By now most of us have seen the teaser for next summer’s EXPENDABLES 2, directed by Simon “the remake of THE MECHANIC was okay at least although the action scenes sucked” West. Of course it’s a teaser, it doesn’t show much, and it’s a movie that most of us feel guilty for having any glimmer of hope that it might be good. But those are not good enough reasons to stop my from going through it pretty much shot-by-shot so we can discuss it. Sorry.
First of all, here’s the teaser if you haven’t seen it or need a refresher:
Well, this teaser does a good job of tricking me into thinking I care about these characters and can’t wait to see them again. The truth is I’m more excited to see them get a second chance at doing something. Sure, Stallone’s Barney Ross and Statham’s Lee Christmas had storylines, but some of the other Expendables were pretty much just background characters. Maybe since they came back for another round they’ll be rewarded. Maybe.
We know that Bruce’s part is at least slightly expanded, because he’s shown in more than one location. The reunion of Stallone’s character Barney and Bruce’s “Church” is full of menace this time instead of winking and nudging. Actually seems kinda dramatic.
It’s a nice looking, moody sort of lighting too. Seems like a better looking movie than the first one.
I like this shot of Barney listening to Church’s threat. He doesn’t look quite as beaten up by life as Rocky Balboa in ROCKY BALBOA, but he looks kinda sad. I hope Barney gets a little more going on inside in this one. Maybe.
So they bring back the skull-winged-with-weapons logo, but this time stabbed in the eye sockets. Get it? Two knife handles. Part II. Think about it. It works.
Has anybody else noticed how many trailers use weird electronical bass noises like that ever since they started advertising the TRANSFORMERSes that way? If you want your trailer to be dramatic you gotta have a logo flipping around going BEEEEEEEEeeeeeyoooooowwwwwTTCHZZZZZZZKKKKKKKKZZZ!!!! That’s what audiences demand.
I guess Barney still likes wearing the beret. That’s his thing.
Oh wait, Christmas wears a beret too. That shows that those two are best buds. It also means they’re still the two main characters. Or maybe I just think that because I noticed the end of the trailer was copyrighted by “Barney’s Christmas Productions.” (No joke.) I like that they got Lee manning a gun on a turret again, since that part on the seaplane was the highlight of part 1.
Uh oh. Jet Li is the only one that doesn’t get a cool walking-toward-the-camera or holding-a-gun shot. This confirms the rumors that he’s not in this one very much. I’m thinking he must be the one that dies and they have to get revenge. But I guess not having an action shot implies that he doesn’t even go on the mission. Maybe he doesn’t need the money anymore, or just got sick of all the comments about being small. Even though he made most of them himself. Maybe he finds out that his character’s name is “Yin Yang” and quits on the spot.
Now that’s more like it. Dolph as Gunnar looks pissed. The turmoil of drug addiction and guilt for having betrayed his friends boils inside him, or whatever. There is actual debris involved, that means some action is going on. You don’t get ceiling debris while standing around talking. Gunnar better not be the one that dies at the beginning, that would be sort of a waste of his miraculous resurrection in part 1. But it would explain Jet Li not going on the mission. He hated that dude, why would he help avenge him?
The biggest icon new to the sequel cast is Chuck Norris. I am not the biggest Norris fan, but I think he’s earned his place in the movie. I can’t really tell if this is a villainous pose or just an “I’m awesome so I wear sunglasses” one. My hope is that he’s playing an arrogant asshole like he did in the best movie he will ever do, WAY OF THE DRAGON. He doesn’t seem to be wearing American flag pants, which would be my second choice for him.
This shot of course gets you excited for the return of the most beloved character in THE EXPENDABLES. Also pictured: Terry Crewes as Hale Caesar.
My personal favorite Expendable is Washingtonian and UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture as Toll Road. He had that monologue about the origins of his cauliflower ear, and there was that part where he was on the plane reading a book. Okay, he doesn’t get jack shit to do in the movie, but I think the combination of his demonstrable badassness, his unconventional looks for a movie star and his regular-guy-but-intelligent speech make him a really compelling screen presence. So far his best role was in an episode of The Unit, so his full movie potential has not been reached. And probly won’t in this movie. But this shot I like because it just screams “Randy Couture is in at least one shot of this movie!”
A young actor named Liam Hemsworth plays the surprised-they-didn’t-pull-this-shit-in-part-1 “young rookie who joins the team” character. According to IMDb his character is named “Billy the Kid,” which is kind of a let down considering some of the other crazy character names. It should be something like Rench Greasestain or Rocket Bluntside.
My old Ain’t It Cool colleague Drew McWeeny says that Hemsworth getting “last-name-only status” in this trailer is a sign that “Lionsgate is feeling good about the prospects of HUNGER GAMES,” which is apparently another movie that he’s gonna be in that people are excited about because it’s based on some books that the kids like and all movies based ona series of books change the world forever. I don’t know anything about that so maybe I’m wrong but I disagree, I definitely think it’s what we’ve already been discussed in the comments, it’s an attempt to make you confuse him with his brother who plays Thor. It’s this:
Squanderers are people who would never squander the opportunity to take advantage of their famous last names. (Surprisingly not named at the top of this VHS tape: Estevez. Joe Estevez.) And for the record, some of us here did say “I don’t know Chris Hemsworth was in this” when we first saw it on a poster.
Speaking of weird credits:
Mark me down as a fan of the “ALSO VAN DAMME” credit. I don’t remember ever seeing an “ALSO” credit before. That’s just how packed this cast is. If they do a part 2-knives-in-the-eye-sockets-and-one-in-the-nose-hole it’s gonna be “INCLUDING VENTURA,” “ALONGSIDE GRUNER,” “FURTHERMORE, YEN” and “MEANWHILE, JAI WHITE.” They’ll save the “OH SHIT, I ALMOST FORGOT” credit for part IV.
I love picturing Van Damme’s management sitting down with the Millennium Films team of lawyers trying to agree on a special credit that denotes a higher ranking than just being named but a lower ranking than the “WITH” that Bruce gets and the “AND” that Schwarzenegger gets. I think they got it right. Van Damme deserves an “ALSO.” He earned it both with his career as a whole and with having the balls to turn down THE EXPENDABLES the first time so he could spend more time on a way better movie about reanimated corpses fighting each other in a nuclear power plant.
Harry Knowles recently debuted a new EXPENDABLES 2 poster and he said “that poster that made the rounds a couple weeks back, according to Lionsgate, that wasn’t their poster and they don’t know where it came from.” Yeah, you know how the fans are, they’re real sneaky about getting ahold of unseen pictures of all the cast members wearing the same costumes from the trailer and then correctly predicting that there would be credits for “HEMSWORTH” and “ALSO VAN DAMME.”
(I’m sure Lionsgate is just covering their ass after pissing off one or more of the actors – Jet Li wasn’t pictured, Couture wasn’t named, etc.)
Anyway here’s JCVD himself, brandishing a knife. I’m excited to see him playing a bad guy, I think he’ll do a good job. And hopefully IMDb is not lying about his name being “Jean Vilain.” But the most important thing about this shot is that UNDISPUTED 2-3’s Scott Adkins is standing behind M. Vilain on the right side of the frame. It should say “ALSO ALSO SCOTT ADKINS.”
Here’s the proof that CIA-connected mercenary-mission-giver Mr. Church actually gets in on the action this time. This is my favorite shot in the trailer. Actually his name isn’t Church, he just suggested that as an alias while meeting with Barney in a church. I can’t really tell from this trailer what the room is where he meets Barney this time. Maybe he’ll go by Mr. Abandoned Warehouse in this installment. Whatever his name is, I hope he miraculously turns good guy like Dolph in part 1 or reluctantly teams up like The Rock in FAST FIVE.
There you go everybody, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Trench firing a gun. Looks like the same scene as Bruce, so we’ll either see them shooting at each other or shooting with each other. Either one would be historic. Or, I guess they could show up in the same room at different times and shoot in separate conflicts. There are alot of possibilities here. We got until next summer to figure it out. Or we could not think about it again until we get to watch it. Either way.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.