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The Expendables 2 / Rated R for language, violence and restless old actors who just won’t give up

The original film, The Expendables, which should have been called “The Not Really Expendable,” came out in 2010. It wasn’t much of a film, consisting of a weak story line trying to support endless bloody violence and explosions. They wanted to release TE2 a year ago but had a problem. During the filming of TE they shot off virtually every round of blank ammunition in existence. Until more could be produced, a lot more, this film could not be made.

The main thing this series has going for it is the veteran cast. Since the cast is aging rapidly, they try to shoot the film in a hurry before anyone passes away.

Like the first film, TE2 stars Sylvester Stallone (66), Jason Statham (45), Jet Li (49), Dolph Lundgren (54), Terry Crews (44), and Randy Couture (49). This is the core group of The Expendables. Joining the group is a young guy played by Aussie actor Liam Hemsworth (22). To offset that bit of youth, Arnold The Barbarian (65) and Bruce Willis (57) are also back. Chuck Norris (72) came out of semi-retirement (he hasn’t acted since 2005) to show all the young ‘uns what tough really means. They also add action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme (52) as the villain. In case you don’t notice how evil he is, his character’s name is Villain.

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After a big opening sequence, the guys retire to the ERV (Expendable Retirement Village) where they party out on tapioca pudding while watching MacGyver reruns and challenging each other in quick-draw. One of their crew gets killed and the guys set off to get revenge. How? By killing everybody they can and blowing up everything not already blown up. The film was shot primarily around beautiful downtown Bansko, Bulgaria, a place this film would turn into a vacation retreat as soon as anyone gets an Oscar for their work on this series.

While Jet Li only appears in the opening scene, the actors given a short shift in the first film get a lot more screen time. Chuck Norris enters late but makes a big impression on everything and everyone in the film. He kills them and blows everything up that’s still standing.

A lot more fun than TE1, the dialogue and premise are done tongue-in-cheek. The lines work better and everybody makes fun of everyone else’s action films. The movie still contains graphic violence and death, as did TE1, but if you take out these scenes the film would only be about 10 minutes long.

Although I shouldn’t give this away, TE3 is already in the works – just as soon as more blank ammunition can be manufactured. Returning to the action genre will be Clint Eastwood (82) and Burt Reynolds (76). Clint says if this TE3 film works out for him he will also return as Harry Calahan in a project now tentatively titled Dirty Old Harry.

Rated 2.8 out of 4.0 reasons they are all young at heart.

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