What I'm Watching: Expendables 2
Yipee kai yay!
A bit of a break from our usual fare, but this movie has a high enough body count to justify it, as far as I'm concerned. And sharing my varied tastes is always good.
Anyone who saw my thoughts on the first Expendables saw that I liked it, but had a few problems that only gave it some minor dings. The sequel answered almost every single one of those problems, and had more fun stuff besides that to make this an even better movie, IMO.
This is still a giant, honking testosterone fest of guns, knives, and shit blowing up. The plot is admittedly light, and serving to get us from point A to explosion B, but it is a lot tighter than the first movie. One of the problems I had with the first movie is a lack of character. Now, I wasn't *expecting* such things in this sort of movie. That is not what Expendables is about. But still, it really felt lacking at times. Mickey Rourke's speech to Stallone at one point was a highlight, and I longed for more of that. This movie gave us more of those quieter, more philosophical moments, and it does not harm the sequel in the least. In fact, it gives this movie that much needed heart, and makes it just a little bit more than Shit Blows Up: Now It's Personal.
Another complaint was that Willis and Schwarzenegger had almost nothing to do in the first movie, and that was such a shame with how much they were hyped. They get much more to do in the sequel, are much more important to the plot, and yes, again, the movie is better for it. The scene with them in the airport is FUCKING AMAZING.
Heck, that scene is just awesome, period, on all counts. It's the scene you WANT to see in this sort of movie. Crazy action, amazing shit going on in every second, and all the references you wish they would make. That scene alone is worth the price of admission.
My last big problem was that a lot of the action seemed to go by so fast, we didn't really have a chance to savour it. Again, they fix that. We really get some GOOD fights, where everyone has their moments, and it is all clear, solid, and packed. I felt Jet Li was given short shrift in the first movie, not really getting to showcase himself much, and I'm not sure if this is an accurate assessment, because I haven't rewatched the first in awhile, but in his one brieft scene, he does more, and showcases his own style WAY better than he did in the entire first movie, so at least he got sent off appropriately.
The new additions to the cast are also welcome. Van Damne is *awesome* as the villain. Named Vilain. Seriously. That is so crazy. And I love it for it's ballsy stupidity. But he's threatening, he's cunning, and he fits perfectly with these guys. Of course he does, really.
And holy shit. CHUCK NORRIS FACT. That was such an awesome bit to put in the movie. Norris was a fun addition, although he did become a little bit of a Chuck Ex Machina. But then, he would, wouldn't he?
Nan Yu as Maggie really fit in well with the crew too. She didn't get to do quite as much as I would have liked, but she held her own with what she was given. Hopefully in a third installment, she gets some more moments to shine. Anyone who bitched about this movie adding a female to the mercenaries needs to shut the hell up.
But then they can go over and bitch about how criminally wasted Charisma Carpenter was in this movie. Sigh. Although, leaving out the personal, relationshippy moments that were in the original also likely helped things out. Still, it would likely have been better to leave her out entirely, even if the henpecking phone calls were amusing, if quickly dropped. A running gag that didn't make it around the first curve, I guess?
This really was the movie I wished the first one had been, in almost every way. It took everything that worked from the first movie, made it better, and got rid of the stuff that didn't, or fixed it up. It doesn't waste time redoing scenes from the first movie that people loved, just to do them again and try and top them, either. That is the curse of many action sequels, and they thankfully stayed far away from that trap.
If you liked the first one, you should LOVE this one. If you loved the first one, this one will probably blow your mind. If you didn't like the first one, well...hard to say. This one might be worse or just as bad to you. But it might also fix the problems you had, and maybe this is the movie you wanted to see all along. I'd say it's at least worth checking out, if you didn't like the first, but liked the idea.
Seriously fun, and not serious at all. I am finding it difficult to find fault, outside of the usual tropes of the genre they are deliberately playing with anyways, so those are supposed to be there.