Brucie with witty one liners, and Sly a brick of a man still in insane shape making things blow up. Bullets of course fleeing near them but never connecting. The humor, the homage to these guys epic glory, and how much some of us (BEING ME) loved every damn second of it. These were the hero’s of my childhood and that moment was something that I never imagined cinema could deliver. Best line ever…….”Haven’t you been back enough? I’ll be back.” I nearly peed world. Honestly, any three of these men could be deemed the greatest action hero ever, and we have been given the gift of watching them stand in a line a shoot guns at people together.
Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.