With a cast that comprises a who's who of '80s action movie heroes, the second go of the Expendables hit the big screen with explosive force.
In addition to decent box office bang, the movie, featuring iconic he-men Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, delivers for fans fist fights, high-powered weaponry and tongue-in-cheek dialogue.
If you're expecting anything more, what's the matter with you?
You pretty much get what you'd expect: Lots of blood, explosions and one-liners. What was impressive was, despite the over-the-top violence, not one F-bomb in the whole film.
Stallone is back as Barney Ross, leader of the Expendables, a group of mercenaries for hire. Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), are joined by a young Afghan war sniper Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth), to complete Barney's team. We join the film with action in progress as the team executes the dangerous rescue of another mercenary and a Chinese businessman.
After completing the mission, Barney is confronted with his old government covert ops "friend" Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) who offers to clean the team's slate with the government if they successfully complete a mission retrieving a top secret package from a downed plane in Albania. Church places a techie, Maggie (Yu Nan), with the team to assist in the retrieval. As one might imagine, things don't go as planned when rival mercenary Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) shows up at the same time, demanding the package - a map to a mine filled with plutonium - in exchange for the life of one of Barney's team. After surrendering the item and watching a member of the team executed before their eyes, the group's mission changes from one of simple retrieval to vengeance. Barney and crew purse Vilain's group, The Sangs, into Albania to stop him from locating the plutonium and distributing it for financial gain.
Along the way, the team is joined and assisted by Booker (Chuck Norris), Mr. Church and Trench (Schwarzenegger) in the pursuit.
Yes, the cheese is thick in this one. "I'll be back" and "Yippie Kai Yay" both appear, but not as the viewer might expect. Norris delivers his "lone wolf" lines with the stare and dry tone he made famous. Van Damme is great as the spin-kicking bad guy.
It's mindless guy fun. That's it. No meaning of life here, despite Stallone's little speech about "deserving to live, deserving to die" stuff, this is a movie about good guys, bad guys and kicking some hiney.