Watching them is a guilty pleasure, but it’s mostly guilt.
Have you ever spent two hours wondering why you’re staring at an overstuffed sausage? Watching Stallone in The Expendables 2 feels a little bit like that, especially when they give you closeups of his veiny, muscular arms. Or maybe the experience is more like watching a slightly stiff bulldog trying to be more athletic than its bulky frame will allow. It charges about at decent speed, its jowls swinging back and forth determinedly as it tries its best to be fierce and intimidating… yet from the safe distance of my screen, it looks more funny than frightening.
That failed delivery might be the real take away message here. I never watched the first movie, so I don’t know whether this is true for both of them, but The Expendables 2 feels like someone has distilled the essence of the overblown action movie and made an occasionally palatable bounce liquor* instead of something really worth drinking. There were moments when its ridiculousness so exceeded my expectations that I couldn’t help but marvel at it, but for the most part it wasn’t as good as the vintage it was attempting to refine. I say ‘for the most part’ because there are some truly terrible action movies out there, and I don’t want to go to the effort of deciding how this compares. I’m pretty sure it’s better than some of them, if only because The Expendables 2 clearly had more budget for stuntmen and action scenes.
Speaking of “more”…