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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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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

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The Expendables 2
The Brawn Legacy


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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

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Expendables 2
Empire Star Rating

RE: The Expendables 2

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 history Drive and Ex... More

Posted by elab49 at 13:58, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

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. Doesn't the afterlife make it a Four Act Structure? Plus you get 'creation' AND evolution! I thought the blood was ok. The first movie had that crap fake fire effect, but the CGI seemed a lot better this time. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 13:39, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

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 history Drive and Expendables 2 have been m... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 13:38, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

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. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 13:33, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Rgirvan44 L: cerebusboy L: Rgirvan44 L: cerebusboy L: elab49 L: cerebusboy L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. ight. It is not a 'Rule' i.e. something Movies Must Have to Be Good. C.f. also prophet's tick-box ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 13:29, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom L: elab49 There are plenty of films where the push to action, the conflict event doesn't occur - films that just start then stop. Films that not only ignore classical narrative but flout the reductive 3 act. But the classical narrative is normally the classical odive for a reason. None of which is remotely relevant to whether Expendables 2 is less shit than last time or not. PoD's original point of looking at stuff like story, dialogue and character ha... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 13:28, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: elab49 There are plenty of films where the push to action, the conflict event doesn't occur - films that just start then stop. Films that not only ignore classical narrative but flout the reductive 3 act. But the classical narrative is normally the classical odive for a reason. None of which is remotely relevant to whether Expendables 2 is less shit than last time or not. PoD's original point of looking at stuff like story, dialogue and character hardly justified all this. So ... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 13:27, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: cerebusboy L: Rgirvan44 L: cerebusboy L: elab49 L: cerebusboy L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. ight. It is not a 'Rule' i.e. something Movies Must Have to Be Good. C.f. also prophet's tick-box invocations of 'Charac... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 13:25, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

There are plenty of films where the push to action, the conflict event doesn't occur - films that just start then stop. Films that not only ignore classical narrative but flout the reductive 3 act. But the classical narrative is normally the classical odive for a reason. None of which is remotely relevant to whether Expendables 2 is less shit than last time or not. PoD's original point of looking at stuff like story, dialogue and character hardly justified all this. sp; So - back to Exp... More

Posted by elab49 at 13:22, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Rgirvan44 L: cerebusboy L: elab49 L: cerebusboy L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. ight. It is not a 'Rule' i.e. something Movies Must Have to Be Good. C.f. also prophet's tick-box invocations of 'Character' and 'Story'. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 13:21, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Rgirvan44 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Writing-Movies-Fun-Profit-Billi on/dp/1439186758/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345464715&sr=8 -1 Best book about Hollywood screenwriting in recent years. hat's a great book. My favourite bit is their section on 'what to do when you move to LA' or whatever it's called. That's optimism for you! ... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 13:20, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: cerebusboy L: elab49 L: cerebusboy L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. ight. It is not a 'Rule' i.e. something Movies Must Have to Be Good. C.f. also prophet's tick-box invocations of 'Character' and 'Story'. nd as Rgirvan said - t... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 13:17, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: elab49 If you want pick at a phrase like that and discuss a philsophy of life, I'd suggest an off-topic thread. Philosophy guff tends to go in there. Kilo's probably already started a thread on it though. Thanks for that - I'm sure there's lots of excellent threads on general topics elsewhere on the forum, but I don't really have time to comment on non-movie review discussions. Appreciate the heads up though ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 13:17, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

If you want pick at a phrase like that and discuss a philsophy of life, I'd suggest an off-topic thread. Philosophy guff tends to go in there. Kilo's probably already started a thread on it though. ... More

Posted by elab49 at 13:14, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Writing-Movies-Fun-Profit-Billi on/dp/1439186758/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345464715&sr=8 -1 Best book about Hollywood screenwriting in recent years. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 13:12, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: elab49 L: cerebusboy L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. ight. It is not a 'Rule' i.e. something Movies Must Have to Be Good. C.f. also prophet's tick-box invocations of 'Character' and 'Story'. nd as Rgirvan said - there are two things bei... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 13:10, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom This is something of a myth though. The three act structure is the basic foundation of screenwriting 101, 101 being basic, elementary college classes imparting "knowledge" that is supplanted by more advanced and complex information later? Your analogy has merits, but not in the way you think. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 13:07, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Rgirvan44 L: Prophet_of_Doom L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. his is something of a myth though. The three act structure is the basic foundation of screenwriting 101, regardless of whether you're making a $60m film in Hollywood or a ... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 12:56, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: cerebusboy L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. ight. It is not a 'Rule' i.e. something Movies Must Have to Be Good. C.f. also prophet's tick-box invocations of 'Character' and 'Story'. sp; p; And as Rgirvan said - there are two things being conf... More

Posted by elab49 at 12:54, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. his is something of a myth though. The three act structure is the basic foundation of screenwriting 101, regardless of whether you're making a $60m film in Hollywood or a $1000 independent film in... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 12:47, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. his is something of a myth though. The three act structure is the basic foundation of screenwriting 101, regardless of whether you're making a $60m film in Hollywood or a $1000 independent film... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 12:43, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. his is something of a myth though. The three act structure is the basic foundation of screenwriting 101, regardless of whether you're making a $60m film in Hollywood or a $1000 independent film in Lyon. Yes, there are ex... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 12:42, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

I think maybe because I saw this myself, and sober, it wasn't quite as fun for me as the first one. These movies will never be the classics of their genre, but will make for decent rainy Sunday afternoon fare. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 12:26, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: elab49 So, again, quit calling troll That was in response to prophet gloating about getting under my skin i.e. celebrating winding people up. That's trollish behaviour. Some of my comments might have been unfairly perceived as belligerent, which I obviously regret, but it's still true that I'm certainly not here to wind anyone up or provoke needless arguments. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 12:23, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Rgirvan44 The Three Act Struture is king in big studio films. It isn't the only stuture, and some big hits have used different ways, but it is struture by which big blockbusters tend to be formed. It is tried and tested and is just the way the studios works. Right. It is not a 'Rule' i.e. something Movies Must Have to Be Good. C.f. also prophet's tick-box invocations of 'Character' and 'Story'. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 12:14, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


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