Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select




FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Jason Statham
Mickey Rourke
Jet Li
Dolph Lundgren
Terry Crews
Randy Couture
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Chuck Norris
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Bruce Willis
Sylvester Stallone
Liam Hemsworth.
Directors
Simon West.
Screenwriters
Richard Wenk
Sylvester Stallone.
Running Time
103 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar
3 Star Empire Rating
Life Of Crime
3 Star Empire Rating
Internet's Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz, The
4 Star Empire Rating
A Walk Among The Tombstones
4 Star Empire Rating
Wish I Was Here
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

The Expendables 2
The Brawn Legacy


submit to reddit


Plot
Having halved the population of Nepal during a successful sortie, Barney Ross (Stallone) and crew are ready for a break. But CIA wonk Church (Willis) has new orders, which will force them to go face-to-foot with the Keyser Soze of kickboxing, Jean Vilain (Van Damme).


Review
The Expendables 2
Browse more images »
The Expendables 2 — a film which could have been titled Arsekickers Assemble — should have made Marvel’s team-up look as tough as a lollipop ladies’ book circle. Starring as many kettlebell-heaving action gods as they could cram on the poster, it boasts fight sequences with Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck fuckin’ Norris — all that’s missing is Steven Seagal as a merc called Mince Shrapnel. In the havoc department, meanwhile, the jacked-up budget allows for crashing planes, leaping jet skis, tanks and a Virtua Cop bodycount. Everything you need for a fist-pumping Friday night, right? Well, no.

As with the original, the movie’s tone lurches between genre-lampooning humour and earnest drama. Neither is done well. One of the ‘serious’ story strands involves a new member of the team (Liam Hemsworth, filmed almost entirely in Doe-Eye-Vision), whose special skill is telling boring stories about how bad war is. He’s adamant that he’s only going to do one last job. Hmm…

There’s also a new romantic interest for Stallone, in the shape of Maggie (Nan Yu), who replaces a departing Jet Li, suggesting The Expendables have a one-in/one-out policy for Chinese people. Each time the pair flirt (“I like Italian,” she purrs during a weird conversation about food, despite the fact there’s no indication Barney Ross is Italian), the film grinds to a hideous halt.

The comedy is, on the whole, equally painful. It’s fairly funny when Terry Crews hands Schwarzenegger his gun near the start and says, “If I don’t get this back, you’re terminated.” Or when Chuck Norris hoves into view, like Ned Flanders with a Heckler & Koch, and relates a Chuck Norris Fact AS DIALOGUE. Less so 90 minutes on, with the cast still relentlessly referencing their glory days. “You’ve been back enough. I’ll be back,” Willis squints at one point. “Yippee-ki-yay,” comes Arnie’s grinning retort. It’s like being forced to attend a Planet Hollywood boardroom meeting after a great quarter.

More unforgivably, it fails to mint iconic dialogue and carnage of its own. Stunt gags are yoinked from the likes of Die Hard 4.0, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade and The Losers, while there’s little of the preposterous, colourful action that characterised director Simon West’s Con Air. Instead it’s all a bit drab and dreary.

There are high points, like Jean-Claude Van Damme’s grandstanding, plutonium-crazed baddie, the return of Dolph Lundgren’s action-troll Gunnar Jensen, and screwy lines like, “We keep it light until it’s time to go dark, and then we get pitch-black.” But mostly it’s a morass of dodgy plotting, indifferent brutality and limp character-work. It’s bargain-bin bouillabaisse.


Verdict
A huge, bulging disappointment.


Reviewed by Nick de Semlyen

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Expendables 2
Empire Star Rating

Oh dear

I know its a little late but I just watched this film and I'm so glad I didn't waste any money doing it, I do love a good action film, Rambo First Blood being an absolute classic, this film was not however anywhere near this league. I think they got the stars schedules and then wrote the script around them. The first film was actually pretty good, this one was absolute drivel, Liam Neeson please don't touch this franchise with a barge pole. If I coud give zero stars I woud, utter s****. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Posty Matt at 23:12, 24 August 2013 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Wasn't that kind of the point? ... More

Posted by chris kilby at 23:59, 25 February 2013 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

not as good as the 1st movie. overblown action covering a thin plot. ... More

Posted by moviebuff73 at 22:32, 25 February 2013 | Report This Post


Terrible!

Quite simply the biggest bag of sh*t my poor eyes have ever laid witness to! As well as putting all the greatest action heroes together, they've also put a collection of the worst actors in history together too - and by God does it show! I cared more for every cast member of 'The Raid' in 90 mins than i do for some of these actors now, even after 30yr careers. It was embarrassing! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bobby TwoTimes at 12:19, 22 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: MonsterCat Mr Kilby, your review was a fun read. Probably more fun than the film itself. a very much. Like the film itself it was probably a bit OTT. definitely benefited from lowered expectations, though. Sometimes it pays not to get your hopes up. Look what happened to eusassic example of ntom Menaceme if ever there was one. Which is why I'm currently telling myself that d 5?!be shit... ... More

Posted by chris kilby at 00:22, 29 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Watched this again last night.Terrific fun and the airport scene with Sly, Arnie, and Bruce is a bona fide classic action movie moment.Seeing these three legends together on screen kicking arse is something i never thought id live to see! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 13:36, 27 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Mr Kilby, your review was a fun read. Probably more fun than the film itself. ... More

Posted by MonsterCat at 11:16, 27 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Chuck Norris said no?

Well, that's conservative Christians for you. And if any conservative Christians have a problem with that, hey, forgive me. ... More

Posted by chris kilby at 01:53, 27 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Chuck Norris said no?

L: cerebusboy L: Fallen Giant I thought it was going to be PG-13 "'cause Chuck Norris said so."? But in NZ it's R16 for Graphic Violence and I see it's 15 in UK. The director said Chuck, as a conservative Christian, just has a problem with blasphemy - and, in fairness, there isn't any of that in Expendables 2. hat a load of crap. So he had no problem with killing tones of people? ... More

Posted by theoriginalcynic at 16:58, 21 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Expendables 2 was much better than the first part. It was still ludicrous and full of plot holes but damn entertaining. I don't think the reviewer understands the puns are supposed to be cringeworthy. ... More

Posted by theoriginalcynic at 16:56, 21 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Saw this yesterday having missed it at the cinema. Thought the script was lame. Very very lame, and delivered in a way that makes i]line in X Men look like Charlton Heston at his finest. They also really really buggered up the final fight scene. The best thing in the original was when Stallone got his arse kicked by stone cold Steve only for Randy to come in and lay down some serious arse whoopage. Stallone v JCVD? Booooooooooooring. Chuck Norris v JCVD have been awesome :)   I think n... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DanTDavies at 11:50, 11 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Expendables 2 hing belongs in a museum'....'we all do'lthough I hate to admit it...no truer words have been said. I have always been a huge huge life long fan of Arnie and JCVD, not so much Stallone, Willis or Lundgren, but overall I've liked them all for various different films. But there does come a point where you gotta step back and wonder, are these guys getting a bit old for this shit?. Again gotta admit its a HUGE thrill to see Arnie, Willis, Stallone, Lundgren AND now JCVD all... More

Posted by Phubbs at 06:28, 22 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Lock up your grandmothers! Action cinema’s answer to The Rolling Stones are back! Or is that Last of the Summer Wine? Yup, it’s The Expendables 2. It wasn’t like that in their day. Stallone re-fought the Vietnam War for the likes of you - single-handed! Mutter, mumble, moan… After the lacklustre Expendables which was only medium-octane at best, Sly’s superannuated steroid cases have had a much-needed injection of action adrenalin. Or is that violent Viagra? HRT-tastic! The critics hav... More

Posted by chris kilby at 16:30, 31 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: EXPENDABLE.......

L: Rgirvan44 It really does feel silly to raise points about the film - but my favourite is Why do the bad guys need more civillians for the the mine, when the scene just before has them announcing they have the material. as it? I thought Van Damme nicked the maps of the mines and then during the next scene in the mines, they kill a couple of tired villagers and confirm they need more because now they have the mps they know the exact location and Van Damme wants the stuff o... More

Posted by porntrooper at 13:18, 03 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Chuck Norris said no?

Awesome fun and it has the Oscars wrapped up. Anyone who dislikes these films has no willie. Or no boobs for any female haters. ... More

Posted by Magneto at 21:15, 02 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Chuck Norris said no?

L: Fallen Giant I thought it was going to be PG-13 "'cause Chuck Norris said so."? But in NZ it's R16 for Graphic Violence and I see it's 15 in UK. The director said Chuck, as a conservative Christian, just has a problem with blasphemy - and, in fairness, there isn't any of that in Expendables 2. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 23:11, 30 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Better than the first, but still suffers from all the same problems, only to a lesser degree. My main gripe is the same one I had with the original, the tone lurches awkwardly from tongue in-cheek to overtly serious at the drop of a hat. There's nothing here that sticks out quite as badly as Mickey Rourke's monologue from the original (thank god), but it's not far off at times, usually when Stallone is (yet again) getting all down and moody to some of the worst dialogue I've genuinely ever... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by paulyboy at 12:05, 28 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Too old??? Get Fuckin real!

L: Fozola LOVED IT!!! Frickin awesome and a great feeling of nostalgia as I remembered my younger days watching these meatheads blowing the shite out of folks! Best opening to a movie I've seen all year. Beat the shit out of that mediocre Avengers pap...bring on part 3. Love listening to folks whining about them being 'too old' are Bruce, Crews, Lundgren, Couture, Li, Statham n Van Damme at retirement age? Are they fuck!!! You don't like balls out action, go n cream over lycra! I fin... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 17:37, 24 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: EXPENDABLE.......

L: Rgirvan44 It really does feel silly to raise points about the film - but my favourite is Why do the bad guys need more civillians for the the mine, when the scene just before has them announcing they have the material. Aren't they locking all the civilians down the mine presumably to cover their tracks? ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 17:46, 23 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

What does DONOVAN KURTWOOD have to say?! Probably waiting for the Blu-Ray. ... More

Posted by Invader_Ace at 22:09, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: EXPENDABLE.......

It really does feel silly to raise points about the film - but my favourite is Why do the bad guys need more civillians for the the mine, when the scene just before has them announcing they have the material. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 16:39, 21 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Hideous, pointless, what a waste...

L: SEEDA The worst film in cinema since the last Expendables. Dreadful script and dialogue, flat acting and very awkward in joke exchanges (especially between Arnie and Bruce). It's simply not enough to just have action and ultra violence. Done like this, it's just boring. Simon West had it ok with Con Air. He should be deeply ashamed of this result. And the 3 minute shoehorning in of people like Chuck Norris defies description. will see this twice peak for yourself.I am going t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 19:40, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: elab49 I'm not an expert on Arnie films (one view and bin for me normally) but, me? I'm guessing the lawnmower throwing did not take place in the middle of the Predator jungle ote] Smart arse edator starts with them attacking some camp type thing so it was possible! That said, I've checked and not only was it in Commando, but there are some pretty nasty scenes of violence in there too. Involving a mower blade and machete! So it seems I was completely wrong ... which can only... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 14:26, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

I'm not an expert on Arnie films (one view and bin for me normally) but, me? I'm guessing the lawnmower throwing did not take place in the middle of the Predator jungle ... More

Posted by elab49 at 14:10, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: elab49 L: Prophet_of_Doom L: Rgirvan44 Creation Life Death Anyway! One of the questions I have about the Expendables - just where did all those bad guys come from to be shoot by the heroes? Not that I minded. Still wish they had gone for blood squibs. think that was my main problem with Expendables 2 (although I might be getting squeamish in my old age as I had exactly the same complaints about Drive ... this is probably the one and only time in h... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 14:08, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


More user comments

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Rogues Gallery: Powers Boothe
Sin City's Roark talks us through his most memorable baddies

Richard Attenborough: In Celebration
Saluting a man who made a lasting impact on cinema and beyond…

Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)