FILM REVIEW: The Expendables 2 (15)

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EARLIER this year the New York Times Magazine declared the all-American action hero an “endangered species” but Sylvester Stallone and his posse of eighties action stars are back to prove otherwise.

The Expendables 2 comes off the success of the first instalment back in 2010, which Stallone wrote and directed.

This time the man formerly known as Rocky has decided to hand over directing duties to Simon West of Con Air and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider fame.

It’s a rip-roaring, machine gun-toting, cameo-fuelled spectacle that’s biggest challenge for the cinema-goer is clocking up the famous movie quotes that get a nod.

Take Schwarzenegger and his famous Terminator line: “I’ll be back”.

In this he says: “I’m back”, “I will be back”, “I’m sure to be back soon”.

At least that’s what it feels like. You get the picture.

But The Expendables 2 is a lot of fun – and pretty camp in its own violent way.

Stallone returns as Barney Ross, the goateed head honcho of a band of mercenary veterans that includes Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li) and newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan).

They’re brought together when Mr Church (Bruce Willis) enlists them for a seemingly simple job but things go awry and they are compelled to seek revenge in what’s described as “hostile territory”.

To be honest, who knows what’s going on with the plot?

It’s something to do with plutonium but plot isn’t the main priority in this old-school romp.

It’s really just an excuse to fit as many gun fights and explosions in as possible.

Clearly West really likes the blood splatter effect as uncredited extras are gunned down in their hundreds during the 102 minutes of action.

Fans of eighties action movies are going to love it as star after star make an appearance.

There’s also a hand-to-hand fight between Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who revels as the film’s arch villain Jean Vilain, while Schwarzenegger and Willis zoom around in a Smart car and martial arts legend Chuck Norris turns up for inexplicable reasons.

If you’re looking for the meaning of life, then The Expendables 2 won’t be for you, but then it never promises to offer anything other than bad-ass action. And there’s plenty of that.

Review by Susan Griffin

Released: August 16 (UK & Ireland)

No swearing, no sex, violence

Rating: 6/10