Action-hero folly

2012-08-18 08:41

Film: The Expendables 2 (Ster-Kinekor)
Director: Simon West
Featuring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme
Rating: 6/10

The other day I caught a few minutes of Jean-Claude Van Damme at his physical prime in 1988’s Bloodsport – quite a sight.

Which is an expression you could use to describe his appearance in The Expendables 2 as the villain – and not in a good way. He’s looking pretty ropey, and though he can still pull off his signature roundhouse kick, his bingo wings when he raises his arms to surrender are a sight no teen Van Damme fan (that’s me!) should have to see.

The Expendables 2 is a lot like a multicar pile-up – you know you might see something you’ll regret, but you can’t help looking.

Also, though it’s full of guys who are way past old enough to know better, and the plot is as holey as the lines are cheesy, it’s really hard not to laugh along and enjoy the ridiculously far-fetched, blood-splattered story.

The Expendables is a camped-up version of an action-hero movie from the genre’s heyday – when Arnie threatened to be back, when Sly wore a bandana with meaning and when Bruce Willis’ “yippie-ki-yay!” made Alan Rickman quake in his boots.

And the cast of has-beens doesn’t stop there.

Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews all line up for their turn to shoot big guns and deliver cheesy lines.

The only guy under retirement age is Jason Statham, who represents the newer generation of bad-ass butt-kickers in the proud tradition of a man who can’t act his way out
of a high school audition.

Youngster Liam Hemsworth is there to get them all to strap up their old knees and put in their gum guards for a last hurrah of glorious revenge.

The oestrogen quota is filled by Nan Yu, a Chinese actress with martial arts skills that rival Li’s, and her acting ability is straight out of the Stallone playbook of never-changing expression.

The first Expendables made the mistake of taking the whole thing far too seriously.

This time the old-timers have come to the showdown with their tongues firmly in their cheeks.

Now Sly’s action-herofolly is truly worth it for all the has-been fans.

» Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala

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