Aug 14, 2012

EX2 Review By EXBlogman - Minor Spoiler Alert!

After a long wait (XXV years or so) I finally got to see the movie of my childhood dream: The Expendables 2. Let me tell you right off the bat that it was worth the long wait. This movie delivers on many levels that its predecessor failed to! 

Be aware that I'm reviewing EX2 as a hardcore fan of 80-90's big-screen action movies. Although I will do my best to stay as objective as possible, my opinion will be most likely more biased than a traditional movie critic.

I-Action:

The movie has a lot of it. There are action-less moments of course and that is fine. The action sequences don't follow quickly one after another, the idle scenes are well planned so you don't get bored between two action sequences. It's fairly violent but not too much, it's not "Rambo", it's closer to "True Lies", and that again is perfectly fine and fits the context of the movie. 

The action scenes are well filmed & edited, they play equal in the league of blockbuster movies. I have to admit that West has done a much better job than Stallone did on the first one. No shaky cams or very little and the CGI is not deranging, huge improvement over the first episode.
 
But, but, there was room for some improvement. EX2 does not reach the ecstasy of action but delivers a very solid performance. I didn't mind if they threw in a few more action scenes and hand fights for instance, I felt there was room for more and it was cut a little bit short.

Li's hand fight scene was top notch.

Statham's knife fight was good.

Statham vs Adkins was solid but too short, you just wanted more, specially more of Adkins kicking Statham's ass.

Sly vs JCVD was not as epic as Stallone said it was going to be, but very very solid. Too short in my opinion, felt shorter than Sly vs Austin in EX1. Van Damme's 360 kicks were the best moments in the fight. Overall a  small disappointment in the long-waited "clash of the titans" department.

Arnold is solid and has a good number of body counts.

Norris is over the top.

Lundgren kicks ass.

Action Rating: 4.5/5

II-Story:

I had talked to people who had seen the movie, and I read a good number of reviews before I attended the Premiere. Most if not all said the story was not good or too simple. Well let me put things in perspective here: the story was perfect for an Expendables movie. I mean you are going to see the "Magnificent Seven" a la 80's style. This is not "The Usual Suspects", "Seven" or "Inception", and it shouldn't be or it'd be ruined. So give me a break when judging the story. 

I found it very good for what it was supposed to deliver. There was a good dose of bravery, vengeance, friendship, humor, emotions and all the good things we used to see in the old action movies. 

I have to admit though that I was pleasantly surprised by the humor in the movie. It makes you laugh. The comic side of the movie perfectly blends in with the seriousness of the revenge story and works very well. You do not have the impression of watching a comedy but yet you laugh.

Yes, some characters appear magically without any solid explanation, some things don't make sense and I've read reviews that were critical of that. But you know what, you don't care in this movie and it's played very well and you don't even ask yourself the question in the heat of the action.

Story Rating: 4/5

III-Cast:

Stallone's performance is much better than the first one. He's more relaxed and really in his element. He dominates the movie.

Statham is pretty much the same as in EX1, maybe less screen time but still second in command. Statham is Statham.

Li is great but doesn't have a lot of screen time, and you wish you'd see him more. 

Lundgren has probably the best performance, he's funny and has some good lines.

Norris is himself, has probably the best lines in the movie and every scene he's in, you laugh your heart out. His entrance is epic and the audience went crazy when he showed up.

Van Damme is solid as a villain, his screen time does not allow him to express all his talent like he did in "JCVD" but he's very good. His 360 kicks got the audience go crazy.

Willis delivers as usual, more screen time that the first one, the right dose.

Arnold is at his best, feels like he never left the big screen. He was the most cheered cast member after Norris. Has a good amount of screen time.

Hemsworth was a pleasant surprise, the kid is good and plays his role to perfection. He fits naturally in the gang against low expectations.

Yu Nan is a good actress but I was a little bit disappointed by her. Her performance was solid but she didn't fit in the gang. I was expecting a much more attractive lady. She's given too much screen time for the extent of the role and you wish at times that her role was given to the likes of Gina Carano

Crews and Couture have better lines and make you laugh, specially Crews, he's very funny in this one.

Cast Rating: 4.5/5

Closing Note: Overall, I loved it, had a great time and will watch it again. It wasn't perfect but good enough for me. I just wanted it to be longer, time flies by.

It did it for me and I don't need a third chapter, they can stop here, EX3 will be a bonus. 

I got what I was looking for. The reunion of my childhood heroes, a good dose of action, a well directed and edited movie with a fair share of screen time for all the action legends. The reunion of Sly, Arnold and Willis firing guns side by side was simply priceless. Hardcore Fans won't be disappointed, others, who cares...they can go watch Batman!


Overall Rating: 4.5/5