The Expendables 2: Extra Expendable

Better late than never, here's a review of The Expendables 2, an 80's action movie that is itself better late than never, right?

Okay, maybe not. The novelty kind of wore off for me after the first one, and I think half the value in this film lies in the fact that these icons of the genre had never been on the screen together. Except for that one time where they made the first Expendables movie.

(Note: As I composed this review I considered using the word "gorenography." Then I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary and learned that as splattery as this film was, it doesn't qualify. Also? I now know a thing that I wish I could un-know.)

Regarding the gore, of which there was quite a bit: can you portray war without decaliters of crimson syrup? Is it worth bothering with that question in the context of a film that is as much a satire as an homage to the excessively violent action films of the '80s? I have no answers, but if the visuals invoked by the question turn your stomach, you have been duly warned away from The Expendables 2.

I will concede that the film had some good moments. Chuck Norris told a Chuck Norris joke. Bruce Willis told Arnold Schwarzenegger "You've been back enough." Unfortunately, even the best lines were delivered as if the actors were told to act like they didn't know how to act. "Make this line sound like the dialog you did back in your Conan days, Arnold." "Sly, please try to act more like Arnold. We want wooden." "Mister Willis, Mister Norris, you two are going to have to dumb it way down. Stop acting, start reading from cue cards, okay?" Was bad dialog the thing we loved about movies like "Commando?" I thought it was something we put up with so that we could see decaliters of crimson syrup squibbously ejected from stunt men.

(Note: Since I don't get to use the word "gorenography," I'm inventing the word "squibbously," which means "spraying outward as if propelled by a squib [small sfx explosive]." As of this writing Google doesn't know about the word. Soon, however, Google will find it here. Next stop: THE WHOLE INTERNET.)

Honestly, the best part about this film for me was seeing it after GenCon with a bunch of Press Gangers from one of my favorite game companies. They loved the film, and their enthusiasm was infectious. That's probably why the movie comes in at #18 for me this year, instead of down around #25.

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