December 16, 2012

Review: The Expendables 2

The first Expendables movie was the essence of a mindless summer blockbuster movie. As such, it had a decided lack of plot, great action, and cheesy one liners. Naturally this was critically panned and wildly successful, and guaranteed a sequel. So how does this sequel stand up to the original? Does it add anything to the first movie, or is it like The Hangover 2, wherein the plot is almost exactly identical? As it turns out, it's closer to the former than the latter, but some of the awesomeness is lost as a result.

There is no real need to talk about the plot too much, except in very broad terms. The team gathers back together, sans a few previous members and with one new notable addition, and is tasked with tracking down an important item and there are some bad guys who also want it. The story itself has elements that change it up from before, but ultimately the major benefit to the plot is that there is much less need to establish the origins of the group because it is the second movie. It also eliminates a lot of the more boring love interest elements, at least that which doesn't also involve action.

The dialogue, however, is a detriment to this movie. It's too campy. Yes, there needs to be an element of campiness to these kinds of action movies, as they can't take themselves too seriously, but too much campy dialogue makes the movie unbelievable and not enjoyable. Unfortunately, too many attempts to cram pop culture references makes it seem more like a comedic performance rather than an action one.

Ultimately, The Expendables 2 is still enjoyable despite its flaws. However, the inevitable third movie must require some more seriousness and to be much less campy in order for it to still be worthwhile as an Expendables movie. It's a delicate line between being fun and enjoyable and simply being a joke. This movie manages to just barely be the former.

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