I enjoy a good mindless romp from time to time. It's like a palette cleansing. There are so many movies that I watch, and I know that there is supposed to be a deeper meaning, that one just needs to watch some mindless fluff. And as a person who enjoys a good action flick from time to time, going to see this was an easy choice.
Like the previous film, this one starts off with Sylvester Stallone's ragtag group of mercenaries on a mission. A mission that this time has absolutely no real bearing on anything else that happens. The first one used that opening scene to full advantage, setting up the betrayal story of Dolph Lundgren. This time, it serves no such purpose. Instead, it manages to do little more than give the movie a reason to open up with scenes of extreme violence, and whatnot. Already, my mind is having to pay attention to less.
...Well, that isn't entirely true. The opening scene does have one major impact on the rest of the film, in that it conveniently writes one of the characters out of the script. The sad bit being, that he was probably my favorite character of the bunch.
After that, there is just some random set up for future scenes. Liam Hemsworth gets established as what I like to call "Motivational Fodder". That is to say, he exists for no other reason than to give the team motivation for pretty much everything in the film.
Up to that point in the movie, the action had been fairly light, other than that opening sequence, I do not recall much of anything happening. Don't worry, there is a lot of nothing happening coming up, too. In fact, there are only three real "movements" in the orchestra of violence. The opening scene, The closing scene, and one more in the middle. this leaves the movie feeling as if they were trying to provide more story and/or character development. Which is precisely what this movie didn't need.
This movie, and its predecessor exist almost exclusively as nostalgic throwbacks to a bygone era. These are love letters to the action movies of the 80's and when you attach too much plot, things falter. The movie needs more of the old ultra-violence, and less of Sylvester Stallone's group talking. We established early on they are mercenaries, that is honestly ALL the motivation they need. You don't need to appeal to emotions.
The first movie, was a pure, concentrated shot of testosterone. A man's movie to end all man movies. It reveled in two of the three vital elements of a proper man movie... Namely, Boom and Blood. But, it failed to deliver on the trifecta, the holy trinity of the man's movie, the third B... Boobs.
This movie is pretty much the same. Boom, Blood... no Boobs. But like an aging man, the testosterone level has fallen. This is not to say it is a bad flick, for what it is. But it will never manage to go down in history as one of the great action flicks.
Recommendation: The movie is a decent little romp. The action is a little light at times, but when it kicks into high gear, it is pretty fun. Guys will likely enjoy the film, and the ladies will likely walk away feeling like the guy that dragged them in owes them big time... Honestly, it is worth a view, but only one and it begs the question...
Is it Theater-worthy: No. The explosions are big, the violence is big, but honestly there is nothing here that demands a big-screen viewing. It is the type of big stupid fun that is going to play great on that big screen HD-TV you have hidden down in your man cave, though. But I don't know that I can even recommend that you pay for the Blu-ray... Perhaps you can wait for it to show up on Netflix, or perhaps an HD Premium channel?
Final Thoughts: As I've said, this film is fun. Sure, it has lulls, but I can't help but wonder if those aren't intentional bathroom break moments? Tossing in Chuck Norris was a fun bit, and him making mention of a Chuck Norris "fact" makes for a decent wink at the audience. Overall, though the movie is worth it for the action scenes, and the final major movement is a major call back to the action flicks of yesteryear.
Frank's Final Score: 7 out of 10