‘Expendables II’ is dumb, summer fun

by Kenneth Leonard

Sylvester Stallone, Jaston Statham and terry Crews—plus a full cast of ‘80s action heroes—go commando in “The Expendables II.” Courtesy of Lionsgate

What makes a great movie? It all boils down to the expectations of the moviegoer. Do not go see “The Expendables 2” if you are hoping to watch a “good” movie. The story is laughably thin, existing as a device for the management of strung- together action sequences. The acting is … well, it is unsure there is anything one would call “acting” in this film. Acting implies a certain craft lacking from the (for lack of a better word) performances in this film. Even the score was a predictable, monotonous, formulaic exercise. If you go to this movie and you are hoping for many of the attributes generally attributed to good filmmaking, you will be sorely disappointed.

However, if you go to this movie expecting these things, you’re seriously missing the point. Go see this movie if you are looking for some late- summer escapism. Go see Stallone and Co. in this ridiculously over-the-top explode-a-thon if you’re the kind of person who grew up spending lazy Saturday afternoons watching Jean Claude Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger flicks on basic cable.

Make no mistake — if you are judging this movie by the standards traditionally used for judging movies, you’re going to hate it. “The Expendables 2” will not be winning any awards for filmmaking, unless the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences creates a category for “Outstanding Nostalgic One-Liners” or “Best Decapitation.” The plot—which doesn’t matter, because it’s not what any reasonable person is there for—goes something like this: The crew of big sweaty men (Stallone, et al) with big noisy guns from the first Expendables film lose a team member while trying to recover a computer bad guy (Van Damme) needs so he can do bad guy stuff.

Honestly, none of this actually matters. This can’t be emphasized enough. The entire film is essentially one extended action sequence, with a few short breaks for exposition and plot development.

A review of this movie would be incomplete without briefly addressing one man. His name is Schwarzenegger, and it’s impossible not to grin like a fool whenever he is on-screen. The movie reaches a point of total self- realization when Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis are admiring an old airplane. “That thing belongs in a museum,” says Stallone. Without missing a beat, Schwarzenegger looks back at him and replies, “So do we.”

So, why should you see this movie? There are plentyof dumb reasons to go to the theater and check your intellect at the door for an hour and a half with this movie. Chuck Norris is in it. His scenes are hilarious, in a self-aware, groan inducing way. Jason Statham, Van Damme and Jet Li provide dynamic and well-shot fight sequences. The whole crew, including Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Liam Hemsworth and former UFC champ Randy Couture take the audience on a loud, obnoxious, deliciously violent and unapologetically and politically incorrect romp across Eastern Europe. It’s an old-fashioned action movie starring old- fashioned action heroes. These guys are relics from a bygone era, and if you’re feeling nostalgic, you’ll have a good time watching them defeat the generic bad guys one last time.

Thanks for the memories, fellas.

Kenneth Leonard is an english senior, who was born in 1984 and cried when he saw the end of “Terminator 2 Judgement Day” at the South Bay Drive-In.