Every now and then there comes a film that is so boldly…ambitiously…dare I say courageously…bad, that it must be seen to be believed. A movie where simply saying to your friends, “It’s terrible. Don’t see it.” does not suffice. If you’re a movie geek, you know them well. The rubber lips in Batman and Robin, the wrecking ball testicles in Transformers 2, the alien “computer virus” in Independence Day. These classic…ly bad stinkers together form a unique sub-genre. One I call the Hilarrible Film: Hilariously Terrible flicks that make you think, “Wow. A lot of very very rich people got together in one room and agreed on this”, as you laugh your ass off at Shia Labeouf swinging through the Brazilian jungle like Tarzan.
I had the privilege and pleasure of going to see The Expendables 2 this afternoon. Yeah, I saw the first one, so the second one sucking bananas isn’t much of a surprise, but still…DAMN. This new entry not only ups the washed-up-action-star ante but also tries to be a bit more tongue-in-cheek than the first. However, just because a movie is self-deprecating doesn’t mean it’s cleverly self-deprecating.
Lemme see if I can break down the plot for you…
…hmm. Drawing a blank. Well, I tried.
Ooh! Ooh! I got it. Stuff blows up and like 50 Macho Dudes over 50 (save one 20-year old outlier), say stupid one-liners. Yup. That’s about it. Oh, and there were some refugees or something and the phrase “weapons grade plutonium” was tossed around with reckless abandon.
Here’s a list of all the Macho Dudes in the movie:
Terry Crews was cool but all I could think about was his Old Spice commercials and I’d just laugh every time he showed up.
Randy Couture was cool but all I could think about was his freaky MMA ears and I’d just gag every time he showed up.
There’s a reason Jet Li doesn’t talk much in his films. It’s because he sounds like a 5-year old. He did use a frying pan quite well without actually frying anything, so that makes up for it.
Dolph Lundgren plays a Chemical Engineering major. Correction: a PSYCHOTIC MERCENARY Chemical Engineering major. I considered that in undergrad myself, but ultimately stuck with English Lit.
Jason Statham. In this movie he actually says, “I now pronounce you man and KNIFE!” Then he totally kisses a dude right on the lips. Tongue and everything. Just kidding he stabs him.
Bruce Willis. Man, I love Bruce Willis. He’s kinda the only dude in this movie who’s still putting out good stuff. They musta dropped up a big ole dump truck full of money onto his driveway. That or Jet Li showed up with a contract at his house brandishing a frying pan.
Chuck Norris is in the movie for one purpose and one purpose only. And that is to tell a Chuck Norris joke.
Jean-Claude Van Damme played The Villain. And his name was Villain. Self-deprecating, but not cleverly self-deprecating. Villain’s mother obviously did not have high hopes for her son. Maybe I’ll name my firstborn child Stripper.
Arnold Schwarzenegger. I think Arnie’s developed some kind of Catchphrase Tourette’s or Terminator Dementia or something because it seems like every time he appears he’s going, “I’ll be back!” or “I’m back!” or “I terminate you!” or some variation therein. I swear, you could have a conversation with him about cooking a pork roast and he would slip a catchphrase in there somewhere.
Liam Hemsworth (aka The 20-year old Outlier). This kid’s got a future. He had what was easily the awesomest line in the movie and it wasn’t even a one-liner. Okay, picture him tearfully performing a Heartfelt Sensitive Tough Guy Monologue to The Hot Chick during one of the movie’s slower moments. This is an excerpt. And I quote:
“Then when I got back to the village I found out that they had killed this stray dog that I’d adopted.”
Paging Team America, you have a phone call.
Sylvester Stallone. So Sly, buddy, we all thought about it, and we think you should stop making movies. What? No your movies are great! They’re just…you know…great. It’s not that. We’re just worried you’re gonna hurt yourself is all. Maybe cut down on the ‘roids a little bit? I mean, honestly, I’m not sure the human forearm is supposed to have that many veins.
This movie most definitely belongs in the Hilarrible Collection. Right up there with Armageddon and one of my favorite crap classics, Mac and Me. You have to see it to believe it. Come to think of it, maybe The Expendables 2 actually can be summed up in so many words. Maybe it really is this simple: “It’s terrible. Go see it.”