‘Expendables’ delivers nostalgia for action flick

Brent Bader, IVLeader Columnist

The original “The Expendables” was a tribute film to the action movies of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were only a few of the stars pumping out high-adrenaline and action packed movies on a regular basis.
As time has gone on movies have “matured” and incorporated more engaging stories and more realistic fight scenes while the action movies of old have fallen to the wayside, with a few exceptions.
“The Expendables” was a weak first entry into the series with the overall pacing feeling slow at times and a few characters were underutilized, leaving some to believe that these types of movies should stay in the past, however, “The Expendables 2” is a great improvement over the original and manages to hold its own as one of the better summer action movies this summer.
The story is very basic and is used to move the characters along the path of set pieces which Stallone and the cast destroy at every turn.  The lackluster plot is strengthened by a more interesting villain this time around, played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, who manages to be a much more physical villain for the protagonists and feels like a much greater threat and match for Stallone and his crew.
The action is non-stop and is filmed much nicer than the previous movie which suffered from dark scenes and extreme close-ups during a few fight sequences, which may be in part due to the new director on this film Simon West.
The comedy is corny and the action is over the top, which in turn will cause the audience to roll their eyes on more than one occasion but it never diminishes the film in any way and only reminds the nostalgic of the old action movies of the ‘80s.
The cast works well together and they feel like much more of a team than the previous movie with a small problem being a few cast members making only small appearances, including Jet Li who played a much bigger role in the first movie.
The film stands out in a time where action movies have become very serious and realistic, so that a call back to the movies of old actually feels refreshing and entertaining as long as the audience knows what sort of movie they are getting when they go to “Expendables 2.”
While you may enjoy the movie much more if you have watched and enjoyed older ‘80s action movies starring these actors, even those looking for a non-stop action packed movie should leave the theatre entertained.