Expendables 2

Movie Poster

Once upon a time there was a group of filmmakers that did something special at the time. They blew stuff up! Genius! Specially in the 80s. Coming out of the decade-long homage to dialogue that was the 70s (translation: they had no money for effects in the 70s, so they had to use language; who knew?!) And hence the invention of the summer blockbuster. Cut to the dawn of the 21st century. Where, at this point, we have seen so many things, people, and/or aliens, get blown to bits in such a variety of both creative and absurdly implausible ways that audiences actually forget that the actors in a dramatic endeavor are supposed to get hired for their skill to convince you that they are someone else, not because they look awesome blasting everything in sigh to smithereens. Plus, somehow, now they all look far too sexy to kill anyone. There's a long-forgotten photo shoot they all escaped from apparently. In any case and back to my point. My apologies. I'm getting lost just out of the sheer stupidity that seems to be happening in cinema lately. On to Expendables 2... I'll clue you in on something blatantly obvious about the title of the "Expendable" series. The title. It means, and I quote: 'Designed to be used only once and then abandoned or destroyed.' ... Are you guys out there catching on yet? ... First of all there is a sequel, and second, they are all there, plus a few extra guys and a girl on top of that... Soooo? Who or what was actually expendable? I mean, I get that we are supposed to be dumb and jump for joy every change crap gets shot to tears, but, if we look closely at this film, we must be the dumbest people around! Specially because the movies is holding on the top weekend spot for the second week in a row and there are plans to make a second. I should probably tell you a bit of what actually goes on in this madness of semi-comedic testosterone. I have to warn you, there are some spoilers ahead. The film opens with such an insane action scene that it's impossible not to envision these guys as the strongest military force on the surface of this planet-and probably beyond, but the aliens haven't weighed in yet. Let's face it, when you are this good, any government would hire you at top dollar and you wouldn't have to live in hiding. Continuing on with what's presented on the first ten minutes of the picture. Let's point out a few fun details. For example, how these "ex-military geniuses" dress in no way like any military force anyone has ever seen. Or the completely impractical, post-apocalyptic design of their custom-made vehicles. And how about their well thought-out military intelligent strategy to rescue someone with a gun to their head by driving violently through wall after wall. Sure, why not. I guess that would never put a subject at risk. To make it even funnier, the enemy just stands there waiting to get shot! As if our "experts" are not being blatantly loud enough! ... Good comedy from the start. Look, this is not the 80s. When simply blowing a cute little car would draw audiences to theaters en mass. This is 2012, where carefully crafted military based video games sit in the consoles of almost every member of your potential audience. You have to treat us as if we were only partially stupid, not flat out dumb. Any 14 year old with a copy of MW3 at home can do this better... Twice... While holding ice cream and texting their 16 year old girlfriend... That was meant for the marketing guys at the studio. 'You guys listening?' This would probably be a good spot to stop, but since I'm having so much fun, I'll keep going. A personal peeve was the "appearances" of celebrities. Starting with Jet Li. For the record. I love the guy. I think "Hero" is one of the coolest movies around. However, even though he is in every single piece of marketing for this film, he is literally in it for less than ten minutes total screen time (go for it, clock it.) He says a couple of cliché lines and then drops off the plane. Just like that. The funny thing is I was watching this happen and I said to myself. Hey! Look, that's how the studio drops a couple million dollars down the drain. Off it goes. Byyyyyye! Another good one is Chuck Norris. Or the "Lone Wolf" as they call him. A name that I find very appropriate since he's in the movie even less than Jet Li. But at least Mr. Li had some kind of believable involvement in the plot,if you can fathom that... Basically there is a scene where everyone of our guys is trapped by an overwhelming force, and I mean, so large that they are going down. There is even a tank bearing down on them. No way, no how they survive... Until Mr. Norris arrives... In a split second, literally, everyone is machine gunned down and the tank blows up. Kaputs! Like that. As if they weren't even there... Not bad for a guy you can catch on TV after 2 am hustling exercise equipment. Wow... Wait. It gets funnier... After they establish that he is there as if appeared out of thin air and that his character works alone, guess what? He reappears in the end in the crowd scene to shoot some more with the group! And they actually mention to him that he's supposed to only do gigs on his own, to which he responds that he's changed his mind or some same sh*t... I did say "wow" earlier, right? Finally, Mr Jean-Claude Van Damme. He actually looks pretty cool here. You gotta give him that. The thing is he spends most of the movie sitting down in a truck and walking back and forth to, you guessed it, the truck... There is that final scene with Stallone. Where they fight. Or I should say, where they frame Jean-Claude very nicely as he delivers his signature poetic kicks. A la one, a la two, a la... Stallone stabs him...and Jean-Claude pretty much lets him... Let's get something straight for the writers of this scene: We have seen JC kick a seriously long list of ass for decades. Van Damme could eat Stallone for breakfast while blind folded and brushing his hair. I get it that he is Rocky, but this is not a boxing ring, and we are talking about the original deal. The man behind Blood Sport, baby. Blood Sport! One more. For those of you that for some reason won't stop reading. Do you know how the bad guys take the valuable cargo from Stallone? They put a gun to one of his guys and ask for the stuff. I'm not kidding. And then, they shoot the guy any ways. As if we didn't know it was coming as it always does... Two things I have to say about that. Let the guy get shot. After all the movie is called EXPENDABLES. Second, don't make your heroes defeat an entire national army equipped with helicopters, speed boats, cannons, and endless troops, if you later intend to make us believe they are just gonna hand out the precious cargo... Ridiculous. Oh! I almost forgot! Arnold, we love the "I'll be back" line, which was being repeated five times by my count, but hey! Most of the young target audience doesn't even know what the hell you are talking about... Let's use that political speech-writing intelligence you gained as governor and try a fresh one... I'm just saying. Good grief! That was long. Don't get me wrong, the worst part of this is that, in some sort of sadistic way, I liked it. I just hoped for more. Film writing and action scene choreography has come such a distance. There has to be a better way to deliver a timeless product. It is being done often enough without even bringing back the grandparents of the current movie starts as the action line up. There is a reason why history doesn't advance in reverse. Let it go, man. We get it. You are all still just as cool as you were in 80s.