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THE EXPENDABLES 2
DIRECTOR: Simon West
CAST: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth
Does more bucks for the bang also mean more bangs for the buck? In this case, yes. Hundred million dollars get you Hollywood's biggest action stars wielding their biggest guns, saving the smallest guys (from somewhere in South East Asia to somewhere between Ukraine and Bulgaria, with a Chinese billionaire thrown in), for the largest prize — kilotons of undiscovered plutonium.
You get a lot of breathless action scenes and some amount of talking, as would be warranted to build those action scenes around. There are some attempts at humour to leaven the tension, as would be warranted should you care about a group of guys who call themselves expendable. There is a lot of self-awareness, as would be warranted when Sly and Arnie play to their star power. And there is a hint of tragedy, as would be warranted when a true blonde kid such as Hemsworth dies an early gruesome death with a letter to his sweetheart in his pocket.
All the above stars are the good guys, pitted against Van Damme's 'Vilain' (seriously). The French-accented Vilain isn't just after stealing the plutonium and selling it, but is making villagers slavishly toil at digging the same out under the threat of being shot.
Stallone, who directed the first Expendables, realises the limitations of his ageing body and is not afraid to acknowledge the same here. The film itself has little use for such weak spots, even if one character dubs the team "a gang of psychotic mutts". Believe me, nobody attempts figuring that out.
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