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August 31st, 2012

Movie Review - The Expendables 2

The Expendables 2

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lungdren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Nan Yu, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, Charisma Carpenter, and more...

Directed by: Simon West Screenplay by: Richard Wenk and Sylvester Stallone Story by: Ken Kaufman, David Agosto, and Richard Wenk Based on the characters by: David Callaham Cinematography by: Shelly Johnson Original Music by: Brian Tyler

Premise: When a supposedly easy mission turns bad and takes the life of one of their own, the Expendables won't rest until they've gotten revenge.


1) Acting - Thumbs Up: There wasn't much for most of the actors to act to, but what there was was well done. Stallone did a great  job. Van Damme was an awesomely nasty bad guy. It was definitely fun watching them all prancing about with guns blazing.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Great explosions! Tons of weapons fire during different parts of the film and they actually would run out of bullets, trying for a feeling of authenticity. It even had daring airplane lift offs and landings. Plenty of special effects entertainment for all.

3) Plot/Story - Neutral: The beginning of the film with the extraction/rescue plan was probably the best part of the whole movie. It truly showed the extent  of Expendables' skills. Then the story unfortunately turned into an unimaginative romp with too many winks to the audience with regards to in-jokes and other slipped in bits. Some were quite funny, but others fell flat. While seeing Chuck Norris was great, he got thrown in as a "Deus Ex Machina" at least once in the film. Some of  the others were also treated this way.

I was pretty miffed at the convenient way they got Jet Li's character to leave after the intro mission was over to make room for the character of Maggie. Though his 'fry pan' martial arts was totally enjoyable, it wasn't enough to make up for the big gap caused in the group with the departure of his character. It was almost as if the writers were afraid of having two characters doing martial arts. Which is silly as there can never be enough martial arts in an action film.

The jokes, like I said, were plentiful. Some were subtle, others were not. "Total Recall", "Die Hard", and even those online jokes about Chuck Norris made an appearance. I believe even the tattoo Van Damme wore as part if his 'bad guy' persona was an in-joke to one of his films.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Great stunts. Kudos to the stuntmen standing in for our favorite older action heroes, especially during the final battle sequence. The only sequence with any issues was during the forced plane landing. The area of danger with Magggie was done in super shaky cam. Rather than add to the danger, it made the sequence incredibly difficult to see, making it lose any impact on the viewer of the possible loss of the new teammate.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Thumbs Up: Lots of foreign locations and interesting places were in the film. I especially enjoyed the cool structure of the mountain mines in Russia.

Conclusion: "Expendables 2" delivers on a ton of action, explosions, and gun play, but the plot left a lot to be desired. I didn't personally feel it came close to the original in overall satisfaction. But it definitely was awesome seeing all those big action stars on the big screen again.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Seeing for Matinee)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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