I got around to revisiting some of last years blockbusters, just to see if my initial reactions held up.
With the Expendables 2, I see more holes in the story, but really, who’s going to this movie expecting a deep narrative? This is a vehicle, and vehicles have formulas : Start with the actor(s), create a character and then work your way backwards to build a story around them.
E2 is really the delivery of the promise made by the first film. It’s not that The Expendables was a bad movie, or even a bad action movie. What it was, it was a Statham/Stallone movie and that’s cool….except it billed itself as an action star reunion. Look, I’m in my late 30s. Jet Li, Statham, Couture and all the wrestling guys in the world…those aren’t my action heroes. They’re good, but they aren’t my heroes….that’s all I’m saying. I wanted to see Arnold, Bruce, Jean-Claude and Stallone together. Those are the guys (and to a lesser extent, Chuck Norris, and Dolph Lundgren) that my generation thinks of as action stars. Those are the guys we wanted to see. The nice thing is that E2 delivers that, and when that’s what you’re really coming in to watch, it still holds up just fine. There are no surprises here, no plot twists, it has infinite rewatchability.
Truthfully, this film got a lot better with the second viewing. I previously commented on the expectations and how no amount of warning would convince anyone this wasn’t an Alien prequel. Having watched it once already, the anticipation is gone, allowing you to sink much easier into the story. It’s still annoying that the monsters are SO like the Alien monsters in behavior but not in form. It’s still half hearted in that respect, but being able to really get into the story without spending the entire time waiting for something familiar to appear or not….it helps.
Still, the movie suffers from being a part of this series. If this is sitting on my shelf and Alien is sitting on my shelf next to it….I’m choosing Alien every time, plain and simple.
And then I’m going to go read some Violent Blue. Sounds like a plan to me….