Okay, this is far from a great film, as well as kinda far removed from even the cheesy fun of the first film (a film of which I said in my 2010 review, "There is a certain undeniable, if not embarrassingly so, enjoyment in watching this motley crew of, for lack of a better term, decades-gone has-beens." as well as, "What cold-hearted person can watch Sly and Lundgren interact without shedding at least one manly tear?") and it really holds no interest for anyone who is interested in anything more than just mindless and unarticulated action. Sure, as any other red-blooded American male, I like action films, but I am looking for an action film akin to something like The Wild Bunch or The Great Escape. Something with the chutzpah of Peckinpah or the bravura of Sam Fuller or John Sturges or even early Ridley Scott. It doesn't have to be The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, but it damn well better be better than what we are given here. Good god, even the original film, directed by Stallone himself, was enough to raise the testosterone-laden arousal levels of one's film watching to at least an acceptable level. A level that may not reach the aforementioned high water marks, but a level that at the very least gives some sort of cinematic enjoyment to some of its viewers.
What we get with part deux of the budding franchise, aside from lots of action, a few kick-ass hand-to-hand fight scenes and some pretty cheesy one-liners and genre-specific inside jokes - which may be enough for some, but not enough for me - is a lackluster retreading of the original film, which in its own right was nothing more than a retreading of some of the classic actioners mentioned here earlier, as well as many of the forgettable films that passed for action-fueled entertainment back in the 1980's. We get nothing original here. We get nothing that makes you sit up and say wow. We get nothing but mindless action. Granted, we get a lot of that mindless action, not to mention getting to see Chuck Norris telling a Chuck Norris joke, but that is all we get. The film is nothing more than an excruciatingly flat attempt at recreating what the first film had going for it - which wasn't really all that much in the first place. All The Expendables 2 ends up being is a series of mini-showcases for its stable of steroid-case super studs. Granted, it is fun to watch The Governator do his thing, and Dolph Lundgren has his moments (howzabout that!?), but overall...meh, at best. Even Jet Li (who receives third billing mind you) knows when to get out, as he disappears after the seven minute or so long prologue and never shows back up again. Perhaps we should all do this.