Four and a half years ago I paid $10 bucks to see Sylvester Stallone‘s Rambo at a Santa Barbara theatre, and curiously loved it. It was exploitation crap but had some kind of laughably grotesque, pornoviolent element that I “got” on some level. I started thinking that Stallone had kicked himself up to a new meta level. Then I saw The Expendables, a tedious Cannon film, and realized he’d learned nothing and that Rambo had been some kind of dumb fluke.

In any event, Marshall Fine‘s review of The Expendables 2 is a howl, almost on a comedic Borscht Belt level. Fine is always sharp but he doesn’t do “hilarity,” per se. And yet Stallone & co. have pushed him into the funny pit, especially in the matter of cosmetic enhancements

Example #1: “The driving force behind The Expendables 2 — maybe the biggest, bloodiest and most willfully stupid film since the last time Michael Bay stepped behind a camera — is obviously Stallone, who looks like 10 miles of bad road at this point or, perhaps, a four-car pile-up of cosmetic surgeries.”

Example #2: Stallone and his long-of-tooth costars – Arnold Shwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris — “are downright scary-looking, as though they’re runner-ups in lookalike contests to look like themselves. Or perhaps they’re simply trying to elude facial-recognition software.”