Susan Granger's review of 'The Expendables 2'
Blasting fire power, the geriatric goons are back, toting not only tons of ear-splitting explosives but also deadpan, self-parodying laugh lines.
Under the leadership of Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), the past-their-prime mercenaries -- including knife specialist Lee Christmas (Jason Statham),martial arts master Ying Yang (Jet Li), volatile sniper Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), demolition-skilled Toll Road (UCF's Randy Couture), weapons-savvy Hale Caesar (wisecracking Terry Crews), along with newcomer sharpshooter Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) -- are deployed to Nepal to rescue a Chinese businessman, along with Ross'
rival, Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger). They're then dispatched by CIA operative Mr. Church (toupee-less Bruce Willis) to retrieve something from the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the Balkans, taking along tech-savvy Maggie (Chinese actress Yu Nan). But when one of their team is viciously killed, vengeance becomes the motivating force against sadistic Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and his henchman Hector (Scott Adkins), who threaten the world with deadly plutonium.
Based on a story by Ken Kaufman, David Agosto and Richard Wenk, with characters created by David Callahan, it's scripted by Wenk and Stallone. Simon West ("The Mechanic") directs the mindless macho mayhem, while Lone Wolf Booker (Chuck Norris), single-handedly, manages to save everyone during an ambush as they're trying to help hapless miners who - once conscripted -- never return to their families.
Filmed primarily at Sofia's Nu Boyana Film studio in Bulgaria, one of the big shoot-em-ups is at Ploydiv Airport. During a staged explosion at Ognyanovo reservoir, 15 miles outside of Sofia, one stuntman, Kun Liu, was killed and another, Nup Sun, was critically wounded.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Expendables 2" is an action-packed, self-deprecating 7. It's reported that Nicolas Cage will join them for "Expendables 3."