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Movie Review

The Expendables 2

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence throughout.

Reviewed by: Russell Emory
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Action Adventure Thriller Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 42 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
August 17, 2012 (wide—3,200+ theaters)
DVD: November 20, 2012
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate Films

courage, bravery, self-sacrifice

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Copyright, Lionsgate Films

revenge

REVENGE, love can replace hatred—true story of a former Israeli soldier and an ex-PLO fighter who prove peace is possible-but only through Jesus Christ

Featuring: Sylvester StalloneBarney Ross
Jason StathamLee Christmas
Bruce WillisChurch
Liam HemsworthBill ’The Kid’ Timmons
Arnold SchwarzeneggerTrench
Jean-Claude Van Damme … Jean Vilain
Jet LiYin Yang
Chuck Norris … Booker
Dolph LundgrenGunnar Jensen
Charisma Carpenter … Lacy
Scott Adkins … Hector
Terry Crews … Hale Caesar
Randy Couture … Toll Road
more »
Director: Simon West—“Con Air,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “The Mechanic”
Producer: Millennium Films
Nu Image Films
more »
Distributor: Lionsgate Films

“Back for war”

Movies in this series: “The Expendables” (2010), The Expendables 2 (2012), The Expendables 3 (2014)

When you go into a movie like “The Expendables 2,” I hope you don’t expect to see high art, because you will be sorely disappointed. Sylvester Stallone is back as Barney Ross, the leader of a mercenary team that feature Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, and Liam Hemsworth, yes Chris Hemsworth’s little brother. Ross and his team are introduced in an over the top action sequence in which they must rescue a Chinese businessman and, unbeknownst to them, Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger), one of Ross’s competitors.

After this over the top sequence, the team is hired by Church (Bruce Willis) to retrieve an item from a safe on a plane that crashed in Albania. Maggie (Yu Nan) is added to the team at the request of Church to assist in the retrieval from the safe. While in Albania, the team is ambushed by terrorist Jean Vilian (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who steals the item and kills a member of Ross’s team. Ross vows to hunt Vilian down and avenge his teammate. Along the way, Ross and his team receive assists from Chuck Norris, and eventually Willis and Schwarzenegger.

The profanity is limited throughout the movie. Limited for a movie that is rated R. The s-word is used less than 15 times, and the a-word less than 5 times. There are 2 sexual innuendo jokes that are mild and could be missed if you’re not looking for them.

The R rating comes from the violence, and there is a lot—some of it bloody. The violence is extreme, and, while at sometimes bloody, the blood and gore is kept to a minimum. There are a couple of disturbing scenes where the good guys kill bad guys, but again on a scale of graphicness, we are talking about a 4 out of 10 when it comes to blood and guts. There are only three or four times where you get a good look at the blood, and that is kept to shots of 5 seconds or less. There is also a scene where a character is beheaded by a tail rotor on a helicopter.

Morally speaking, there is not much to the movie. There are issues that pop up. Ross’s team helps a small Albanian village whose men have been pressed into slave labor in mines by Vilian’s group, but Ross and his team do the job more to get at Vilian, rather than help the villagers. If you want to give the film a moral rating based on characters’ actions, you would have to give it an F, just based on the fact that these men kill without remorse and make jokes about it.

Spiritually, as little as there is morally, there is less spiritually. There is a scene that may offend man, where Jason Statham’s character poses as a priest in the village’s church and ruthlessly kills the men that have come for the village’s children to work in Vilian’s mines. Many would find that kind of violence in a church unsettling and offensive. Other than that, there is not much spirituality in this movie. God is not mentioned, Van Damme mentions the goat as being the pet of Satan, and the church in the village is just there; it serves no purpose, other than as a venue for an action sequence.

Overall, I can see how many would be offended by this movie, but this movie is mild compared to what it could be. I would warn that if you are offended by violence, and it is extreme in this movie, stay away. I personally found the violence so extreme, it almost became comical. The action is over the top and unrealistic, but I think that is what the filmmakers were going for. The action sequences are well executed, and, for the most part, the aging stars have a great sense of humor about themselves and the absurdity of the action. I, at times, had a hard time distinguishing when to laugh or just sit back and enjoy the ride.

If you go see this movie and are offended by the violence, don’t say you weren’t warned. This movie is rated R for bloody violence, plain and simple. This is one movie where I am just going to present the information and let the viewer decide for themselves.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Now, first of all this is more of a comedy action film than a serious action thriller. Like the introduction of Chuck Norris and the mention of Chuck was bitten by a cobra (and after five days of agonizing pain the cobra died) and the fun dialogues like “Aren’t we all (dinosaurs)” again, Dolph Lundgren as “brainy” nutcase (in fact, the actor holds a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering and a Fulbright scholar at MIT(!) (both mentioned in the movie). Yes, he is a Rhodes Scholar with a Ph.D, from Oxford and a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT! Believe it!)

In one scene when Arnold Schwarzenegger says “I will be back” only to get a retort from Bruce Willis, “You’ve been back enough—now, I will be back” and ran off. And Schwarzenegger mutters, “Yippi ka yay” (without the swearing). Fun parts aside, there is no sexual situations or swearing (thanks to Chuck Norris, as a Christian he insisted “no swearing in the movie, for participating in the E2 project.) But the graphic violence is extreme, there is head exploding, bloody fights (one fight inside a church) which I wouldn’t recommend for young viewers. If you are going to watch the movie, watch it as an action thriller, and prepare for some bloody and gory scenes. And don’t expect much…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Cyril Thomas, age 32 (United Kingdom)
Positive—I went to see this with my dad and brother on opening day, because it had Chuck Norris, and he is my favorite action actor. I knew it was rated R, but I had not seen what for, I assumed Violence and language, but had not seen a listen to be sure.

The trailers were worse then the movie. When I say movies rated R for language and violence and sexuality, I was worried about what the movie might contain. While there was one kiss, there was nothing that I would be embarrassed to see sitting next to someone who knew I was a Christian. I appreciate that while the filmmakers put a little romance in the movie, there was nothing sexual about it. The violence was prolific and graphic throughout, but that should not come as a shock to people when they see the names of the stars and the promotional material.

I really enjoyed the way the actors played on the fact that they had been around awhile. At the end, when the actors are given an old prop plane to go home in, one comments that it belongs in a museum. Another one retorts that they all belong in a museum. Overall, if you can stand the blood and violence, I think it is a good movie for older teens to see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Matthew K, age 21 (USA)
Positive—I did not see this film in theaters. I saw it on DVD. After the action-in-the-dark “Fun” in “The Expendables,” I was hoping that the sequel would at least have some, if not all, of the action occurring in daylight. When I read that Chuck Norris (“Walker Texas Ranger”) had joined the cast and requested that the swearing be removed as the sole condition for him to appear in the film, I was pleased to read that there are some Christians in Hollywood who stand up for their faith (sadly, not enough do; but I digress). I was even more pleased when I read that the producers of the film (in addition to starring in and producing the flick, Stallone was also a co-screenwriter) had acquiesced to Mr. Norris” request and all strong profanity was eliminated from the script.

“The Expendables 2” delivers in every way. Action scenes in daylight, great bits of humor scattered throughout (including a clever reference to the final installment of a trilogy made in the late ‘60s, and a few references to terrific action/sci-fi movies made in the ‘80s) and, refreshingly, NO misuse of God’s Name (i.e., The Name of God combined with a mild curse word). There are also NO F-words (rare for an R-rated film). There is only moderate profanity, which I assume Mr. Norris was okay with (he doesn’t curse in the movie), since he didn’t disown the film or ask to be removed from the final cut of the picture.

The R rating is for strong bloody violence throughout. The acting is also top-notch, as you might expect in a film starring some of the biggest action heroes of the past two decades. If you can stomach bloody violence, I recommend this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—D, age 26 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I read a viewer’s comment on this movie. He said that because Chuck Norris was in this movie that Chuck would not allow any cuss words. Not true, the movie had cuss words. I never pay to see movies where women are kicking the heck out of men and beating them up or are killing men with the guns in their hands. This is ridiculous. So I looked at the ads of the movie; the picture showed nothing but all men (action movie stars) lined up, as the fighters. I says to my wife, look a Hollywood movie with all men as the fighters and no women; let’s go see it. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Robert, age 65 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I went to go see this movie, by myself, and it was a really good movie, it really didn’t have a huge story; it was just a fun shoot em” up movie, and I would go see it again. This movie had very minimal swearing, but had a lot of violence. There was also some funny humor in it, but it was subtle humor. It was a great movie for ages 14+.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Zac, age 14 (USA)
Positive—Funny, but lacking a substantial story. The cast was excellent, and the jokes were great. But they replaced story with action. Good overall, with minor bad language.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Noah C., age 14 (USA)

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