Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Expendables 2 DVD Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Written By Sylvester Stallone, Richard Wenk, Ken Kaufman and David Agosto
Directed By Simon West

A Millennium Films, Nu Image Films Production

Genre
Action

Cast

Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross
Jason Statham as Lee Christmas
Jet Li as Yin Yang
Dolph Lundgren as Gunnar Jensen
Chuck Norris as Booker
Jean-Claude Van Damme as Vilain
Bruce Willis as Church
Arnold Swarzenegger as Trench
Terry Crews as Hale Caesar
Randy Couture as Toll Road
Liam Hemsworth as Billy  The Kid
Scott Adkins as Hector
Nan Yu as Maggie

Certificate 15

Synopsis

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) - with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard - are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job.

The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them.

Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time - six pounds of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that's nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother.

That is done the Expendables way....

Special Features
  • Audio Commentary With Director, Simon West
  • Gods of War:  Assembling Earth's Mightiest Anti-Heroes
  • On The Assault:  The Real-Life Weaponry of The Expendables
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel

Review

I'm an 80's action movie fan in a big way.  Give me a movie with big guns,  explosions and tons of fight scenes and I'm a happy movie watcher so in theory I think this movie should have rocked right?

Well yes and no.

I knew exactly what to expect with this movie in all honesty.  It wasn't going to be Shakespeare or anything like that yet I came away from it feeling a bit disappointed as if something was missing.

That's a strange feeling to come away with considering that all the ingredients are there for this to be a fantastic action movie for me.  We have explosions galore, fights everywhere, guns by the bucket load and some of the biggest names of the 1980's such as Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris and even Arnie himself!  Yet for some reason, it just doesn't gel.

For me, it was the team that suffered the most from the influx of new names.  We have Jet Li appearing for all of ten minutes, Liam Hemsworth, yes he's Thor's brother, as the new member of the team with a lame excuse for a back story and the characters played by Terry Crews and Randy Couture are short changed big time.  They do get a couple of good lines here and there but they're other wise surplus to requirements.  They seem to just be there to make up the numbers but I left the movie wanting to know more about them.

Another thing that bugged me was the murder twist.  Even before seeing the movie, when I read the synopsis it was blindingly obvious who was going to be the one to 'bite the bullet' so to speak.  When it happened, not only was there no emotional attachment to the character but there was a 'oh what a surprise' feeling to the death itself and that's kind of a shame considering it's the kick off point for their revenge.

On the other hand there are some great moments too.  The bitching and in-jokes between the characters is absolutely hilarious.  The way they kept stealing each others lines but saying them as a piss take really made me laugh as a child of the 80's action era.  The action scenes were big, bold and bombastic in a massive way but what do we expect when we have Simon West as the director?

However, it's the two evil villains that rule the movie for me yet there is a slight flaw there though.  While the villains have a great beginning and then when their plan kicks off it's made to feel major, there seemed to be hardly any mention of them during the middle part of the movie itself.  Also the ending fight came across as a little bit anti-climactic and that's a shame considering the two people involved.

It was the performances by Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins as Vilain and Hector that raised the characters above those flaws.  Van Damme and Adkins appear to be having the time of their life as the evil duo of the movie and really ramp up their personalities.  Van Damme goes for the campy, mustache twirling style baddie that really sticks in with the 80's action movie vibe and really made the movie his own with his performance.  It was just a shame that the end battle with Stallone just seemed a little bit off but other than that, I most definitely think this is Van Damme's movie.  Adkins as Hector just exudes evil a-hole during the movie.  The reactions between his character and Lee Christmas, played by Jason Statham, actually came across as they legit hated each other.  Their fight near the end of the movie really had a 'big time' feel to it and I feel that it was a much better one than the ending one between Stallone and Van Damme.

All in all, while I really enjoyed the movie itself and it is the sort of loud and bloody movie that I loved in the 80's, I couldn't help but feel a little bit disappointed.   It's not a bad movie in the slightest, it's funny and fast paced as well as exciting yet it felt like there was just something missing.  It's still well worth picking up though, especially if you're a fan of movies starring the legends of the 80's action era such as Swarzenegger, Stallone, Willis and Norris.

Movie 3.5/5
Picture 4/5
Sound 4.5/5
Special Features 3.5/5
Overall 15.5/20

The Expendables 2 (2012) on IMDb 
 

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