Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Expendables 2 (2012)

Director: Simon West (1)

Cast: Sylvester Stallone (2), Jason Statham (3), Jet Li (4), Dolph Lundgren (5), Chuck Norris (6), Jean-Claude Van Damme (7), Bruce Willis (8), Arnold Schwarzenegger (9), Randy Couture (10), Terry Crews (11), Liam Hemsworth (12), and Yu Nan (13)

My favourite dialogue – 

Trench: I’m out of ammo. I’ll be back.
Church: You’ve been back enough. I’ll be back!

Barney: I heard you got bitten by a king cobra.

Booker: Yeah, but after several days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.

Did you know? - Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren graduated with a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney, finishing with the highest results in his class. During his time in Sydney, he earned a living as a bouncer in a nightclub at the infamous King’s Cross. He was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983. However, while preparing for the move to Boston, he was spotted in the nightclub he worked at in Sydney and was hired by Grace Jones as a bodyguard. He fell in love with Jones and their relationship developed dramatically, moving with her to New York City.

To fully enjoy The Expendables 2, one, you must leave logic outside the cinema doors, two, know your classic action movies well, three, read up about the actors in the film - briefly at least, wikipedia would do just fine, and most importantly, you must have a good sense of humor. Watching the first movie The Expendables is not a must, but highly suggested. That way, you will get a better feel of the recurring actors. 

I am not often a fan of action movies and don't wait for one to be released and watch it just when it opens in the cinema. But The Expendables 2 is different. I loved the first film and I was literally counting down the days to the opening of the film. And I loved it! 

I think this is a film you either love or hate, there are no in betweens. I watch a lot of films, I only draw the line at horror movies, but other than those, I pretty much watch anything that interests me. I think it is because I have watched quite a number of the old classic action movies that I can appreciate the dialogue in The Expendables 2

When Sylvester Stallone did the first film The Expendables, it was partly because he wanted it to be a vehicle for some actors to boost their careers. And it is because of this understanding that I am able to appreciate and understand the throwbacks to the heydays of action films and success these old birds experienced. Its a special members only club that is well casted. Its not so much that these actors have lost their touch or have become old news, but rather that there isn't a good film that they would fit in well without looking like they're trying too hard. In The Expendables 2, they are able to poke fun at their past and laugh at themselves. The Expendables 2 is a homage to the classics and to their old films. 

How could you not find Arnold Schwarzenegger saying "I'm back!" funny? I burst out laughing so hard when cast mate Terry Crews, playing Hale Caesar, refers to his playing the Terminator and says to him "If I don’t get this back, your ass is terminated". If you think the crack shots at their action hero past in the trailer is all that the film has, well, be prepared for more. 

The two short bits of dialogue I absolutely love is really just two of my ultimate favourites. There are more but if I put them all in this whole review would be too much of a spoiler. But the first piece of dialogue really says it all. A respectful homage to these actor's career-making films and lines and how you will never get sick of the classics. Given the right film, these stars can still shine bright. And in my opinion, The Expendables 2 is the right film for them.

Story. While the plot is predictable, oftentimes bordering on cheesy and really not very creative, but then I think to myself, what is original these days anyway. That is why you must go into The Expendables 2 with the right mindset. It will have loopholes and flaws in the plot, but you're not there for the plot really anyway, you're there to watch these old birds kick some serious ass and deliver awesome one liners or short spurts of dialogue that floor you and have you ROTFL - Rolling On The Floor Laughing. 

Revenge for their fallen brethren is always a good reason to kick butt. And while I have a few issues as to who should have lived and died, I have to agree with my friend's reasoning that it had to happen that way because he was the only team member who would have made the loss feel frustrating and worth avenging. I went into the film thinking I knew who would be that fallen brother and let's just say I was surprised. And the fact that I was surprised is surprising in itself. You see I had speculated A LOT as to which of the expendables would die so I had a vested interest in finally knowing who it was. 

I always go into an action film not expecting much from the actors in terms of the acting, but I have to say that I was pretty impressed by the acting, the action, and was floored by the one liners. I first noticed Liam Hemsworth in The Last Song, then paid close attention to his performance in The Hunger Games, and now watching him in The Expendables 2, I think he did a really decent job. I wouldn't say his acting is bad, good, or improving, just that I enjoy watching his growth as an actor on the big screen. He is someone I've not written off but definitely taken notice of. The weakest link in terms of the acting is unfortunately the only lady in the team Yu Nan. I would have loved to see Michelle Yeoh play the part of Maggie! After all, she is somewhat of an action star. =) My second choice would have been Maggie Q or Lucy Liu. My favourite in the film would have to be Mr. Terminator and Chuck Norris' Booker. They really have some of the best lines in the film. 

(1) Simon West has directed films like Con Air (1997), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001),  and When A Stranger Calls (2006).

(2) Sylvester Stallone has acted in films like Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rocky IV (1985), Rambo III (1988), Rocky V (1990), Demolition Man (1993), Judge Dredd (1995), Daylight (1996), Driven (2001), Taxi 3 (2003), Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003), Rocky Balboa (2006), Rambo (2008),  The Expendables (2010), and Zookeeper (2011).

(3) Jason Statham has acted in films like Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000), The One (2001), The Transporter (2002), The Italian Job (2003), Collateral (2004), Cellular (2004), Transporter 2 (2005), The Pink Panther (2006), Crank (2006),  Transporter 3 (2008), The Expendables (2010), and Safe (2012). 

(4) Jet Li has acted in films like Shaolin Temple 少林寺 (1982), Once Upon A Time In China 黃飛鴻 (1991), Once Upon A Time In China II 黃飛鴻之二男兒當自 (1992), Swordsman II 笑傲江湖之東方不敗 (1992), Fong Sai Yuk 方世玉 (1993), Fong Sai Yuk II 方世玉續集 (1993), Last Hero In China 黃飛鴻之鐵雞斗蜈蚣 (1993), Once Upon A Time In China III 黃飛鴻之三:獅王争霸 (1993), Black Mask 黑俠 (1996), Once Upon A Time In China And America 黃飛鴻之西域雄獅 (1997), Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), Romeo Must Die (2000), The One (2001), Kiss Of The Dragon (2001),  Hero 英雄 (2002), Cradle 2 The Grave (2003), Unleashed (2005), Fearless (2006), The Warlords 投名狀 (2007), The Forbidden Kingdom (2008), The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor (2008), Ocean Heaven 海洋天堂 (2010), The Expendables (2010), The Sorcerer And The White Snake 白蛇傳之法海 (2011), and Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate 龍門飛甲 (2011).

(5) Dolph Lundgren has acted in films like A View To Kill (1985), Rocky IV (1985), Masters Of The Universe (1987), The Punisher (1989), Universal Soldier (1992), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009), The Expendables (2010), Icarus (2010),  and Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning (2012).

(6) Chuck Norris has acted in films like Good Guys Wear Black (1978), Lone Wold McQuade (1983), Top Dog (1995), and DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004). 

(7) Jean-Claude Van Damme has acted in films like Universal Soldier (1992), Last Action Hero (1993), Hard Target (1993), Timecop (1994), Street Fighter (1994), Universal Soldier: The Return (1999), Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009), and Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning (2012). He has also voiced the character of Master Croc in the animation Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011).

(8) Bruce Willis has acted in films like Die Hard (1988), Die Hard 2 (1990), Death Becomes Her (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995), Twelve Monkeys (1995), Last Man Standing (1996), The Fifth Element (1997), Armageddon (1998), The Sixth Sense (1999), The Story Of Us (1999), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Disney's The Kid (2000), Hart's War (2002), The Whole Ten Yards (2004),  Ocena's Twelve (2004), Sin City (2005), Fast Food Nation (2006), Lucky Number Slevin (2006), Perfect Stranger (2007), Nancy Drew (2007), Live Free Or Die Hard (2007), The Expendables (2010), and Looper (2012). He has also voiced the character of RJ in the animation Over The Hedge (2006).

(9) Arnold Schwarzenegger has acted in films like Conan The Barbarian (1982), Conan The Destroyer (1984), The Terminator (1984), Red Sonja (1985), Predator (1987), Twins (1988), Total Recall (1990), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), Last Action Hero (1993), True Lies (1994), Junior (1994), Eraser (1996), Jingle All The Way (1996), Batman And Robin (1997), End Of Days (1999), The 6th Day (2000), Collateral Damage (2002), Around The World In 80 Days (2004), and The Expendables (2010). 

(10) Randy Couture has acted in films like Cradle 2 The Grave (2003), Big Stan (2007), The Scorpion King 2: Rise Of A Warrior (2008), The Expendables (2010), and Geezers! (2012).

(11) Terry Crews has acted in films like The 6th Day (2000), Training Day (2001), Serving Sara (2002), Starsky & Hutch (2004), White Chicks (2004), The Longest Yard (2005), Balls Of Fury (2007), Street Kings (2008), Get Smart (2008), Terinator Salvation (2009), The Expendables (2010), and Bridesmaids (2011).

(12) Liam Hemsworth has acted in films like The Last Song (2010), The Hunger Games (2012), Love And Honor (2012), Empire State (2013), Paranoia (2013) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).

(13) Yu Nan has acted in the film Speed Racer (2008).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… The Expendables 2 makes you feel like a member of the special boys club but the good thing is you're just there to tag along for the ride while they do all the work. It works because you feel like you've been invited to a special preview into the lives of these old action heroes even though its exaggerated and totally blown out of proportion. If they can laugh at themselves, why can't you? You never really tire of the classics. So show a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T, let your hair down, and just have fun. They obviously are, why shouldn't you too. (4.5 of 5)

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