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August 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Given the surprising success of the original The Expendables, Lionsgate quickly ordered a sequel, and voilá, just two years later, here it is — and it’s nabbing more favorable reviews than its predecessor. Mind you, most of those reviews appear to be written reluctantly. Neil Genzlinger in the New York Times, for example, remarks that the best way to watch “this mindless movie” is by laughing at it, “which is the only way to choke it down.” The movie, he concludes, “is pleasantly dumb fun if you watch it with the right mind-set.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times notes that the movie’s “kill count reaches into the ca-zillions.” No matter, she writes, “somehow all that testosterone-infused blow-‘-em-up craziness turns out to be kind of a kick.” “Entertainingly cartoonish,” is the way Claudia Puig describes it in USA Today. And although she calls it “corny, barbaric and sometimes visually murky,” she notes that it’s really “not meant to be anything more than silly fun, with an all-star cast of mature hunks engaging in shameless action flick cliches and capitalizing on audience nostalgia.” And Lou Lumenick in the New York Post commends the filmmakers for serving up “a planeload of thickly sliced, well-aged beef and ham amid lots of stuff getting blown up.” (And while there’s nary a word of criticism in his review of the movie, he winds up giving it only 2 1/2 stars.) Not all of the critics are so generous with their praise. Newsday‘s Rafer Guzmán calls it “generally a carbon copy of the first film: mildly amusing but deeply unsatisfying.” And John Anderson in the Wall Street Journal figures that the movie isn’t really made for Americans. “It’s mostly for those vast overseas audiences who eat this stuff up, made global stars of Mr. Stallone and Mr. Schwarzenegger in the first place, and helped turn grunting into the Esperanto of the action movie. Fewer words, fewer subtitles. It’s always been about economics.”