DVD REVIEW

The Expendables 2 [Blu-ray]

The Expendables 2 [Blu-ray]
The Expendables 2 is a gun-blasting, ass-kicking, shoot first, and say a one-liner later heaven. So in other words, it’s a whole lot better than the first one. I'm guesstimating by a million gazillion times.

The Movie: star rating

I think a lot of people will agree that the first Expendables sucked dongo. I stepped into the theater wanting to relive all those awesome 80s movies from my youth, and what I got instead was Mickey Rourke crying in a mirror. I thought it was a piece of shit. So, when The Expendables 2 was announced, I was full of doubt. Sure, fans were promised more Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis this time, and sure, the explosions looked like they were full of balls-rattling awesomeness. But after the promises of the first film, well, I think it was only right to be skeptical.

Well, throw those doubts out the window, since The Expendables 2 is everything a person could want from a modern action film, and more. The first five minutes alone of this movie pack more punch than the entirety of the last one. It makes me wish that I could travel in time like Time Cop and do a split jump onto two tables before punching my past self in the face. I’d then say, “Listen, dumb shit, I’m from the future. Don’t see the first Expendables and just wait for the sequel, because it has everything you could ever want.” And it does. I mean, seriously, where do I begin?

I’ll start with the story, which is typical machismo ridiculousness. Sly Stallone returns as the leader, Barney Ross, and he’s brought his extensive crew along with him to blow shit up. That’s right, Jason Statham, Jet Li (spoiler alert, he’s only in the movie for like ten minutes), and the rest of the gang return, and this time, they have to deal with the muscles-from-Brussels himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme. He plays a ruthless, international arms dealer named Jean Vilain (I swear I didn’t make that up). Vilain is a bad dude who wants five tons of refined plutonium to sell to some even worse dudes. Oh, and did I mention that Van Damme’s character does spinning roundhouse kicks that knock knives into hearts. He also says the word ‘challenge’ like ‘chal-lenge,’ and nobody corrects him. Yep, it’s 1987 all over again, and it’s amazing. God, I love America.

Hell, even my boys Arnold S. and Bruce W. return with much bigger roles this time. In a crucial airport scene, they’re blasting bad guys straight to hell and referencing their old movies with one-liners. “I’ll be back,” Schwarzenegger says and Willis responds, “You’ve been back enough. I’ll be back.” I mean, if that doesn’t make your eyes bulge while you say, “Fuck yeah,” through gritted teeth, than I don’t know what will.

So basically, everything you may have wanted from the first movie is here in the second. If I have only one complaint, it’s that it’s not cheeky enough. Sure, it has its comical moments, but I really wish it reached the comedic levels of Commando, which is my gold standard when it comes to hilarious action movies. Oh, and random steel drum music. The latter is really why I compare all action movies to Commando. The Expendables 2 just doesn’t quite reach that mark. Hopefully, the third (inevitable) movie will. Until then, pick this shit up! Kaboom!

The Disc: dvd

This Blu-ray is just oozing with special features (And possibly male growth hormones, too!). “Gods of War: Assembling Earth’s Mightiest Antiheroes” features Sly and the rest of the gang talking about what a monumental move it was to get all of these powerhouse stars together. Always critical about his work, Sly also mentions how this film is much better than the original, and that the original Expendables film didn’t fully grasp who the characters really were. This film does.

“Big Guns, Bigger Heroes: The 1980s and the Rise of the Action Film,” is an immensely informative and entertaining feature about why and how stars like Willis and Schwarzenegger rose to fame and recognition in the 1980s. It draws parallels to Ronald Reagan and the state of the country at the time, and it’s highly insightful. It’s my favorite special feature on the disc. “On the Assault: The Real-Life Weaponry of The Expendables is basically just Randy Couture—your favorite character, right--handling guns and firing them at a range. It’s primal and gratifying.

“Guns For Hire: The Real Expendables” is all about real life government mandated mercenaries for hire. I didn’t know how professional they really were, but it’s really fascinating. Some deleted scenes--one of which features the only female Expendable, Maggie Chan (Yu Nan)--and a pretty comical gag reel are also on this disc. If I have only one complaint, it’s the commentary. Sure, there’s no way in hell Schwarzenegger, Willis, and Stallone would ever have time to get in a room together and just talk about the film, but couldn’t we get any of The Expendables 2 cast? Instead, we get the director, Simon West, blah, blah, blahing about this scene and that, and it’s all pretty boring. That said, the rest of the special features are amazing. Pick this Blu-ray up, now.

Reviewed By: Rich Knight

Release Details
Length: 102 min
Rated: R
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date:  2012-11-20
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Terry Crews
Directed by: Simon West
Produced by: Avi Lerner, Danny Lerner, Kevin King Templeton, Les Weldon
Written by: Richard Wenk, Sylvester Stallone
Visit the The Expendables 2 [Blu-ray] Official Website
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