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Movie review: 'Expendables 2' is throwaway action trash

Published August 17, 2012 5:16 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.

movies@sltrib.com; nowsaltlake.com/movies —

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'The Expendables 2'

Opened Friday, Aug. 17, at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong bloody violence throughout; 102 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.