The Expendables 2: A Quasi-Review
They may have been dubbed “The Expendables.” But that didn’t stop me from having a gay romp with the film. Read on, but know matey’s — here be spoilers. Arrrrrrrrgh.
I love action movies. I think explosions are fun. The thing that usually bothers me about them is how they approach women. Which is to say that women usually end up half-naked and half-brained, if not totally lacking both clothing and intelligence. When Spouse wanted to see The Expendables 2 for his birthday yesterday, I didn’t know what to expect besides every action star in Hollywood in one, gloriously flaming film.
The movie starts off much as you might expect: with a lot of boom.
You enter the action in Nepal, with Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, and Crews busting into a warlord’s compound as said warlord’s soldiers randomly drag women screaming into a building. At this point I had this horrible feeling that the whole dragging screaming women around would persist throughout the film, and I had a sad.
Gloriously, it stopped.
And I got a series of sounds and images that may just be filed into my brain as my new Happy Place, because when you see Jet Li with a frying pan in each hand, fighting his way through a kitchen with a series of BONK, CLANG, BAP, PLUNK, PLONK, BANK, it has to inspire a giddy bout of the giggles. Which persisted throughout the whole movie, and even now when I think about it, I can’t help but titter.
Beyond, we found Schwarzenegger tied to a chair, looking chagrined. He’s back! (Oh, the “back” jokes. Expect more.)
After this exciting entrance where we meet sniper Billy (who was just cute, sweet, and in love enough to get you wondering when the inevitable would occur) all sexy and Liam Hemsworth-y, and they get in their ancient plane and fly away like a giant group of badasses.
They return to the States to find the lovely Charisma Carpenter (good for her!) in a bar with music and beer and jokes at Lundgren’s expense. Yep.
Then the star of the show arrives.
I know. You thought it was Stallone. Silly, silly, action fan.
Bruce. Oh, Bruce. How I love you. How I love how you magically play the same character in every film and yet do it with such sparkly awesomeness that I cannot resist paying to see them. Did I mention that I love you? Even when you’re skulking in empty planes and making threats. You’re so good at making threats.
I’m not even being facetious.
It’s here in the film that you begin to sniff around for the source of a certain odour. What’s that? Is it…no. Could it be? But…how?
Is it…..a PLOT?
Ye gods. If there’s anything I did NOT expect (aside from Jet Li’s kitchen symphony), it’s that. And yet there it was, like a mewling mandrake root from Harry Potter, waving its wee arms in the air as Bruce told Sly that he’d have to go to Albania and take…..
At first, I was terrified. “Here it is,” I thought. “She’s going to be naked and stupid and get someone killed, and I’m going to shred the screen with my toenails.”
But then she showed up on a motorcycle and thoroughly confused Stallone before speeding off into the night. And I thought, “Sweet. He looks awfully cute when he’s confused.”
The group goes to Albania, with Maggie (Nan Yu) asking insightful questions about Billy the Kid whilst ignoring Lundgren’s attempt to splat his lung on the floor of the plane.
After a rather anticlimactic safe-opening, we see why they made Billy so cute and fuzzy.
And this was the one annoyance I had about the treatment of Maggie — while Sly tells Billy getting captured by Jean Claude Van Damme isn’t HIS fault, Maggie’s decision to hand over the coveted object to save their little team from getting the same knife-in-chest treatment is somehow the asshole thing to do. Mmm-hmmm. Good thinking, Stallone. You’ve dropped your guns, watched your friend get skewered, and are surrounded by a bunch of angry weapons dealers. They’re going to get what they want. Maggie saved your arse so you have a chance of getting it back.
I’m actually not sure if he really blamed her. Their dialogue exchange was rather surreal and both of them said sorry, and then they broke into Act II.
Anyway, Maggie soon gets freaking badass. And no, they didn’t just give her crazy Kung Fu skills. Chick can rock a gun and a computer, and she doesn’t get rescued once. So bully for her. I tip my hat, for I was surprised. She’s kind of the only woman around until they come across a tiny Albanian town were all the menfolk have done been stoled away. And though they mention that these leftover wives and daughters and grandmas aren’t too keen with a target, they also make Stallone blink when they say they’ll give their lives defending their town.
Poor Sly. He seems to have had a very confusing trip.
Again…he’s so CUTE when he’s confused.
And then Chuck Norris shows up with the Wild West Theme that sounds like it was played on a kazoo, and he makes a Chuck Norris joke, and everything is so awesome and hokey that you can’t NOT love it. I mean, really.
“I heard you got bitten by a king cobra.”
“I did. And after five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.”
Great Googly-Moogly, Batman, this movie had some funnies.
But the best came just after the break into Act III (see, I told you it had Plot. I could even see the Plot and not just sniff at it!) when Bruce returns (as does Lone Wolf “I’m not fighting with you, I’m fighting near you” Norris) with Schwarzenegger to take a ride in a Smart Car.
I’ll let you picture that for a minute.
No, that wasn’t the main joke, but it’s an image I shall forever treasure.
Here’s probably my favourite joke of the movie:
AH-nold: “I’ll be back.”
Brucey: “You’ve been back enough. I’ll be back.”
*Pauses for dramatic effect.*
It doesn’t even make sense! “Back enough.” I love it! It’s perfect! I need to go find Bruce and hug him.
Then came the highlight of Maggie’s portrayal for me — she follows Stallone to Van Damme and his unconvincing goat-head tattoo that I think was modeled after the Seal of Danzalthar in Buffy Season 7. Stallone tells her to wait outside.
I get it. Protagonist must kill antagonist, yadda yadda. But here’s what would happen in most crappy, rather misogynistic action movies. The cutesy little naked girl with a gun would whine, pout, freak out, and inevitably go after the hero and get herself taken hostage and/or injured by villain, only to make Big Strong Hulk of Hero have to get more hurt to rescue his flailing damsel.
That. Didn’t. Happen.
Maggie just chilled and waited with her gun trained on the door so that she could shoot Van Damme if he happened to be the one to poke his head out.
So even though the dialogue and plot was very action-y and often cheesy (and somehow all the more awesome for its self-referencing), I ended up really enjoying this movie. It was fun. And I didn’t hate them for being dicks about women. Maggie was calm, rational, and preeeeetty awesome. At one point she even busted out a torture kit. It’s a departure from Megan Fox in Transformers, and I’ll take it. And Maggie’s clothes…stayed…on?
I’ll go ahead and give The Expendables 2 a hefty four and a half stars. I had a joyous time watching it, and Van Damme’s weird goat tattoo was probably the only real qualm I had about it. It was fun, and that’s what I wanted. Some people hated it, and that’s fine. I’m not making anyone watch it. I needed a laugh, and it delivered. 😀
Maybe there’s some hope for humanity.
Now. Who knows where I can find Bruce?
Did you see The Expendables 2? What did you think? Will you be joining me in the Jet Li symphonic Happy Place?
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