With what has to be the biggest collection of action movie stars from the 80s and 90s, Simon West directs Sylvester Stallone and his mercenary group, The Expendables, in a cracking, all-guns-blazing action movie.
With a lot more than just cameo roles as in the first movie, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger augment the attack on your eyes and ears which have already ready been battered by the barrage from the likes of Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and even the legendary Chuck Norris.
Willis plays Church, a CIA operative, who “persuades” Stallone’s character, Barney Ross, into what seems to be a simple job to retrieve an item from a crashed plane.
He also insists that Ross takes another operative with him, Maggie, played by Nan Yu, to ensure the job gets done to his standard.
Joined also by Liam Hemsworth as Billy the Kid, Ross and his crew seem to be doing just fine until the film’s bad guy, revealed to be another old action star, Jean-Claude Van Damme, playing the aptly named Vilain, decides he will take the item from them for his own gain.
Learning of this “hiccup” Church decides to get personally involved and with Trench, played by Schwarzenegger, they provide the extra ammunition needed in the fight against “The muscles from Brussels!” as Van Damme is also known as.
It is a great film if all you want to do is sit back, relax, but your brain into neutral and just enjoy the ride.
The story does not purport to be cerebral and is very simple with no big twists or reveals.
It is a throwback to the period from which most of the actors gained their fame, with lots of fighting, bullets, explosions and of course the cheesy one-liners.
Importantly though, it acknowledges the deliberate “cheese” factor with cleverly worked lines and interactions between the characters, particularly during an incident between Willis and Schwarzenegger.
This is what should make it appealing to fans of the 80s action genre.
I have to say it also employs one of the best opening sequences that I’ve seen in a movie for a long time.
Now that just about every iconic action figure has been involved across the two movies, it really should be the final mission for this crew.
However “The Chef”, or as he is better known, Steven Seagal, hasn’t been recruited yet and as someone still likes to tell us that “He’ll be back” I dare say there may still be time for one last mission…..