Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
The Making Of The West Wing
Subscribe To Empire Today
Save money and get 12 issues for only £25
Go Think Big
Helping young people achieve their career dreams
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
Fury
3 Star Empire Rating
Way He Looks, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Serena
2 Star Empire Rating
Book Of Life, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Björk: Biophilia Live
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
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

RE: The Expendables 2

L: elab49 Twice in two days. Can you guess which post you should have thought and not hit post on? I think, again, you're defining arguments that no-one is really having. I haven't even got a clue what your response to me means as it's got nothing to do with what I actually posted. You are the one that first brought up the idea about 'objective' criteria, e.g., Prophet just said criteria He then tried to elevate the criteria in a supposed 'Rule', which are indeed supposed to... More

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


RE: The Expendables 2

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. ... More

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


RE: The Expendables 2

L: elab49 Twice in two days. Can you guess which post you should have thought and not hit post on? All of them? To be honest, I found your own reply a bit curious - I wasn't referring to members' posting habits on sites outwith here, I was talking specifically about a Five Star member HERE objecting to newbs/irregular posters starting up old threads. But, point taken. Sorry. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 12:11, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

  Twice in two days. Can you guess which post you should have thought and not hit post on?   I think, again, you're defining arguments that no-one is really having. I haven't even got a clue what your response to me means as it's got nothing to do with what I actually posted. You are the one that first brought up the idea about 'objective' criteria, e.g., Prophet just said criteria. I don't agree with Prophet on the absolutism of the 3 act structure, but then I think that's n... More

Posted by elab49 at 12:09, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: MonsterCat I don't know if I should laugh or cry at this thread. You can do both. Expendables 2 is great though, excellent action movie that does all the things the first movie tried and failed to do. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 12:04, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Harry Tuttle Why have you used 3 posts to answer one post? Why requote bits of a post when you've already quoted it all but 2 posts previously? Why not just break the original post down into multiple points in one post? Plus IMO only one person on this thread is displaying troll like tendencies and it ain't Prophet. I was unaware that there were any rules on these things. You can appreciate that there might be legitimate reasons for not posting in such a way. If ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 12:03, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

You are one post away from 6666 Tuttle. Use it well. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 12:03, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

I don't know if I should laugh or cry at this thread. ... More

Posted by MonsterCat at 12:02, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Why have you used 3 posts to answer one post? Why requote bits of a post when you've already quoted it all but 2 posts previously? Why not just break the original post down into multiple points in one post? Plus IMO only one person on this thread is displaying troll like tendencies and it ain't Prophet. ... More

Posted by Harry Tuttle at 12:00, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom Now, can we get this thread back on track? You heard him people! Prophet of Doom gave an order: let's get moving!! ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:59, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom Don't bother responding as you're now blocked. Wait, I thought you were just an "Expert" (!!) on film, not Boss of Humanity, or even a mod? ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:58, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom Obviously got under cerebusboy's skin. Trolls are good at that. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:55, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom Now, can we get this thread back on track? Hey, maybe you, O Enlightened One, should explain the Rules of Three Act Structure, Characterisation and Plot first? After all, how else are us poor, ignorant Expendables 2 fans meant to contribute to a film debate? ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:55, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom Ah, the blissful silence. Obviously got under cerebusboy's skin. Sorry mods, couldn't resist It's delightful not to have to listen to the bile and condescension. Now, can we get this thread back on track? Bile and condescension? You're the one who thinks people who like Expendables 2 are too stupid to understand the ''rules'' (!) of Three Act Structure (OMG! Sounds complicated!) and characterisation .I'll reply to what I want. All day long. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:54, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

Ah, the blissful silence. Obviously got under cerebusboy's skin. Sorry mods, couldn't resist It's delightful not to have to listen to the bile and condescension. Now, can we get this thread back on track? ... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 11:51, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom Thus, I feel my efforts are better used elsewhere. O no!! Anyone know if David Thomson posts here, so I can fill the gap? ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:49, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom Thus, I feel my efforts are better used elsewhere. Ah a prophet not welcome in his own land e spouting sub-creative writing access course banalities and 'rules' that are no such thing, Not dispensing Wisdom to the Great Unwashed. 'Efforts' indeed! ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:46, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom And I'm sure everyone working in the industry, including all of the most experienced writers, directors etc, will very much appreciate that you have consigned their knowledge to cliched hackery. LOL! Yeah, I'm really sure you have knowledge on how Hollywood's most experienced writers and directors create their stories! William Goldman's on speed-dial is he? Hey, next time you're talking to "Three-Act" Tarantino tell him I'm really looking forward to Django Un... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:43, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom L: cerebusboy L: Prophet_of_Doom But you still have to know the form to break the form, as Malick clearly does. Thousands of films are made every year, one anomoly does not a rule make. Therefore referencing Malick makes my argument no less valid - unless I wanted to be tiresome and list the thousand and one films made in the UK this year alone which utilised the 3 Act Structure. No, because a 'rule' is exactly that. Again: how many except... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:40, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom Thousands of films are made every year, one anomoly does not a rule make. You're the one proposing 'Rules'. I tend to think Gore Vidal's point that there are novels but no The Novel applies to movies. There's a reason why I invoked Kubrick. If you're supposed 'rule' is shown to be absurd when applied to one of the 20th century's greatest and most acclaimed directors then it might not be as Objective and Binding as you think. Your 'rules' are no such things. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:37, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: cerebusboy L: Prophet_of_Doom But you still have to know the form to break the form, as Malick clearly does. Thousands of films are made every year, one anomoly does not a rule make. Therefore referencing Malick makes my argument no less valid - unless I wanted to be tiresome and list the thousand and one films made in the UK this year alone which utilised the 3 Act Structure. No, because a 'rule' is exactly that. Again: how many exceptions do you need to it befor... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 11:37, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom housand and one films made in the UK this year alone which utilised the 3 Act Structure. I can see this is a wasted argument and you are very adept at misquoting or misinterpreting, dependent upon how it assists your argument. Thus, I feel my efforts are better used elsewhere. Well, it was very nice of you to descend from Parnassus and talk about the the Universal Laws of Three Act structure and plot/character tick-boxing. I certainly feel enlightened. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:33, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: Prophet_of_Doom But you still have to know the form to break the form, as Malick clearly does. Thousands of films are made every year, one anomoly does not a rule make. Therefore referencing Malick makes my argument no less valid - unless I wanted to be tiresome and list the thousand and one films made in the UK this year alone which utilised the 3 Act Structure. No, because a 'rule' is exactly that. Again: how many exceptions do you need to it before the 'rule' is demonst... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:31, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: cerebusboy L: elab49 L: cerebusboy L: Prophet_of_Doom L: cerebusboy L: Prophet_of_Doom All that aside, judgement by its very definition is subjective. It's impossible to give a completely objective opinion on anything. Unless you're a robot. Or the guy from the Big Bang Theory! Which is why it's ridiculous when someone comes onto a forum and criticises a reviewer for giving a wrong review! If "objective opinion" (!) doesn't exist th... More

Posted by Prophet_of_Doom at 11:26, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Expendables 2

L: elab49 L: cerebusboy L: Prophet_of_Doom L: cerebusboy L: Prophet_of_Doom All that aside, judgement by its very definition is subjective. It's impossible to give a completely objective opinion on anything. Unless you're a robot. Or the guy from the Big Bang Theory! Which is why it's ridiculous when someone comes onto a forum and criticises a reviewer for giving a wrong review! If "objective opinion" (!) doesn't exist then there's no binding r... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 10:47, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


Previous pageMore 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
The Empire Podcast #133: Robert Duvall, Anna Faris And James Marsden Interviews
Plus the team discuss the latest news on the upcoming DC and Marvel movies

Documentaries: What Happened Next
We track down and interview the stars of great non-fiction films

Movie Poster Mashups: Sean Bean Edition
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be appalled at the punning...

Your Introductory Guide To That DC Movie Slate
Suicide Squad? Cyborg? Aquaman? We explain who’s who in the DC Universe

Video Interviews: Megan Fox And Will Arnett Talk Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Plus the director and producers on the tone of their new turtle flick

Captain America 3, Iron Man And Civil War: Where Next For The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
What to make of today's Marvel news

Interactive Gallery: Explore Iconic Movie Spacesuits
Explore the fabric of space-time

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
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  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)