The Expendables 2 is a man movie, hands down. Yes, it’s another sequel. But it’s more than just that. It’s an escape. It’s exactly what a big budget action blockbuster should be. Just as was the case with the action movies of the 80’s to which this franchise pays homage, it’s a chance for the intended audiences to turn off their brains and get away from the real world if only for about an hour and a half.
On the surface, The Expendables 2 is just another bang-bang shoot-em-up action flick aimed at one specific audience. But in watching the bonus feature, “Big Guns, Bigger Heroes: The 1980’s and the Rise of the Action Film”, audiences see that it’s more than just that. As the individuals interviewed in this feature note, the action flick of the 1980’s was exactly what audiences needed in comparison to everything going on around them. Having come off the back end of the political upheaval of the 1970’s, the 1980’s offered its own share of changes. So the action franchises of the 80’s (and 90’s) and their stars became more than just figures on screen. They became these larger than life figures who lived up to the reputation of the title, “Hero.” They were figures to whom their audiences could admire. Audiences of the 80’s needed heroes, just as today’s audiences need them, too.
The political and general world climate today openly necessitates the need for the movies in The Expendables franchise and their heroes. Stallone and company shine just as brightly in this franchise as they did in the respective franchises discussed in the movie’s main bonus feature. They are just as much the heroes today as they were in the movies discussed in this movie’s main bonus feature. They are still those larger than life figures. And there’s no doubt about them being heroes. Unlike so many of today’s movies, there are no flawed, conflicted, anti-hero types. The Expendables 2 presents Stallone and company as classic style heroes. To add to that clarity, audiences are also presented with a cut and dry story here. Everyone knows right off the bat who the good guys are. And it doesn’t take long for the script to reveal Jean-Claude Van Damme as the evil psycho bad guy. His intentions are made clear pretty quickly, too. Considering that this movie (without credits) runs just shy of the two-hour mark, the quick establishment of the cast and story make the rest of it fast moving and fun. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, as is evident with all the classic one-liners. It’s just a chance for audiences to escape the stresses of the outside world for a little while just as the classic action franchises of the 80’s were meant to do. Keeping that in mind, anyone who wants to get away from it all for a couple hours (bonus features included), then The Expendables 2 is a very good way to do just that. It will be available next Tuesday, November 20th, just in time to beat the holiday shopping rush. For those who want to get away from the shopping rush, it can be ordered online direct via the Lionsgate store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com.
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