Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Paragraph Movie Reviews: The Expendables 2

If you don't have plans to see this movie, you can check the spoilers here and then come back.

This movie gave me exactly what I wanted from it and I left the theater a happy man having gotten my money's worth and then some. I enjoyed this sequel more than the original, but I do have to chock a lot of that up to the environment in and circumstances under which I experienced it; I saw the first Expendables on DVD at my apartment more or less by myself (Megan was in the room, but not paying attention), whereas I went to the theater with friends (and a more attentive Megan) to see this one alongside a raucous crowd. Expendables 2 is absolutely the kind of movie you have to see on the big screen and with people cheering, laughing and cringing around you to truly appreciate. As to why I dug it, if these actors took the script or the movie too seriously, it would be a train wreck, but they're completely self aware as they rifle off the corniest cliches ever and barrel through absurd action scenes, having a ball and also working their asses off physically. The humor shines through whether it's because the guy delivering the line has serious comedic chops (Jason Statham, Terry Crews) or is willing to have fun with their own image (Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sly Stallone himself). The action scenes and production elements are poetry, choreographed and executed better than just about any modern shoot 'em up or fight flick I can think of because everybody behind and front of the camera knows exactly what they're doing. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays the douchiest villain of all-time and makes you wonder how he didn't get cast as the bad guy his whole career. Liam Hemsworth, who everybody (myself included) figured wouldn't fit in at all has a very specific role to play and does it to perfection. I'm seriously just in respectful awe at the ability of Stallone and his crew to design a script and film so perfectly constructed to excite and entertain in a perfect rhythm so that every time you catch your breath, Chuck Norris shows up or Arnold busts through a wall. My only complain: needed more Jet Li! Can't wait for the third installment.