Film Review: The Expendables 2

The dialogue is questionable, the action over the top and the plot negligible. In other words, The Expendables 2 is a hell of a lot of fun if viewers leave their expectations of something grander at the door.

Barney Ross and his band of mercenaries are tasked with a straightforward job by Mr Church. The group agree to carry out the task, but when things don’t go according to plan, The Expendables find themselves in enemy territory and after revenge…

The Expendables 2 boasts more of a plot than its predecessor, but even here it is slight at best. Instead, Simon West’s film reels in viewers with its ridiculous body count and big action set pieces. The narrative functions solely as a device in order to engage in violence on grand scale.

As long as viewers know what they are letting themselves in for, The Expendables 2 should not disappoint. The film does not offer any nuance in plot or any artistic endeavour. Instead, the film seeks to entertain viewers by giving them some of the biggest action stars of the 1980s and beyond in a overblown action flick. This will not appeal to all demographics, but there is a sizeable group that will lap it up.

The dialogue in the film is so hackneyed that it is amusing. It is questionable whether this amusement is intentional or not, at least in the scenes which aim for a more serious reaction. These more emotional interludes appear perhaps not as sombre as intended by the director. The Expendables 2 works best in its action scenes; there is really no need for the reflective moments.

West’s film boasts a stellar cast. The acting is poor at times, but this adds to the charm of the film. No one seems to be taking it too seriously; this is the appeal of The Expendables 2. The line towards the end of the film, which should get a lot of laughs, emphasises this. Viewers of the first film will be pleased to know that Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzeneggar have slightly meatier roles, while Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme are welcome additions.

More satisfying than The Expendables, The Expendables 2 is mindless fun that does not take itself seriously. The latter aspect is what makes the film enjoyable.