Friday, August 17, 2012

Expendables 2

by Reymundo Salao

A good sequel is one that takes notes from its previous mistakes and consciously and obviously improves on it. Expendables 2 does just that and more. This sequel is like a billion astro-fireworks far above the previous film. This movie makes the other one look extremely dull, tastelessly bland, and utterly joyless. EXPENDABLES 2 does it right this time and manages to be more than just a better movie. It’s Incredibly and Ballistically Fun!
Anybody who tries to seriously judge this movie from a serious critic standpoint would simply find himself/herself looking and feeling stupid. The movie is one of those movies that you should not take seriously. Right off the bat, the violence is so unapologetic, so much so that it already has this surreal adult-cartoon vibe, the kind of thing you see in adult-oriented violent video games and Pinoy action comics from the late 80's. Some people may call it stupid; I call it immensely fun. It really is a cartoon for boys and men who love ballistic action. As the first action scene begins, I could not help but comment that this movie is just like that GI Joe cartoon I watched when I was a kid, but the difference is this one has an insanely pumped-up degree of explosive action and violence. The ridiculousness of the movie just enforces the idea that this obviously does emulate 80’s big action movies.

It’s not just the action; it’s everything about the movie, including its characters, and its story. The dialogues have that snappy wit and the characterizations are clearly defined. All that characters have a personality that shines enough for the audiences to notice and root for. The humor is spot-on funny. The references or the uses of famous lines and quotes from memorable movies may sometimes feel forced, but you quickly forgive it because it has that air of self-consciousness as if it was winking at the audience, looney tunes style. Even though there are absurd nitpick areas of unbelievability, it never goes out of being too fantastically absurd, and could be justified and argued with a thin line of plausibility.

The movie never takes itself too seriously. Even in some scenes which require a degree of heavy drama, it never dwells too much on that aspect because it will only cost the movie to drag, and besides, the audience gets what the scene is about; there's no need to elaborate on minor details that are self-explanatory.

Chuck Norris’ addition to the ballistic fray adds that slice of semi-surreal humor. Appearances of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis all pay off better this time because now they all get to do action scenes. I was quietly geeking out in awe at the fact that all these icons are having this big battle sequence fighting alongside each other. Action junkie orgasm indeed. But my favorite of all is Jean Claude Van Damme's appearance. I felt that Van Damme's role here is such a breakthrough performance that I guess that he could easily relaunch his career this time, in villain roles. It's because he really does make an immensely effective villain here. I think Van Damme should always play villains from now on.

EXPENDABLES 2 does really deliver what it sought to promise from the day the first movie was ever conceived. If you love the icons of 80’s action, this is the movie that you have been waiting for; a definite must-see for all you fun-loving action junkies. EXPENDABLES 2 does really get the mission accomplished.

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