The Expendables 2
Time Out says
Dir: Simon West (2012, 103 min). Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Liam Hemsworth, Randy Couture. Opens: Aug 16
Can Sly Stallone still get it up? That’s the dilemma of the first minutes of ‘The Expendables 2’ as his ageing mercenary flies his warplane low over water and struggles to clear a dam. Stallone is back for a second stab at recapturing the glory days of ’80s action cinema, and so are co-stars Jason Statham, Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren. There are cameos once again from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Mickey Rourke’s gone awol. Fans of bargain-bin beat-’em-ups need not worry, however, for Jean-Claude Van Damme steps in to play a villain with a stash of plutonium and Chuck Norris pops up as a ‘lone wolf’.
In some ways, this is better than the first film: it ditches tedious backstories and chats between saggy has-beens in favour of more stabbings, shootings and decapitations, which makes it a more honest proposition. There are some corny one-liners and a bit more self-mockery. But it’s still a ropey film, and – hair dye and wrinkles aside – if someone told you that the negative was found on the shelf of a studio that went bankrupt in 1991, you’d most likely believe them. Dave Calhoun