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Here’s the deal: the Expendables 2—in an era of superhero movies and fake, unrealistic special effects— revives a very welcome genre of classic, old-school action. It is, and what should be, THE definition of an action movie.

Sylvester Stallone (as Barney Ross) leads an epic, all-star ensemble of action heroes: knives specialist Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), combat specialist Yin Yang (Jet Li), demolitions expert Toll Road (Randy Couture), heavy weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), the gigantic Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), and new kids on the action scene, sniper Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth), CIA agent Maggie (Yu Nan), with impressive appearances by Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Co-written by Stallone, and directed by Simon West, it tells the story of a group of mercenaries taking revenge for the vicious murder of one of their members at the hands of a rival mercenary group that is hell-bent on destroying the world as well.

No prizes for guessing that the story is straightforward and predictable; but then, what the heck: who cares about a story when you have legends in one frame, kicking each other’s ass, and making you wish you were there in the middle of it too. Starting in Nepal, and then mostly set in the Balkans, it is a testosterone-filled ride with impressive macho stunts, guns, bullets and wisecracks. ****

Written by Joseph Rana