You OLD daredevils: Nonsensical plots, mindless action – but Sly and Arnie prove they're not ready for their bus passes yet
22:27 GMT, 16 August 2012
Cinema needed to make an attempt this week to attract big audiences after the fortnight of verve, ambition and world-beating effort we’ve been privileged to experience in our living rooms.
So it’s disappointing to see Hollywood’s lazy over-dependence on sequels and ‘reboots’ — that’s virtual remakes to you and me — yet again.
The biggest guilty pleasure turns out to be an action film starring three men well past their prime: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.
Back for more: (From left) Arnold Schwarzenegger, Syvlester Stallone and Bruce Willis, let rip in Expendables 2, but are the trio a bit past it to be playing action heroes
The first Expendables movie proved nostalgia is alive and well by grossing $274million worldwide when Stallone and Jason Statham led a team of virile but aged mercenaries to risk their lives for a young woman theyd barely met
You may recall the first Expendables movie — which proved nostalgia is alive and well by grossing $274 million worldwide — when Stallone and Jason Statham led a team of virile but aged mercenaries to risk their lives for a young woman they’d barely met.
This time around they’re just as improbably aiming to take revenge on a fiendish European villain (who’s even called Vilain, and played as an out-and-out bad guy by Jean-Claude Van Damme).
He has murdered one of Stallone’s younger chums (Liam Hemsworth), a handsome sniper whose demise is foreshadowed so many times that his death comes as a relief.
Goodies (including new member Nan Yu) and baddies alike are trying to get hold of plutonium, a battle that involves lone mercenaries played by Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger turning up when our heroes need a deus ex machina.
Bruce Willis also appears at several points for no obvious reason other than to show solidarity with his fellow action stars.
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In the new film Sly and the crew are aiming to take revenge on a fiendish European villain (whos even called Vilain, and played as an out-and-out bad guy by Jean-Claude Van Damme)
The plot doesn’t make a lick of sense, purely existing to generate ambushes, chases and explosions.
Former high-diver Statham and martial-arts star Van Damme get to do most of the action, virtually all of which is incredible but not always in a good way.
Our Olympic gold-medal-winning shooter, Peter Wilson, would certainly envy the heroes’ ability to fire with pinpoint accuracy while abseiling.
And feminists may not appreciate the scene where the lads are ambushed by women, none of whom can shoot straight.
I’d love to see our cheery new boxing champ, Nicola Adams, sort out these antediluvian chumps. Wit is in short supply, too. Arnie gets to say ‘I’m back’ a lot, which has become his equivalent to Bruce Forsyth’s ‘Nice to see you, to see you nice’.
The biggest laugh comes when one of the bad guys is shot to smithereens by five good guys, whereupon Stallone grunts ‘Rest in pieces!’ The repartee is not Wildean.
Willis makes the obvious point — that most of these characters belong in a museum.
So does the film, but it’s fun in a primitive kind of way (no CGI tricks are involved) and directed by Simon West with more energy than the earlier film — which was directed by Stallone, seemingly under heavy sedation.
It’s West’s best since Con Air 15 years ago. But that’s not saying much, as his recent output has included an inferior remake of a Michael Winner film (The Mechanic), another poor remake of a woman-in-peril shocker (When A Stranger Calls) and the teeth-grindingly awful Lara Croft Tomb Raider. He’s not going to be winning Oscars any time soon.