Is it possible to make a movie that makes less sense and has more plot holes than Sylvester Stallone's 2010 hit, The Expendables?
Why, yes, yes it is. And what else could that be but its sequel, The Expendables 2?
TE2 opened yesterday and my wife and daughter and I went to see it. This movie is so ridiculous that I am reminded of what Jesus said about critics of desert prophet John the Baptist, who were snarking about John's ragged clothes and blunt manner. To which Jesus replied, "What did you go out into the desert to see? ... A man dressed in fine clothes?" (Mt. 11.8)
So when you go see TE2, remember this question: What are you going to the theater to see? Actors who deserve Oscars? Of course not.
That being said, the most entertaining thing about TE2 is the screenplay's gentle self mockery of the actors' established onscreen characters. In fact, absent this the movie would be boring despite the millions of bullets fired.
TE2 has more movie action heroes than its predecessor, including, for example, Chuck Norris, who, after single-handedly annihilating an entire Albanian armored regiment (I exaggerate a little) has this conversation with Rocky Balboa or Rambo, or whomever Stallone is playing this time:
Stallone: I thought you were dead. I heard that you got bitten by a King Cobra.
Norris: Yes, I was bitten by a King Cobra. After five days of enduring excruciating agony, the cobra died.
This is not a new joke on the long list of Chuck Norris tough guy jokes that have been going around for years. I have heard it before, but the placement and delivery in TE2 is too good not to laugh.
Other such lines without context, and won't need to identify the speaker:
"I'll be back."
"Yippee yo kai-a."
The movie has no story line to speak of, is not the slightest concerned about the gaping gaps in the narrative or the technical impossibilities of most of the stunts. So what? This movie does one thing: create cinematic opportunities for as much gunfire and mayhem as possible. Don't worry that the Expendables never miss and the baddies never hit. The action is so over the top that its unreality and impossibility become part of the fun. Even so, TE2 is less splattery than the first, and that is all to the good, too.
Needless to say, the good guys win in the end and all survive intact. Then they fly off to await their next adventure. The tagline: After seeing his newly-acquired but ancient airplane to replace the one he crashed, Stallone exclaims, "It's a museum piece!"
And Arnold answers, "We all are."
Overall, I give The Expendables 2 7.5 out of 10 Rambos.
PS- we also saw the trailer for next year's Arnold action flick, The Last Stand, in which Arnold plays a small-town, Western sheriff defending his town against an invading drug cartel. In other words, Home Alone with guns.
|"How do you feel, Sheriff?"|