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The Wall-to-Wall Macho Violence of The Expendables 2

Mostly, though, the movie is content to play to its audience of macho 40-plus men, with nary a sighting of Kirsten Dunst. Willis, who had a walk-on in the first movie, is back as a suspicious spymaster who sends the Expendables into Albania to find a safe, hidden in the wreckage of a downed plane, that turns out to contain blueprints for a uranium mine bursting with tons of the precious metal, even though just a few pounds of it could be enough to change the nuclear balance of power. He orders team leader Barney Ross (Stallone) to take along a new character, Maggie Chen (Chinese star Nan Yu), who seems thrown in specifically to make the movie marketable in China. Ross says he’s not interested in being a “babysitter,” but of course Maggie will turn out to be as ferocious a killing machine as any of the boys (though, because this movie is traditionalist at heart, she is left standing on the sidelines for the climactic fight scene).

When Team Expendable finds the downed aircraft with the invaluable blueprints, they get waylaid by a rival band of hired killers led by a ruthless kick-boxer who is so evil his name is actually Vilain. Also, he’s played by Jean-Claude Van Damme. Vilain’s villains are nasty and sadistic (also they think it would be fun and interesting if tons of weapons-grade uranium were suddenly let loose on the world market) but it hardly makes sense for them to do something guaranteed to give Barney’s men a lust for vengeance without taking an easy opportunity to simply kill their rivals. (The Expendables are persuaded to lay down their weapons for the sake of a hostage and are defenseless for several minutes.)