“The Expendables 2” opens with one of the most thrilling displays of superior firepower seen this decade. The movie’s characters may not have the biggest guns or the biggest bombs, but the way they demonstrate dominance leaves no room for any challenger.
Sylvester Stallone returns to the screen as Barney Ross, the leader of this motley crew of world-class powerhouses in the second installment of “The Expendables.” This time around, Barney has only one thing on his mind – vengeance. Mr. Church, expertly played by the enduring Bruce Willis, has assigned Ross and his crew to retrieve a computer from a crashed plane deep in the woods somewhere in Eastern Europe. During the execution of his mission, Barney’s young protege Bill, played by Liam Hemsworth, is cruelly murdered by the dastardly villain played by Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Barney will avenge the death of his friend. No man will stand in his way, and any who try are not likely to walk away. As the film progresses, the idea that Barney and his men could possibly lose does not even cross the viewer’s mind. They are so good at what they do that one cannot help but wonder why every enemy in the movie does not just lay down and play dead when they see 2000 pounds of pure muscle and pain approach.
While some may argue that the plot was just an excuse to showcase massive pyrotechnics and watch the biggest names in action films duke it out, the plot actually works on many levels. This movie pulls spectators in and forces them to pick sides. Of course, one might be completely wrong to pick any side but the one that Arnold Schwarzenegger is on, but that is beside the point. Viewers will become emotionally involved, and will cheer when they hear the words, “I’ll be back.”
There is more to this movie than violence, however. Throughout the development of the plot, viewers may even find a lump in their throat when Stallone says a prayer for the death of the youngest member of the crew. Five minutes later they will be laughing hysterically when Gunnar, played by Dolph Lundgren, makes some crack about how he has a way with the ladies. That is just the way this movie flows – emotional high to emotional low to random outbursts of laughter.
For the viewer who wants everything action hero, there is only one film that can satisfy – “The Expendables 2.”