Here it is, bloodhounds! Lionsgate has finally released a full-grown trailer for The Expendables 2, the sequel to Sylvester Stallone’s shameless and already beloved action team-up, and perhaps the most comprehensive genre ensemble piece since It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Watch first, and then we can talk.
Given the familiar ground we are treading here, this trailer lends itself to economical dissection.
1) Here there be ziplines! And jungles even more reminiscent of Predator.
2) Stallone and Statham are sticking with their trademark “standoff” banter. Fair enough.
3) This is a big year for the Hemsworth family. While Chris hoards Comic-Con prestige in The Avengers and the long-delayed Cabin In The Woods, little brother Liam is making equally titanic strides in the major franchise market as Gale in The Hunger Games movies and the young Turk sniper presumably under Sly Stallone’s wing in the freshly tweaked Expendables posse.
4) Dolph Lundgren really is back! It wasn’t all just a wonderful dream.
5) Jason Statham gets the costumed set piece, along with a ludicrous one-liner, that until this point in history always went by default to Arnold Schwarzenegger. What gives? The mainstream acceptance he has enjoyed since the previous film has apparently prompted Statham to lighten up on the straight man act. Right on.
6) Jet Li abides.
7) Multi-vehicle confrontations in all three dimensions. Dangerous rumblings of Rambo III. Spicy!
8) Jean-Claude van Damme: Supervillain. Res ipsa loquitur.
9) To star in a film, Chuck Norris only requires one split-second appearance in the trailer. The second will be given to him as a tribute.
10) Jason Statham and airboats? Wait, time out! How did I miss that Simon West of The Mechanic is directing in Stallone’s stead? Sweet! Capable hands! I’m no longer worried about this movie at all. I’m also choosing not to remember Con Air.
11) Oh, that explains it! In return for giving up the “man and knife” quip, Schwarzenegger gets to yell “I’m back!” and tear the door off a Smartcar.
12) There goes that darned aeroplane again.
THE DOWNSIDE: Still no discernible traces of Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, or Kurt Russell. Not even Peter Weller, for crying out loud! And couldn’t they have sublet Tom Hardy from Christopher Nolan for one day of shooting? The optimist in me views it as room for the hypothetical Expendables trilogy to grow yet more astounding. Hopefully one or more of these guys will appear early on in an Executive Decision-style prank. You know what I’m talking about. If you’re still reading this, you do.
Whatever you felt about the The Expendables, you are meant to feel ten times over about the sequel. That is about the most substantial analysis this trailer can stand. I know I will be at the front of the line when the film arrives to batter audiences senseless on August 17, 2012.