Sylvester Stallone and his creaky band of ageing action heroes return to the fray with The Expendables 2, hauling their battered musclebound frames into another old-school adventure and again hoping to coast home on the nostalgic goodwill fans have for superannuated tough-guys whose heyday was the 1980s.
If you saw the first film you know what to expect: frequent bursts of bullets and bloodshed interspersed by jokey exchanges that recycle the stars’ trademark quips. Stallone, Schwarzengger (in a bigger role than his cameo in the previous movie) and Willis are all here, as are Jason Statham (an action hero with more of a spring in his step than most of his co-stars), Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li (though he bails out of the story fairly early), plus wrestlers Randy Couture and Terry Crews and fresh-faced newcomer Liam Hemsworth.
This time, Stallone and Statham’s gang of mercenaries embark on what should be a simple in-and-out mission to a corner of the former Soviet Union, accompanied by enigmatic Chinese agent Maggie (Yun Nan). Of course, the assignment proves anything but simple. Soon enough the gang are duking it out with hordes of heavies to stop villain Jean-Claude Van Damme laying his hands on six tons of weapons-grade plutonium.
It’s all lunkheaded stuff, but the streak of self-mockery that runs through the film makes it more entertaining than you might expect.
On general release from Thursday 16th August.
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.