Director: Simon West
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lungdren, Jet Li, Liam Hemsworth, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis
Synopsis: Church (Willis) blackmails The Expendables into another job, this time to retrieve data concerning a mine full of plutonium. Unfortunately, they are beaten to the target by Villain (Van Damme). Barney Ross (Stallone) and the gang set after him with a vengeance, with a few new friends along the way.
Given both the stars involved and the nature of the film that preceded this one, this one is unapologetically all testosterone and adrenaline. To boot, in good sequel fashion, everything is bigger and louder. I can understand how some may see this film as being just a whole lot of too-muchness, but for me, and many people I know, the excess in this film is something beautiful, recalling an era when this type of action was entirely normal in film.
It is great seeing the team from the original back in action, even if Jet Li is only present for the opening action sequence. Regardless, it is a sequence that is nothing if not memorable. Hemsworth is actually a great addition as “Billy the Kid”, despite not having an action pedigree himself. It is a small role, but it adds some different flavour to the original, and provides the film some of its heart. Hemsworth’s performance is an absolute corker too, one that promises his star may one day shine as bright as his currently Asgardian brother’s.
Similarly, Van Damme is awesome in his role, and he certainly still can manage an awesome high-kick! His villain Villain (see what they did there??) is a bit one note, but effectively menacing, and more than an incredible match for Stallone’s Ross. Yet despite all this, his appearance is not the biggest excitement. Yes, it is the inclusion of Willis and Schwarzenegger that provides some of the highlights of the film, this time included in much larger roles that often pay homage to their greatest moments of old. This all would have been enough, and I would consider myself entertained. But then there was Chuck F**king Norris on top of all that. At 71, he still has presence, and I think partially as a result of this film his popularity now has never been higher. All one has to do is look at all the Facebook memes!!
The film will win no awards, it is not a dramatic masterpiece. It is balls out action filled with knowing winks and bad quips. Sometimes, you just don’t need anything else!!
4.5 stars out of 5