Tuesday Aug 21 2012
‘The Expendables 2’ expendable
By: Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
“The Expendables 2” Directed by Simon West Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Bruce Willis Rating: Two out of five stars ‘The Expendables 2’ expendable By Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger With all of the aging stars on display, “The Expendables 2” feels more like a class reunion if the school’s curriculum included flexing muscles and throwing grenades. Sylvester Stallone returns as Barney Ross who, along with his gang of meat-slab mercenaries, must complete a mission to avenge a fallen comrade. “The Expendables 2” corrects many mistakes from the first film, focusing less on a snore-inducing story and allowing the explosions to speak for themselves. The problem is that the fireworks still aren’t all that compelling. After a rousing opening scene that traverses land, water and air, the rest of the film feels like one long gunfight in which geriatric-action heroes make tough-guy faces while holding machine guns. The one legitimate action star, Jason Statham, isn’t given anything challenging to do, unless you count feigning chemistry with his co-star, Stallone. It comes off like camaraderie in the form of fist bumps and strained jokes. The rest of the crew doesn’t fare any better. It seems like many of the players were cast on fading name-recognition or their ability to ingest buckets of creatine. Dolph Lundgren’s acting tip was “lobotomy” and Randy Couture was kept around only for another cauliflower ear joke. “The Expendables 2” could learn something from a movie such as “Fast Five.” That film also featured a super-group cast that got together for an action film, which was actually entertaining because it embraced the absurd and focused on a well-crafted spectacle. “The Expendables 2” relies too heavily on eye-rolling one-liners and its fake bullet budget. It takes every ingredient available and just dumps them haphazardly into one big boiling pot. When Stallone and company return for “The Expendables 3” (because torture is a fetish), they should focus on maximizing talents and creating something memorable. The only point worth remembering about this series so far is how much better the stars used to be. Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer.