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Movie Review: "The Expendables 2"

Frank Masi/Lionsgate(NEW YORK) -- Explaining the plot of The Expendables 2 would be a lot like explaining the plot to MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.  It's completely obvious and absolutely unnecessary.
Back for action following 2010's The Expendables is Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross, along with Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture.  Jet Li only appears briefly while the Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger roles are slightly expanded from the first movie.  New to the franchise are Liam Hemsworth (Chris’s little brother and Miley Cyrus's fiancé), Chuck Norris, Nan Yu and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who plays the bad guy.
You know the old adage, “save the best for last?” It doesn’t apply here. The best happens first -- namely, an amazing, action-packed, thrilling and sometimes amusing symphony of inspired violence. Many people die.  In fact, they practically explode in the way a zombie explodes in any number of first-person shooter video games.  It’s a special effect Stallone and company employed in 2008's Rambo and they haven’t looked back.
Outside of that rather stunning opening sequence, The Expendables 2 relies heavily on gimmicky, nostalgic cameos, and dialogue and acting choices that range from mildly amusing to laughably bad, none of which could be taken seriously by anyone with intelligence and comprehension skills above a first-grade level.   I’m assuming that'll include just about everyone who sees this movie.   
Sure, there’s entertainment value, and some enjoyable moments and fun to be had seeing so many relics action stars from the 1980s doing their thing, but it all comes at the expense of killing brain cells and wasting your time.  While you have to admire Stallone’s commitment to such a terribly written character, The Expendables 2 probably would’ve had just as much entertainment value had it been a five-minute video.
One-and-a-half out of five stars.

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