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The over the hill gang on steroids

Paul Peterson

Before I get to my review of The Expendables 2, I wanted to take a moment to note the passing of director Tony Scott who apparently jumped to his death from a suspension bridge in Los Angeles Harbour. Stories are emerging that he had inoperable brain cancer but that has yet to be confirmed. What is known, is that he left several notes for family members.
Scott comes from a film family of directors. His films include  Top Gun, Spy Game, Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide and one of my favorites, The Last  Boy Scout. His brother Ridley Scott directed Thelma and Louise, Gladiator,  Black Hawk Down, Blade Runner and Robin Hood. Brother Frank Scott directs documentaries.
It’s always sad when we lose someone who has contributed to the collective cultural consciousness and hopefully his family will find peace in the days to come.

Now, back to the over the hill gang on roids.
You have to love Sly Stallone. He has his finger on the collective pulse of the nation when it comes to entertainment. Who else could have milked Rocky for five episodes? Who else would have had the never to mine Rambos empty psyche for all of those disasters and who but SS would have dreamed of making a movie about arm wrestling?
So, when he put together the original Expendables it seemed like a quirky enough idea. Get every action hero who ever had a film and throw them together Add a sketchy plot and a lot of guns, tanks, flame throwers and anything else you care to shoot and you’ve got a film.
Mix in 100 million domestic box office and a trajillion worldwide and you’ve got a winning recipe for a sequel.
Here’s the list of stars that at least make an appearance: Stallone, Willis, Arnold, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Van Damme, Norris, Statham, Hemsworth (Liam), Crews, Couture.
By the time the opening credits have rolled the movie’s half over. OK, I stretch it but you get the idea. That’s a lot of ego to fit onto one screen and they’re not making a We Are The World video, this is testosterone central.
There’s a story line about one of Barney Ross’ men being killed and so he wants revenge (of course) and it’s on.
Look, this is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The bad guy, Van Damme is called Villain. No kidding.
They love giving themselves goofy names and that’s all part of the fun.
Church and Trench are back but again it’s only a part time role and then there’s the walk on cameo by Chuck Norris as Booker, who fights alone.
There’s a comical exchange between Ross (Stallone) and Booker that’s right out of the Chuck Norris tear sheet day calendar. If you aren’t familar with it, the Norris legend consists of several goofy  pearls of wisdom like Chuck Norris’ tears cure cancer. Too bad he never cries. Chuck Norris won a staring contest with the sun and Chuck Norris calendar doesn’t have April 1st because no one fools Chuck Norris. You get the idea.
It’s a very funny little exchange and then he walks off into the sunset, leaving the audience yearning for less.
Seriously, this guy had his own TV show and he still wouldn’t know a comma if he came out of one. Hey Chuck, work in a pause for dramatic effect.
Oh well. Who cares? And that’s the point. Van Damme has resurrected his career somehow and all the other guys are on the periphery of being on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. But it’s fun and a lot of stuff gets blown up which never hurts with a summer movie. Stallone doesn’t direct this time and maybe it lets him be a little more playful than in the original.

Here’s the deal.
If you like mindless action and banal dialogue with the occasional mix of self deprecating humor this flick is for you. If you saw the preview and thought, Hey, that looks good, then you won’t be disappointed. If you saw the preview and laughed in all the wrong places, you’re not going to be wooed.
It’s that kind of a flick.
I’m willing to play it, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t throw up a little bit. I really have no shame.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week.. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m out of here. Paul

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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