My blog title is a city council joke. This amused me.
OK, speaking of in-jokes: “The Expendables 2!” My husband loved me enough to go on opening night because in our marriage I’m the one who wants to see the big boomy blockbusters and drink beer.
Let me just say at the outset that if that poster in any way seems cool to you, this is YOUR MOVIE. Go see it and be not afraid of wasting your money. Yeah, I know the first one was disappointing and forgettable, but “Expendables 2” is everything the first one should have been. That includes multiple and substantial scenes with Bruce Willis and Arnie doing stuff, not just showing up for a couple minutes of exposition so their names on the poster are arguably legit.
This whole thing is basically an Easter egg, not so much a movie. It has a plot and stuff and it’s actually (I think) clever enough to do the “Scream” thing where it’s aware of its own tropes and manages to play against audience expectations a bit, while still ultimately satisfying audience expectations. But the whole thing feels like unlocking characters in “Street Fighter,” it really does. I would very much like to play this movie.
It’s also so, so…so Reaganesque. Big McLargehuge men spraying machine gun bullets like they’re putting out fires with it, abstaining from cover because they gave it up for Lent. It’s silly and unrealistic, and yet it delighted me strangely to see several scenes of just that. God, the world was so simple then.
Nits to pick:
- Most of the principals get a good 2-3 minutes of fight scene to shine in their own light. If you’re Jason Statham and actually young and fit enough to handle it, substantially more. Even Jet Li, who is in it for about 5 minutes, gets to spend 3 of those minutes being Jet Li. The exception? Dolph. Dolph does get a lot of screentime in this, but mostly he’s the butt of jokes and you never really get to see him kick ass. (Note that Randy Couture and Terry Crews do not count in the above nitpick because no one is here to see either of them, although they both work well with the ensemble and are individually awesome IRL.)
- No Cynthia Rothrock or Michelle Yeoh? Still? Nan Yu is a nice addition and she did a faboo job here, including achieving chemistry with Stallone, but how about someone a little more age appropriate, Sly?
- Speaking of no Michelle Yeoh, you can’t tell me that Jackie Chan will make multiple films with Messrs Tucker and Wilson and not sign up for this. Come on, the movie clocked in at an hour and 46 minutes. You had another 15 minutes for a Jackie subplot before I ran out of beer.
- You get ONE “I’ll be back” reference for Arnold before it gets weird and sad. ONE.
Now I really loved this and had a great time with it. I am here on the internet today to recommend it, because I think it deserves to be voted for with consumer dollars. This is the only context in which I will ever cheer for Chuck Norris.
That being said, they need to stop now. “Expendables 3” does not need to happen. Like the last 3 “Terminator” references in this movie, it will be a little too wink, wink, nudge, nudge, and…dammit, I bet they do it anyway.
…Maybe they can get Bruce Campbell next time? Ooh, or Vin Diesel.