Movie review: ‘Expendables 2’ is throwaway action trash
Published: August 17, 2012 05:16PM
Updated: August 17, 2012 05:14PM
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This film image released by Lionsgate shows, from left, Yu Nan, Terry Crews, Sylvester Stallone, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren in a scene from "The Expendables 2." (AP Photo/Lionsgate-Millennium Films, Frank Masi)

The contest in “The Expendables 2” is to see what piles up fastest: Spent ammunition casings, stuntmen playing dead, or utterances of catchphrases past.

The band of mercenaries led by Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham are sent into a new mission by the same shadowy CIA chief (Bruce Willis), this time to bring back a secret file from a plane crashed in Albania. But the mission turns sour, and soon Sly & Co. are seeking revenge on Jean-Claude Van Damme’s bad-guy character, named Vilain. (No, really.)

The hacked-up script (Stallone apparently rewrote Richard Wenk’s earlier draft) drags whenever the characters stop to talk, but director Simon West (“Con Air”) makes sure the action sequences are plentiful and over-the-top with flying bullets and spurting blood.

There also are self-referential appearances by Arnold Schwarzenegger (who pairs up with Willis for a few scenes) and Chuck Norris (who gets to tell a Chuck Norris joke), to help audiences exactly how seriously to take this stuff — that is to say, not at all.

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‘The Expendables 2’

Now open at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong bloody violence throughout; 102 minutes.