Monday, August 20, 2012

The Expendables 2, a review

Do you enjoy being punched in the face for 105 minutes? Do you enjoy watching burly men talk to each other in borderline kindergarten dialogue? Do you enjoy practicing rolling your eyes?

Well, strap it on because The Expendables 2 is out in your neighborhood. What's the story? Bad guys need to die, and we need the entire aged cast of action heroes from the 80s to do it. I do think that was the pitch to Lionsgate.

TECHNICAL

This is a step up and above the first film, which was shot in the grainy shaky came work of Rambo and followed the trend of hyper-editing each scene to the point of near nausea. Simon West (who directed Con Air) shows more aptitude for staging action scenes and allowing us to capture and follow most of it, even though the actual execution of most of those scenes is perfunctory and poorly done.

An example would be, just shoot everything. Don't set up any action beats or really pace the scene, just show endless amounts of baddies being blasted to pudding and that'll be worth your $12. And it almost is. Except when one enjoys watching stupid action movies, one would at least enjoy seeing a little something new.

In other words, just as poorly staged as most of the action flicks from the 80s.

NARRATIVE

Hah.

Okay okay. The dialogue is so hammy you could spread mustard on it and each it for lunch. I recognize that the film isn't interested in reworking its weaknesses, but there does come a limit where dialogue should just be exercised and words substituted for grunts.

Bruce Willis and Arnold share a great little sequence at the end where they go a drive-bye in a Prius. It has some great little exchanges and is the better part of the film. So make sure to catch that on youtube.

THEMES

Well. Killing for money could be seen as a slam against warmongers. Except that the Expendables kill more people than our most current war, so I don't think it works.

They are obviously pro-woman though. Which is good.

CONCLUSION

In short, I had a lot of fun. The film would make a great drinking game. At the end, I felt like I had been eating at MacDonald's, resulting in waves of nausea, a cold sweat and a greasy shiver spree. To sum up, boom bang blam argg ugh grunt.

1.5 out of 5.

--Nick

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