The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum



True story: Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stanley Kubrick got together in Heaven to make a movie. After years of painstaking work, they were finally ready to come back down to Earth and give the film to the people of the world. The day before they were about to descend the heavenly staircase, God himself handed them an advance screener of The Expendables 2. After watching the film Orson said, “Hey, Al and Stan… how the fuck are we supposed to compete with THAT?!?” They subsequently scrapped their film.

I guess what I am getting at here is this: The Expendables 2 is The Single Greatest Movie in the History of the Human Race.

Mark it on your calendar. August 17th, 2012. The date that changed history. The date The Expendables 2 came out. For now on, August 17th should be declared a national holiday. For then we could all have off work and stay at home to watch the greatest movie of all-time in the comfort of our own homes.

Star Wars… you had a good run. You spent the last 34 years being my all-time favorite movie. But now there is a new Numero Uno. Fittingly, there is a scene in the film where Dolph Lundgren wears a Darth Vader T-shirt. It’s almost as if you can see the baton being passed before your very eyes.

The Expendables 2 is an action movie fan’s wet dream. It’s that simple. This movie made me feel like I was twelve years old and having a fever dream where all my favorite action movie heroes gunned down hundreds of people, blew shit up, and said funny stuff afterwards. Seriously, Expendables 2 is like a mix tape of nonstop awesomeness, badassery, and kickassdom.

The opening scene perfectly sets the tone. Sly and the boys ride around in armored trucks blowing shit up and turning bad dudes into mists of red blood. This scene has everything. Guns, Kung Fu, motorcycles, helicopters, motorcycles flying into helicopters, jet skis, boats, planes… It’s just fucking awesome.

About halfway through this sequence, it kind of dawned on me what was making this scene so amazing. It was the fact that director Simon (Con Air) West was keeping the camera fucking still. I know it sounds stupid to say, but it makes a world of difference when the camera isn’t jumping all around. Seriously, there were times during this sequence where I could’ve sworn that they actually sprung for a tripod; something almost unheard of in modern action cinema.

Of course, the real reason that this movie is so fucking awesome is that we finally get to see Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis standing side by side gunning people down, blowing stuff up, and saying funny shit afterwards. This is the movie you wished Part One was. You have to wait until the third act for it to happen, but when it does; it’s glorious. There are so many amazing moments during the climax that it will make your mind boggle. For me, the dialogue was the best part. It’s one thing for an action icon to blow somebody away, but if they don’t say something funny afterwards, it’s kind of a moot point. Luckily, the dialogue in The Expendables 2 is some of the finest ever written. That’s mostly because the lines reference the stars’ other movies/classic lines/personal life, but that is pretty much why it rocks. I won’t spoil any of the awesome dialogue for you, but I will say that there was one line in particular that literally had me in the floor I was laughing so hard. Honestly folks, I can’t remember the last time a movie had me in the floor laughing.

It would almost be enough just to have the likes of Sly, Arnold, Bruce, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Scott Adkins all in one movie together. Shit, they probably could’ve just sat around drinking tea and it would’ve gotten Four Stars. But what makes The Expendables 2 The Single Greatest Movie in the History of the Human Race is that everyone gets their moment(s) to shine. Some get more opportunities than others (Jet Li peaces out rather early), but just seeing all these guys doing what they do best is an amazing cinematic experience.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at the scene where Sly fights Van Damme. Honestly, how many times have you been drinking with your buddies and had an epic conversation about “Who Would Win in a Fight Between [Insert Action Icons Here]?” This movie answers that question. What makes it so great is that Sly pretty much fights like Rocky and Van Damme is basically the Van Damme of old. Although he doesn’t do his famous split, he’s still in killer shape and does a couple of impressive roundhouse kicks. Of both men’s many screen fights; this is definitely one of the best.

The other Expendables get their licks in too. Statham has an awesome knife fight in a church, Terry Crews and Randy Couture get some cool little bits, Dolph has a couple of hilarious monologues, Jet has a great fight involving some frying pans, and Adkins gets a kickass fight with Statham in the end. And Arnold and Bruce get some wondrous moments together. Their scenes contain some of the biggest laughs in the movie, and indeed; screen history.

The one Expendable who actually surprised me the most though was newbie Liam Hemsworth. When I first heard he was in the cast, I felt it was a cheap attempt to lure in the younger Hunger Games crowd. But not only does he prove himself to be a solid actor, Hemsworth even manages to hold his own against this cast of heavyweights. He’s so good in this movie that I’m now actually considering watching that Hunger Games movie now. And one thing is for sure, Hemsworth’s brother Chris is on the wrong fucking team.

My favorite moment though belongs to Chuck Norris. There’s an amazing sequence in an airport where The Expendables go through about a million rounds of ammunition while blowing away bad guys. Chuck shoots this one dude and he lands onto a conveyor belt. As his body passes through the x-ray machine, Chuck keeps shooting. Then we get to take a look at the body on the security monitor and can see his skeleton writhing in the gunfire while blood spurts everywhere. What makes this scene great is the fact that that blood shouldn’t appear on an x-ray machine; just bones. But because it’s Chuck Norris we’re talking about here, the normal rules of nature don’t apply.

But by far the best performance in the film comes from The Muscles from Brussels himself, Jean Claude Van Damme as Jean Vilain. Forget that JCVD movie he did; this is his true comeback flick. There’s more sheer joy in his performance than I’ve ever seen him invest in a role. Even in his little dialogue scenes with Adkins, you can tell he relishes every line and plays his dialogue with a bit of an oddball twist. (I especially liked the way he said the word “challenge”: “Chah-Lann-Gah!”)

The Expendables 2 is quite simply The Single Greatest Movie in the History of the Human Race. Seriously. I say this without any hint of hipster irony. I’m not trying to be cool. This movie gave me the biggest buzz I’ve ever gotten from a movie. I have no criticisms of the film. Although I guess the only way they could’ve made the movie better would be if the film ended with a Captain America type scene where Sly finds Charles Bronson frozen in ice. (Or maybe a cameo appearance by Lee Marvin as God.)

Let me just put it to you this way. When the movie was over and the credits rolled, I gave my best friend a high ten. I’ve never given anybody a high ten for anything before. I’ve given millions of high fives; but never a high ten. Yes folks; it’s that fucking good. Scratch that; it’s the best.

Tags: .the greatest movies in..., action, also van damme, arnold, chuck norris, dolph lundgren, e, jason statham, jet li, kung fu, sequel, stallone, van damme, willis
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