The Botox budget must be bigger than the catering costs but less than the ordnance in this sequel to Sylvester Stallone’s first round-up of the 80’s and 90’s A-Team for an action extravaganza. That’s A as in AARP.
This time, our heroes: Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture, along with their summer intern and obvious redshirt Liam Hemsworth are on a rescue mission. I’m not going to bother with their character names because the point of this movie is the actors, not the characters.
The guy tied to a chair and about to be tortured is hooded, so you know we are in for a big wink-wink surprise, and yes, it is former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said, “This is embarrassing.” The group rescues him and the Chinese billionaire he was guarding and then literally drops the client off by tossing him out of a plane with Li to guide him down. Li wisely exits the movie at this point, so my hopes for a rematch with Lundgren were tossed out of the plane with him.
Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) calls in a favor that has Stallone and the gang out for a job he insists is simple. All they have to do is retrieve the contents of a safe in a plane that crashed. They will need to take Maggie (the “combat proficient” Nan Yu) along, despite Stallone’s grousing that he does not want to be anyone’s babysitter. Hemsworth comes along for what he says will be his last job because he wants to quit to be with his wonderful girlfriend. He might as well be wearing a sign that says DBTA.
Or, he could be wearing a sign that says, “I am here to let the bad guy show everyone how really, really bad he is. Here I am, cute as a kitten and calling everyone ‘Sir’ and sacrificing myself for the others, so he must be really, really bad.” We also know he is really, really bad because (a) he is played by Jean Claude Van Damme wearing very mean-looking sunglasses and (b) his character’s name is, I am not kidding, Vilian.
The over-the-hill gang engages in various shoot-outs punctuated by lame wisecracks that refer to their iconic roles. Do you want to guess whether someone says, “I’ll be back?” At its best, it’s like watching a theme park stunt spectacular, one set-up after another, with brief distractions as the guys bond by discussing what they would pick for their last meal or just by the usual macho put-downs. Not that any of these guys were great actors to begin with, but they are less so, now. Between the Botox and the scar tissue, their faces don’t really move anymore. As the movie goes on, Li’s decision to literally bail out seems like the wisest move.
Parents should know that this film includes constant mayhem, peril, and violence, chases, explosions, fights, assault weapons, many characters injured and killed, drinking, smoking, and mild sexual references.
Family discussion: What did Barney mean when he said “we keep it light until it is time to get dark.” Why did he agree to fight the bad guy without weapons?
If you like this, try: the earlier action films starring these actors and the first “Expendables” movie