The Expendables 2 grossed $289.2m off a budget of $100m at the end of its theatrical run showing a better performance but with a larger production cost largely due to the actors' salaries. The Expendables had a $80m budget grossing $274m globally so the sequel was more successful although it would've grossed about $330m if not for the mass murder in Colorado this year. Also, if a regular cast was chosen I doubt the production cost would surpass the $50m mark. Directed by Simon West this time around who is well-known for action flicks like Con Air (1997) and badly-known for flops like Stolen (2012). The writing by Richard Wenk and Sylvester Stallone with a plot following Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) offering the team a jail-free pass if they recover something for him but things get topsy-turvy after encountering the ruthless killer Jean Villain.
Willis and Schwarzenegger were both given more prominent roles this time and rightfully so. Chuck Norris was a waste and shows he doesn't have that movie flair any more. Luckily, he declined the 3rd's offer. Sylvester Stallone is known not only for starring in superb action flicks but also writing them. His 2006's Rocky Balboa was brilliant and this one was no less. The Expendables 2 boasts all one can expect: adrenaline-fueled sequences and impressive verbal exchanges between Stallone and Statham. The latter was the best performer from the heroes' side. More humour tones were added to the mix that really impressed the critics this time around. There was also an unannounced female addition this time around (Yu Nan). Dialogue delivery from other cast member is also worth-mentioning, especially from Dolph Lundgren, and it was better than the predecessor.
Though the cons of this film cannot be ruled out even with a blind eye. The plot is weak and the follow-through immensely predictable. The villains are played by Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins being more charismatic than the last time around. Van Damme declined the previous film's offer due to the fact he was to lose a fight against Jet Li. The role was changed to meet Lungren's specifications and he carried out well, and did the same this time. The settings were quite similar to the previous one's and the monotonous pacing irritating.
Also, the mega-brawl between Stallone and Van Damme was disappointing though Statham's no-holds-barred MMA battle with Adkins was the most superior in the franchise. Adkins is a great fighter if you've seen Undisputed 2 and 3.
But nothing compresses the action-packed mania and the Call of Duty shooting. This film was made specifically for males and whoever has a soft spot for action must catch this one.
The Expendables 2 is better than its predecessor still not showing any improvement over story. Mickey Rourke who played the tattooist in The Expendables was too busy to show up this time. Nicolas Cage confirmed for the next part (and he so needs a non-straight-to-DVD role). Liam Hemsworth was the only male addition to the heroes' squad.
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%.