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Stallone and Co. bring the boom
by Paul Gonzales
Aug 24, 2012 | 1743 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — Everyone who goes in to The Expendables 2 pretty much knows what to expect. Guns blazing, things exploding and a ton of one-liners. And that’s fine.

But it could be so much more.

For part deux, Stallone returns as Barney Ross, along with his merry band of mayhem makers, Lundgren, Statham, Li, Couture, etc.

Added to the list of geriatric G.I.s is Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris, along with slightly bigger roles for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, who had brief cameos in the first one.

There’s some plot about revenge and Stallone feeling sad about something, but basically the movie is about old action heroes trying to prove they can still kick butt, blow stuff up and shoot guns. Really big guns.

And that’s all fine and dandy, but why not give them actual lines of dialogue instead of corny one-liners that poke fun at their action star heydays.

Most of the time the one-liners are spoken as dialogue too, which is a bit odd and slightly annoying. Is this how they talk to their mommas?

Schwarzenegger eating breakfast, “Hey mom, I just terminated my pancakes!”

While almost all of the action stars are subpar actors, it never hurt them to try in the past. Here, they just read what’s on the page, which isn’t much.

But the one actor who has gotten overwhelmingly better over the years is Van Damme.

He’s proven over and over again that he can actually act in his straight-to-DVD flicks and especially in his award-winning film, JCVD, where he plays an unflinching caricature of himself as a washed up action star trying to see his kids.

Many audience members were brought to tears by his performance, and this is a must-see for any Van Damme fan.

But he’s completely wasted here. Sure, his portrayal of Jean Vilain is pretty awesome when he’s on screen, which is basically at the start and end of the film.

The final fight between him and Stallone was something no one ever thought they would see, and it’s pretty awesome, but it’s over way too quickly.

Van Damme’s straight to disc sequels for the Universal Soldier franchise have far better fight sequences, especially Regeneration, which features a nearly-15-minute fight scene with him taking on Lundgren as he did in the original.

And then there’s Norris.

He’s just here to please fans. He shows up, says something corny and walks off. Shows up again, says something cornier, walks off.

It seems as if he’s not even on the set with the other actors, and it’s hard to tell if his acting’s gotten worse or the lines are just that bad. He’s no Walker Texas Ranger in this one.

But the movie’s climax is the primary reason anyone went to see this in the first place.

Almost every living ’80s action star blowing the hell out of a lot of disposable bad guys.

And you can’t help but notice the grin on Schwarzenegger’s face as he fires off thousands of rounds, an act he seemed to miss while being the Governator. It proves he’s finally back, hopefully for good this time.

The movie lives up to it’s hype after all is said and done.

The audience gets exactly what they wanted by the time the credits roll, though maybe next time they’ll hire a better writer who doesn’t just watch ’80s action movies and pick out his favorite lines.

The entire cast seems to have a blast making these movies, so maybe for part 3 – and there will be a part 3 – we’ll actually get the rumored Clint Eastwood, and he’ll help get the story up to snuff.

The old guard just needs to stop making fun of themselves and start acting like the heroes they are to a legion of fans who still believe they can save the world.

Even if it’s just one movie at a time.

The Expendables 2 is playing at Rio 6 Cinemas, 806 E. Houston St.

Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.
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