EXPENDABLES 2 Exploratory Committee

tn_expendablesOkay, let’s talk EXPENDABLES 2.

As some of you notified me in the comments, the L.A. Times recently reported that Sylvester Stallone “isn’t, at the moment, planning on helming” the sequel to THE EXPENDABLES, and that as producer he’s been meeting with possible directors.

The article also reveals that the script is being written by David Agosto and Ken Kaufman, whose only previous work as a team is an action comedy script called WARDOGS. The premise of that one hasn’t been reported but let’s just say it’s being directed by Peter Segal (NUTTY PROFESSOR 2: THE KLUMPS) and that producer Michael Ewing says: “it’s an action ensemble comedy in the vein of OCEAN’S 11, where the casting becomes an event. It is a bunch of these terrific actors getting together and having a good time, it’s that kind of thing.”

On his own, Kaufman does have 2 sort of action-ish credits – Ron Howard’s western THE MISSING (I haven’t seen that) and Clint’s SPACE COWBOYS (which I do like, and is about old dudes showing up the youths). He’s also worked with Pauly Shore and the Muppets.

So I’m not sure what to expect from those guys, but a good director could sharpen an okay script if necessary. The big window of opportunity here, I think we all agree, is to inject some good action filmatism into this thing, something that was sorely lacking in part 1. Although I enjoyed watching the movie, I believe the airplane scene with Stallone and Statham was the only well-staged action scene. It still pains me to think about how badly they wasted a Li vs. Lundgren fight and a fight where Stone Cold Steve Austin actually broke Stallone’s neck. Obviously part 2 needs a director who would like to use cameras and editing to record the action that goes down on set so that audiences will be able to enjoy it later.

Other websights have already posted Top 5 lists of who they think Stallone should get to direct, but they seem to be mostly thoughtless and snarky and not the ideas of people who actually give a shit, like us. For example you got MTV’s list:

Michael Bay
James Cameron
Quentin Tarantino
Shane Black
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Obviously putting Bay on the list immediately nullifies the list, so we won’t have to get into why #2 and #3 would never do it, #4 is busy with IRON MAN 3 and #5 is not even a director, except for that one Tales From the Crypt episode.

Movieline’s list is better (as long as you don’t read their explanations):

John McTiernan
Justin Lin
Ted Kotcheff
Quentin Tarantino
Kathryn Bigelow

McT of course is a good choice, but I believe he still has a 1 year sentence to serve.  He’s been trying to get promising action movies off the ground the last few years and not having any success, partly I’m sure because of his uncertain legal situation.

If this was somehow possible it might be the best choice, just because of the poetry of a once-great, now underappreciated director helming a cast of action stars in a similar position. Some would say he’ s lost his chops because of ROLLERBALL, but it’s not like Sly and Dolph and everybody haven’t dropped a bunch of turds during that time period too. We believe in second chances. And it would just be right to bring in the director of DIE HARD and PREDATOR when you bring in Willis and Schwarzenegger.

Still, I think asking for McTiernan to direct is like asking for Wesley Snipes to star. Not likely.

Kotcheff I wouldn’t have alot of faith in, because he’s been doing nothing but TV for years and his only real contributions to the genre were almost 30 years ago. I guess if this really came about I would have some very cautious excitement that they dug up the director of FIRST BLOOD and UNCOMMON VALOR to do it, trying to resurrect his big screen career just like they’re doing with some of the actors. Still, a far-fetched choice.

Tarantino – Hey man, if he was interested that would be a dream, but it ain’t gonna happen. It reminds me of how every time a comic book movie is coming out some Ain’t It Cool newsie says “they should’ve given this to Fincher,” as if there is some remote chance that David Fincher is interested in doing a movie about Green Lantern and is at home sad that it wasn’t offered to him. I could almost imagine Tarantino being spontaneous and deciding to put his spin on a “franchise” for fun, except I’ve already been through that disappointment when it got out that he’d had a meeting about doing a FRIDAY THE 13TH sequel. Turned out he really met with them, but wasn’t interested in doing something like that. Tarantino is not a for-hire type of guy.

And neither is Bigelow after she won best director/picture and has more political thrillers in the works. But I’ll be charitable and entertain this as a reasonable choice because I think she still has the POINT BREAK chops and because it would be awesome to see her bossing all those musclemen around. And maybe she needs a paycheck to get her other projects done right, I don’t know.

I saved Justin Lin for last ’cause he seems like the most realistic choice on either list. He has alot of projects but he could probly move them around. Not a bad choice either. He made TOKYO DRIFT so surprisingly enjoyable, has done good practical car stunts, worked well with macho actors and even made Paul Walker seem pretty cool in FAST AND FURIOUS. If he ended up doing this I’d hope to see Han show up somehow. And Lucas Black as the Expendables intern.

We here are the serious action fans and scholars, so we sort of have a duty to be Stallone’s exploratory committee and come up with a good list for him. My choices are mostly obvious for anybody that reads me, and I don’t think there’s that long a list of directors who would do a good job, would be likely to be interested and would be agreeable to Lionsgate. But here’s my list and you guys can add to it in the comments.

hyams1. JOHN HYAMS

Yeah, you knew that would be my choice, and Sternshein already said it in a comment thread. But the director of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION would be the perfect man to elevate the EXPENDABLES series. In that superb sequel he executed thrilling action scenes in a style similar to the fake-documentary one that Stallone tried to do in his part 1, but he made them completely comprehensible. Hyams worked with Expendable Dolph Lundgren and potential part 2 cast member Van Damme, and not only knew how to showcase their acting and fighting skills but knew how to use their age as an advantage. So many movies try to polish the stars and pretend they’re younger then they are, but even with them playing clones Hyams was able to use the lines on their faces and exhaustion in their eyes to enhance their characters.

In part 1 Stallone tried to expand the viewership beyond ’80s action fans by bringing in UFC legend Randy Couture. Well, here’s a director who has become somewhat of an expert in MMA competition because of his great documentary THE SMASHING MACHINE. That knowledge helped him to get great fight scenes and villainy out of Andrei Arlovsky.

Hyams also knows alot about bodily harm due to his work on the excellent bullriding documentary RANK.

milius2. JOHN MILIUS

How ’bout this for a McTiernan backup? True, he’s less known as a director than a writer, but he did give Schwarzenegger one of his second most iconic role (CONAN THE BARBARIAN) and would probly be the very best director to bring out the macho in this cast. He’s into the mercenary shit and he’d be suggesting all kinds of crazy weapons and everything. And he’s had a hand in multiple eras and segments of macho: great ’70s achievements like APOCALYPSE NOW and that speech in JAWS, Reagan era stuff like CONAN, UNCOMMON VALOR and RED DAWN, in the ’90s he was involved in the creation of the original Ultimate Fighting Championship, and in the 2000s he created ROME (the TV show, not the city). Bringing a guy like this in might be a good balance to the script by some dude who wrote IN THE ARMY NOW. Also he’s worked with Nick Nolte, who I’d like to see in part 2.


Of course I gotta have Florentine on the list. Stallone might not be as into him since his biggest strength is in martial arts, but I think he’d do great. He has done plenty of explosions and vehicle action in movies like SPECIAL FORCES, though he’s admitted that that’s not really his passion, he just puts those in for the producers. But I think if you look at his best movies you can see his skills in working with actors and making them look tough. Scott Adkins, for example, is a very clean cut handsome dude who makes sense as a stunt double for Ryan Reynolds, but Florentine made him convincingly menacing and dirty as Boyka in the UNDISPUTED sequels. And this is another guy who has worked with Dolph and Van Damme and plenty of action stars that could work well in part 2. (I guess his experience with Gary Daniels doesn’t count for shit though considering the fate of that character.)

baxley4. CRAIG R. BAXLEY

Unfortunately I gotta put Baxley low on the list since he’s been doing sci-fi TV business for years now and has been away from the explosive style of the STONE COLD and ACTION JACKSON days. But I didn’t know he did an episode of “Human Target.” I heard that was a cool show. I should check that out.

Here’s a guy who was stunt coordinator on THE WARRIORS, second unit director on PREDATOR, he directed Dolph in I COME IN PEACE, and he’s from a whole family of stuntmen. I shouldn’t worry. Being around these guys and shooting for the big screen I think he’d get the eye of the tiger and go for broke.

5. Julie Taymor seems to be available.

Okay, that’s not really something I can picture. But if we’re talking fantasy league like the other sights I would have to throw Paul Verhoeven on the list. Maybe Arnold could get him nostalgic about the TOTAL RECALL days and talk him into it. He would make a movie that made RAMBO seem peaceful and reasonable, and Stallone would be totally into it. For Verhoeven it would be sarcastic, for Stallone it would be sincere, and both would be kinda right.

THE DO NOT CALL LIST – Directors I pray don’t get it due to their sloppy, incomprehensible action scenes:

Simon West, Nevildine/Taylor, Neil Marshall, the Texas Chainsaw remake guy, etc.

Remember, if a list of possible directors gets leaked it’s always the worst guy on the list that gets it. Call it the best picture principle.

P.S. Although we don’t know how far along these meetings are I sincerely think it could help for everybody to make suggestions to Stallone in Ain’t It Cool talkbacks and on Stallone’s Twitter feed. If you watched the talkbacks during the casting of THE EXPENDABLES you saw that almost everybody that was discussed ended up being approached for the movie, including people that turned it down like Kurt Russell, Van Damme, Seagal and Scott Adkins. Stallone is eager to please.

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199 Responses to “EXPENDABLES 2 Exploratory Committee”

  1. if I’m gonna be honest, I thought The Expendables was only ok, the action sequences were pretty good as far as modern movies go, but they could’ve been better

    I know that this is what a lot of people thought, but I don’t think I voiced my opinion

    on a side note, how about for the next one we get some female nudity? because why the hell not? that was something I dug about Machete

  2. also, did anyone else find it hilarious that they released The Expendables on the exact same day as fucking Eat Pray Love?

    I mean they released the manliest movie ever made against the womanliest movie ever made, that HAD to be intentional

  3. I also would put Florent Siri on the list of directors. He directed the awesome NID DE GUEPES (a.k.a. The Nest), the criminally underrated HOSTAGE and from what I’ve heard, would have been the director of DIE HARD 4.0, if his former Bruce flick hadn’t heavily underperformed.

    I’m still waiting to see Neill Marshall’s CENTURION, which is, from what I’ve heard, post-action free. I’m just glad that Zack Snyder is busy, but to be honest, I seriously doubt that Sly will hire a “superstar” director, whose name you can put on the poster or in the trailer. THE EXPENDABLES is (despite its ensemble and his will to leave script- and directing duties to other for the sequel) his show and I doubt he wants it to become “The new Michael Bay movie” or something like that.

  4. Also didn’t Arnie direct a christmas comedy or something like that?

  5. For this highly important cause, I shall break my vow to use the twitter solely for politics and shall contact the Sly.

    Let’s shoot for the moon, folks. We have to at least try so we can say we gave it our best shot. A man can dream, hope springs eternal, Jesus loves us, etc.. VERHOEVEN, VERHOEVEN, VERHOEVEN!

  6. I do like the Expendables but I found it very frustrating to watch at the cinema because of the stupid shakycam and editing. What was annoying was you could see that they had gone to a lot of trouble to choreograph some really cool fight scenes (Statham in particular hasn’t looked better), but shot them in such a sloppy manner. I’m with you Vern on a vote for Jon Hyams. Not only was JCVD’s 2 minute uninterupted massacre a highlight, but the whole opening sequence, as the camera follows the president’s kids and securtiy team around the museum, and showed a real talent.

    So how about fight choreographer? If they get JJ Perry, Larnel Stoval or Ron Yuan involved, they’ll be heading int eh right direction.

  7. and speaking of John Milius, did you guys know that the John Milius scripted video game Homefront comes out Tuesday? (in America at least)

  8. Porkchop Express

    March 11th, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Vern, don’t know if you care but I just saw a trailer on UK channel ITV4 called Jean Claude Van Damme-behind closed doors. It starts at the end of this month. Also, did you manage to watch that Justin Lee Collins interview with Segal?

  9. VERHOEVEN,VERHOEVEN,VERHOEVEN! ( i couldn´think of anything better to say, so I´ll stick with repeating Mouth´s chanting!)

  10. What really pissed me off in THE EXPENDABLES was the collapse of the tower, which should have been an absolute action set piece highlight, but was very difficult to follow, thanks to Sly’s post action approach. It’s a collapsing building, for fuck’s sake! How can you get this wrong? The trailer for KUNG FU PANDA 2 has one too, but it looks already a thousand times more awesome, than what we could see (or not) in THE EXPENDABLES!

    It’s crazy. Sly tried so hard to please his fans with the casting, that he totally overheard their “no shaky-cam and epileptic editing” pleas.

  11. Though I’m not overly familiar with his films, Walter Hill has a rather manly reputation, so his name came to mind, but what really gets my mind spinning is the idea of a John Woo directed Expendables film. That would be an interesting film. McTiernan and Verhoeven are both good choices. Just saw Robocop on the big screen at our Gallery of Modern Art, greatest film ever made? Possibly.

  12. Yeah, what’s Walter Hill’s status these days? Are we still his friends? I can’t remember what he did last.

  13. I don´t understand the complaints about The Expendables. Sure the Li vs Lundgren fight was kind of shittely shot. But I can´t recall it being THAT incomprehensible. The worst shot action-sequence that comes to my mind is the fightscene in BOURNE SUPREMACY. that was complete greengrassgarbage!
    And DOMINO was a masterful “epileptic-epic”!

  14. No time for a 2000 word essay here.


  15. Didn´t Walter Hill direct episodes for DEADWOOD? I believe he did..

  16. @Shoot: The Bourne sequels are a new level of incomprehensible filmmaking, that not even found footage movies like CLOVERFIELD, where they at least had an excuse for shaking the camera and not full showing what happened, were able to top so far. But that doesn’t mean that we should cut THE EXPENDABLES some slack, just because it only looked better than the Bourne’s. That’s like saying SHARKTOPUS is a good movie, because it isn’t as bad as ANACONDA 3 or something like that.

  17. Well, it’s highly unlikely, but I think a skilled HK director could do something beautiful with this material. John Woo, Johnnie To or Hark Tsui: all awesome, all still doing movies. But I would guess that Stallone would consider them all too flashy and not gritty enough.

  18. I´m cutting THE EXPENDABLES some slack, since I really liked it. Ok, it´s flawed. But not many movies are perfect.

  19. Whoever directed RAMBO (2008), I’d support bringing him onboard. I’ll tweet Stallone on this. I think they are still friends. It could work.

  20. Nothing wrong with liking a flawed movie! I enjoyed it too, I just wish I could see what the fuck is going on during the action scenes.

  21. Alfonso Cuaron? Don’t think he’s done anything since CHILDREN OF MEN; reckon he’d do a pretty good job. Or Mark Lester, even if he hasn’t done anything interesting for ages, could still have a decent action film in him again.

  22. Also,


  24. Or maybe Louis Leterrier.. but I just remember CLASH OF THE TITANS. BLEEERGH!

  25. What about letting Dolph Lundgren direct the film? I have enjoy most of his direct to DVD films and I would like to see what he could do with a large budget and a decent script.

    Also I think Pierre Morel should be on the list, as his post-action scenes, are pretty easy to spot what happened. District 13 shows that he can show great stunts.

    Also what about the guy that directed The Good, The Bad, The Weird and I Saw The Devil? He knows how to direct action and fight scene.

    Or perhaps the director of The Man from Nowhere. A great film that has been released this week.

    And if they need a female what about Lexi Alexander? I liked Punisher Warzone and she knows fighting and violence. If they go for camp she is a great choice.

    I also think Nimrod Antal has some talents and could do a pretty good job.

  26. I think Paul Verhoeven might do it, if he could make it satire over America and all their wars. It could be a great film. We really need a film like Robocop, Total Recall or even Starship Troopers.

  27. A better alternative to Verhoeven* might be Mark L Lester. He could similarly do the crazy ultraviolence, but without trying to make a political statement that would rub Stallone the wrong way. Like some of the other’s on Vern’s list, he’s been on the sidelines but a comeback would be awesome. And he’s previously worked with Arnold and Dolph.

    It would play sort of like a modern updating of COMMANDO, which I’d be down for.

    *who I love, but let’s be honest: do we really want him wasting his time on the sequel to a disappointing action movie? He’s output has slowed down so much that I’d rather he just stick to potential masterpieces

  28. I think Scott Mann directed the shit out of The Tournament. Verhoeven would turn it into satire. I´ve never heard Tarantino express fondness for eighties-action, but he is the best action-director of our time. But my main-pick would still be Stallone. I`m not really sure that anybody else would make the movie with the same love, care and seriousness he poured into Expendables and Rambo. He just needs better cinematographers and editors. So, if anybody starts stalking Stallone on the web, please ask him to reconsider directing it.

  29. I tweeted Stallone to tell him to look into John Hyams work especially UniSol:Regen.

    Cuaron, Verhoeven, Hill would be great but we all want a great action film and Hyams will deliver without becoming the marquee name over Stallone headline.

  30. How about Brian Trenchard-Smith? Is that guy still alive and active?

  31. The problem with The Expendables wasn’t the editors and cinematographers, it was what he told them to do, and the shot the action with several cameras. Tarantino always shoot with one camera, and shoot exactly what he wants, so his scene are exactly what he wanted them.

    The problem was that Stallone wanted every character to have their own style and also let the different camera operator just film what they want. He also said that Rambo (2008) style is like how the film was if Rambo directed it himself. I think Sly got to stop doing that, and think how he can capture the action scene so we see every move, every action and doesn’t confuse the audience.

    Also they often had very short time to film the action scenes, so a lot of the action scenes are very rushed work. He didn’t even film the Jet Li – Dolph Lundgren scene. i wished he would just let Corey Yuen do it. He was there, so why not let him shoot it.

  32. Brian Trenchard-Smith is very active. He is filming a tv-movie now, and last year he released Artic Blast, a sci-fi/thriller. So he seem to do a lot of low budget and tv-stuff.

    I think they should dig up Andrew Davis. He hasn’t directed a film in 5 years and is 64 years old, but Under Siege and Above The law where great action films. Of course he hasn’t made a good film since The Fugitive, but you never know.

  33. My vote goes to Antoine Fuqua (Shooter, Replacement Killers, Tears of the Sun, Brooklyn’s Finest). He’s got a great eye for action, and he can bring a touch of class to the project, but he’s probably not so high-profile that he’d see something like this as below him.

    My second choice would be the Hughes Brothers (Book of Eli, Dead Presidents, Menace II Society), but I don’t know if they’d do something like this. Ever since the disaster that was From Hell, they’ve been really careful about what they put their names on.

    Or how about Johnny To (Exiled, Vengeance, Throwdown, Breaking News)? He’s probably the most promising director working in Hong Kong right now, and isn’t this how we import Hong Kong directors? With Van Damme movies?

    Also good would be Wilson Yip (Flash Point), Panna Rittikrai (Born to Fight), Dolph Lundgren (Command Performance), Ben Ramsey (Blood and Bone), Ringo Lam (Full Contact), or Gareth Evans (Merantau).

    Out of the people already mentioned, obviously, John Hyams, Justin Lin, Isaac Florentine, and Craig Baxley are all great choices. And as far as the pipe dream options, I would love to see a version of this done by Kathryn Bigelow or Paul Verhoeven. Holy shit, that would be awesome.

  34. What about Wilson Yip? Ip Man 1-2 are great, Flash Point is great and SPL was great. He bring with him Donnie Yen.

  35. Ghost -You read my mind. I was just going to namedrop Andrew Davis.

  36. – ghost

    I mostly agree, but I kind of hope that the horrible action in The Expendables was a result of Stallone collaborating with the wrong people. And the cinematorgraphy and editing is terrible, badly framed and with no rythm at all. I still think that Stallone should direct.
    And Genndy Tartakosky should do the storyboards.

  37. As someone who thinks that last Wednesday’s episode of SYM-BIONIC TITAN was the best thing I’ve seen on TV since the VENTURE BROS finale (and the shameless Tartakovsky fanboy that I am), I totally agree about Genndy doing at least the storyboards.

  38. How about Jean-Francois Richet? I actually haven’t seen either of the MESRINE movies yet, but I know people dug them, and I for one thought he did an excellent job on the remake of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (although I guess I’m in the minority). Still, it had stylish but coherent action and a good use of an ensemble cast, which is what I’d be looking for from an EXPENDABLES sequel.

    Maybe John Singleton? I like 2 FAST 2 Furious, though it’s not really the style of action we’re looking for. But FOUR BROTHERS was a little less slick and flashy and maybe an indication that he could pull off a testosterone fest.

  39. “Also didn’t Arnie direct a christmas comedy or something like that?”

    Yup, the remake of Christmas in Connecticut. I watched it this past Christmas and it was lousy.

  40. Good list Vern, Jon Hyams would be my pick.

    Milius is an interesting choice. Speaking of Milius, and 80’s conservative action pictures, I recently found out that RED SCORPION was produced by the one and only Jack Abramoff.

    I can’t see them getting an expensive name director, but if they did Peter Berg would be a good choice. THE RUNDOWN is a favorite of mine, and all the action is well directed.

  41. Also, I know it would never happen but as Eddie Lummox mentioned I think Johnny To would make a great Expendables film, and having seen RED CLIFF recently I also like the idea of John Woo. Woo working with the cast of Expendables would be like giving a great chef top notch ingredients to cook with.

  42. Actualy, I just thought of someone they could actually get that I think would be a good pick and he has a history with Sly, Renny Harlin. I know that may not be a popular suggestion to everyone here, but I trust him more then McTiernan.

  43. How about:

    George Miller?

    Phillip Noyce?

    Robert Harmon?

    Jack Sholder?

    David Gordon Green?

    Menahem Golan?

    Renny Harlin?

    Tsui Hark?

  44. Motherfucker just suggested Menahem Golan!

    Good one. I’ll be laughing all day now, sorry earthquake victims.

  45. Stephen Hopkins of PREDATOR 2, anyone?

  46. Of course, just some idle speculation here, but I’m guessing that even if he’s not writing or directing, that Stallone won’t be afraid to flex his muscles as a producer and may still see himself as the dominant creative voice for the film. So instead of getting a bonafide action auteur with a strong vision, we may likely get a relative unknown who Sly feels he can push around, usurp his authority, etc. I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if it went to an editor or cinematographer with some action credentials, making their directorial debut.

  47. Menaham Golan did direct Stallone in OVER THE TOP. Underrated flick in my opinion

  48. re: Stephen Hopkins. I’ll always feel a little affection for the guy because I like NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5, but let’s not forget that he also did THE REAPING, a terrible horror movie that was, for some unknown reason, shot in an ugly, post-action-esque style. So I do not trust that man to direct an action movie.

  49. Menalem Goham hated THE EXPENDABLES and called it cheesy or something like that.

  50. I misspelled his name completely, don’t even know why. Sorry for that. But you know who I mean.

  51. Yeah, but Hopkins also made THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS, which I found (at the time) to be a very entertaining horror/monster movie with lions in Africa. He also made some good episodes of 24.( well at least one that i can remember he did.)

  52. I just Remembered Martin Campbell, but I guess he´s too much of an A.list director for this kind of movie. But he can sure as hell make damn sweet movies. I loved EDGE OF DARKNESS.

  53. Holy crap, Martin Campbell would be great for this, but I guess you’re right. He probably wouldn’t do it. Another one for the pipe dream list.

  54. ….and what´s Martin Brest doing these days. MIDNIGHT RUN is one of my favourite action-movies of all time. BEVERLY HILLS COP was pretty good too. But those movies were quite light on action and were a bit more comedy oriented. And he hasn´t done a lot of action since. I gues I was just thinking out loud here. But MIDNIGHT RUN needs some love!

  55. Hmm.. Steve Wang who made the criminally underrated DRIVE with Mark dacascos? Man that movie hade some awesomelly shot action-sequences. HK-style. But maybe we should get someone used to big budget spectacles… Stuart Baird? what has he done lately?

  56. The Expendables action climax takes place at night, making it impossible to see shit. Why did they do that. It’s not like it just happened to be night when they got around to that scene and they shrugged and said welp, whatever, we got a schedule here. They did it on purpose. WHY.

    Also the idea of Golan calling anything cheesy is pretty funny. Also why not Luc Besson for Expendables 2? You guys all saw Banlieue 13 right?

  57. “He also said that Rambo (2008) style is like how the film was if Rambo directed it himself.”

    Trautman: You did everything to make this trainwreck happen. You’ve done enough damage. This shoot is over, Rambo. Do you understand me? This shoot is over! Look at them out there! Look at them! If you won’t end this now, they will kill you. Is that what you want? It’s a wrap Johnny. It’s a wrap!”
    Rambo: Nothing is a wrap! Nothing! You just don’t turn the camera off! It wasn’t my film! You asked me, I didn’t ask you! And I did what I had to do to finish it! But somebody wouldn’t let us finish! And I come back to the world and I read all those maggots on the internet, protesting me, spitting. Calling me “shakey cam post-action man” and all kinds of vile crap! Who are they to protest me? Who are they? Unless they’ve been me and been there and know what the hell they’re yelling about!

  58. Under Siege was pretty fucking dark as well. You could hardly tell shit

  59. – Gilmore

    Luc Besson didn`t direct District 13. There, I said it.

    I can`t help but think that most directors nowadays have a very fluent and “light” sense of action. I want something heavy and brutal. Most hong-kong directors makes beautiful action-scenes, but they don`t really have the required feeling of “punch”. Goddamn, does this make any sense?

    Anyway, I think that Alexander Aja might pull of some pretty heavy action. And he already proved that he can handle an american production.

  60. Not sure why the Expendables 2 would be beneath Martin Campbell. I mean, this guy did Vertical Limit, Legend of Zorro, and No Escape. I personally like his work and thought Casino Royale was fantastic but lets not act like he’s something more than he is. Besides, wasn’t the Expendables a pretty big hit worldwide? With that said, he’s a real solid action director and would I love to have him direct Expendables 2. Verhoven would be great too, but I’m not sure he could make a great straight up acton movie that didn’t have elements of sci-fi or politcal satire. Sci-fi and political satire should be nowhere near and Expendables type movie in my opinion.

  61. Vern, 2 things:

    1. Yeah, see “The Missing”. The movie has a brujo (male witch), this Apache Warlock character. Doesn’t say much, but gets the job done. You might find that character compelling. The movie overall was just “ok”.

    2. Yeah, Julie Taymor is recently unemployed, and it will never happen, but she did direct “Titus”:


    I have it on DVD. It’s extremely gothic (as in: actual ancient Goths) and that kind of everybody-gets-murdered-while-gnashing-their-teeth Shakespeare we know and love. She pulled it off with some furious venom. So if the wildly improbable happened, Julie Taymor would make a compelling Expendables 2, I believe that.

    Oh, and see “Titus” if you haven’t seen it, it is maddening. Maddening in a good way.

  62. Martin Campbell is a very accomplished genre director, but when it comes to the more “thrashy” (and I mean it in the best possible sense) actionmovies that relies on traditional genre elements he may not want to do it. He IS possibly the best A-list director of action/thrillers at the moment. But if Stallone wants someone he want to control ( like Putin in the background) then he might have a problem, since it seems that Campbell is used to do things his way. I don´t know,maybe you guys have some input in this. Is Stallone after a puppet or a director with a strong will. I think it´s the former.

  63. The thought of how badly this decision is going to be botched saddens me and I have no wish to discuss it.

  64. Mr Majestyk – we are just having fun throwing names around.No need to be sad. However the japanese people may disagree with me on that.

  65. I don’t want to spoil you guys’ fun. I just have little faith that anything in the action movie realm will work out for the best anymore and am trying not to dwell on it.

    Clearly, no one has ever suffered more.

  66. Mr Majestyk – Believe me, I know how you feel. last week I had my bitter Willis-Whining of how much Bruce Willis- movies suck nowadays ( his solo vehicles), but I think the best thing is to stay positive on new things to come instead of dwelling in the past. Which is pretty hard, because the sudioe executive douchebags discovered they could make more money of PG-13 movies, instead of going hardcore R. That day the douchebag responsible findingthat out is the End of Days. And can we please find out who that guy was and break his wrists,then throw him through a glass window?

  67. Why haven´t any of you mentioned Richard Donner?

  68. Yeah, it’s fun to throw names around, but I don’t think anyone should be fooling themselves here. Even if Stallone & co. don’t pick a puppet to make the film, there’s not much reason to think that an EXPENDABLES sequel would live up to the unfulfilled promise of the original, no matter how much we might want it to. The fact is, the original was a good sized international hit, and it’s more likely the producers are going to want to repeat the original’s formula rather than reinvent it. As much as I see a sequel as a chance for improvement, I’d say odds are stronger that a sequel is just like the first one, only worse.

  69. Maybe not worse, just the same.

  70. Damn! About Martin Campbell, I just found out that his latest movie EDGE OF DARKNESS is a remake of his own mini-series by the same name. Gotta check this one out


  72. Oh yeah, Richard Donner would be cool. We could at least be sure, that it’s gonna be an competently made movie. Probably not more, but definitely not less.

  73. The funny/sad thing is, no matter who they get to direct this thing we’re all going to see it anyway. I have a feeling it’ll be someone like a Nimrod Antal who’ll make a nice, safe action movie that doesn’t push the envelope any. Say what you what you want about The Expendables, but the last 20 minutes or so were just pure carnage. Now that I think about it, I wish Stallone would just direct the fucking thing and improve on the first one.

  74. As for a waaaay outside the box vote (so far outside the box that it warps space and arrives back inside the box): how about the Pang Brothers?

    Imagine Ex2 being filmed like “Storm Warriors”. A style that utterly does not fit the material, yet would be fascinating to watch.

  75. Stu’s short post was better than the entirety of The Expendables.

  76. You know, even if it sucks, I’ll consider the sequel an improvement if they just use more wise shots with multiple cast members in it. I don’t know if Stallone doesn’t know how to shoot a dialogue scene without splitting it up into close ups and medium shots, or if there were scheduling problems and he had trouble getting everyone on set at the same time, but it seemed like the Expendables were too often segregated into their own shots.

    I mean, if the whole point of the movie was too see all the badasses interacting with each other, you think you’d have them share the frame more often, you know what I mean?

  77. Blerg. Wise shots = wide shots. Although a little more wisdom in visual strategy wouldn’t hurt either.

  78. Jareth Cutestory

    March 11th, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    We’ll know that Sly’s need for control has run amok if Frank Stallone ends up directing this thing.

  79. Jareth Cutestory

    March 11th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Sabreman: I’m not a big fan of STORM WARRIORS, but if the Pangs did this sequel in the style of Oxide Pang’s earlier film, ONE TAKE ONLY, then I’d be mighty impressed. So impressed that I might finally get around to renting the first EXPENDABLES.

  80. Mel Gibson? Personal issues aside, he can definitely handle the action and gore and he might be willing to work on something below his usual stature considering his current troubles. I’d be OK with him making a personal appearance as well. He’s around the same age as the rest of this crew.

  81. Uh guys… how about George Miller? He’s been working on MAD MAX 4 forever, not sure how far along he is. But if he still has some ROAD WARRIOR in him, he’d be perfect. All those years workin on kids’ movies have to have him itching to blow some shit up real good. Richard Donner doesn’t seem to have much fight in him left these days, but I do love the idea of getting him all testosterone’d up one last time.

    And here’s a weird idea, but how about Peter Berg? His RUNDOWN was one of the last real action films I watched in theaters. Macho, funny, comprehensible, colorful. Its really the one film that Dwayne Johnson really worked in. Both HANCOCK and THE KINGDOM have their flaws, but their action scenes are both intimate and joyfully constructed. So far he’s been a little jokey for what Stallone is shooting for, but I bet he can dial the comedy back and just focus on the ridiculousness of the action if pushed to do so.

  82. Other directors I’d like even though they almost surely wouldn’t be up for it – Michael Mann (even though his last film sported some pretty poorly shot action, he’s got a good track record before that), Matthew Vaughn, Steven Soderbergh, (he pumps a new movie out every couple months, I’m sure he could make time for this. And he’s got the filmatism skills), and probably my top pick, Clint.

  83. I like almost all of the suggestions here. Keep ’em coming. I thought about putting Walter Hill on the list, but I figured he was in the “wouldn’t do it” camp because I heard or read somewhere that he makes so much money from anything ALIEN-related that he only works when he really wants to, like when he did BROKEN TRAIL. But who knows? Maybe he would want to.

    I also thought about Brian Trenchard-Smith, but the most recent movie I’ve seen by him is probly LEPRECHAUN IN SPACE and although of course I enjoyed it I was extremely surprised to find out that it was done by a professional director who has made really good movies in the past. There’s actually a fairly recent movie of his I’ve been meaning to rent because it looks like a generic action movie but was made for a gay cable channel, so I’m curious what that’s about.

    I’m surprised I didn’t think of Aja. I can’t exactly picture what that would be like, but I’d have faith in him if he got the job. Another mainly horror director I thought about was James Wan, because I like DEATH SENTENCE so much and it had that great foot chase in the parking garage, but I decided that wasn’t enough of a track record to go on.

    And I’d be into the Hong Kong directors, but I figured Stallone wouldn’t be.

  84. I’d say Miller is in the same category I put Verhoeven, where I think he’s great but I’d rather he not waste his time with something like this. His output is slow, and who knows how long it will be until he actually gets another MAD MAX movie made, I’d rather it not be EXPENDABLES 2 tiding us over until. I’d love to see him make another action movie, just not the pointless sequel to a major disappointment.

  85. By the way, I’m pretty proud that I chose directors who had available photos holding guns and swords or doing a high flying karate kick (there were actually several of those to choose from for Florentine). I guess I should’ve done some research on which stunts Baxley actually performed and got a shot of him being blown up or crashing a car or something.

  86. It has to be Werner Herzog or Terrence Malick.

  87. Maybe someone could convince James Glickenhaus to take a sabbatical from investment banking or whatever for EXPENDABLES 2. That would be kind of cool.

    And if we’re talking modern horror movie directors who might be able to pull off an action movie, maybe Dennis Iliadis, who did the LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake? As I recall, the more kinetic/actiony moments in that film were pretty well handled.

  88. Dan — Seems like poor Miller hasn’t been able to get anything off the ground recently. Obviously I’d prefer he’d spend his time blowing our minds or throwing us excellent head-scratching curveballs like LORENZO’S OIL or BABE. But if he’s still in developement hell on MAD MAX, maybe he could use a big easy in-the-bag hit like EXPENDABLES II to give him the clout to get back in the game. But I guess part of his deal is that he really invests himself in the stuff me makes, writing, directing, and producing, so maybe he wouldn’t be interested in just coming in and shooting a bunch of awesome action scenes. Still, he’s been looking for a win for awhile, unlike a lot of the older generation action filmmakers who seem to have settled down a little. I dunno, I’d be glad to see him make any movie rather than wasting five more years on stuff which never takes off, especially since EXPENDABLES II should be a pretty quick shoot. As a writer himself, he might also be able to help fine-tune the script and give it some much-needed imagination and craziness. If I were Stallone, it’d be worth it to at least give him a call.

    Jon Hyams still seems like the perfect choice, though (I even posted on AICN to say as much). Anyone else would be fun but not quite as spot-on, though I still think Peter Berg deserves some consideration and probably comes closest along with Isaac Florentine and John McTiernan.

  89. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    March 11th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Who did The A Team? I thought the chit chat between those guys came across better than The Expendables. One of the things I wanted from The Expendables was more tough guy chat. Sure it had some, I just wanted it to be on par with Predator or some classic shit.

  90. “And I’d be into the Hong Kong directors, but I figured Stallone wouldn’t be.”
    How so? I mean, wasn’t it him who suggested they copy the bus stunt from POLICE STORY in TANGO AND CASH (only it was a fuel tanker) because he was a fan?
    I’m all for Martin Campbell too. He seems to only have one other project post-Green Lantern ready, and that’s for 2013, so I don’t think availability would be too much of an issue.
    Any reason Robert Rodriguez couldn’t do it? I know his style nowadays tends to look a bit fake, but with more money, he could do something more “solid” feeling like ONCE UPON A TIME or even DESPERADO, and I think he works the smaller digital effects into things better than the first EXPENDABLES did with the digital gore.

  91. Plus, we’d get Danny Trejo this time!

  92. Well, I was thinking Stallone would want an “American style” action movie and not the more poetically stylized works of Woo or To or even Hark. But I could be wrong. He obviously wants the cast to be international and everything.

    Oh man, what if each installment of the series was based on a particular style or era of action, so one sequel could take influence from the early ’90s Hong Kong boom, but the next one would be entirely different?

    George Miller – I think he’s too much of an auteur to come on for hire on something like this, but then again there was that time when he shot car chases for that Australian movie I can’t remember the name or plot of. I think he’s do great, he just wouldn’t want to.

    The A-Team was Joe Carnahan. I don’t know, for me that was similar to Expendables – the action wasn’t particularly good but I mildly enjoyed it because of the cast and the ridiculous characters they were playing. But it didn’t have anything as good as the Mickey Rourke monologue or any memorably weird touches like Expendables. So to me it wouldn’t seem like a trade up.

    Robert Rodriguez – yeah, I could buy that. I’m suspicious of him these days because everything he does is so cartoony and tongue-in-cheek, but he does still know how to shoot an action scene and at least as a producer on PREDATORS he understood the importance of practical effects and locations. And the badass ensemble, come to think of it.

    And by the way, you know Mel Gibson’s career is in jeopardy when none of us even brought him up as a pipe dream choice for this.

  93. Ace: The A-Team was done by Joe Carnahan, who I would put on the list for SMOKIN’ ACES, but while I overall enjoyed THE A-TEAM, he was a little bit too close on the post-action-area with this one. So I wait till his next movie is out and we will see how his style develops.

    And…y’know…I got a serious wild card suggestion to make. What about Ben Stiller? TROPIC THUNDER not just had surprisingly competent action scenes, it also showed that he knows his action movies and has a certain respect for him. Okay, in the parallel universe where he would seriously sit on the director’s chair, there probably wouldn’t also be the risk, that critics and audience think it would be a parody and laugh at all the wrong places, but I thought I just throw his name into the room.

  94. I think it’s sad that the best and most satisfying practical squibs I’ve seen in any movie in the past five years were the ones in the fake movie in TROPIC THUNDER.

  95. I mean, is that supposed to be a joke? “Ha ha, it’s funny how the blood looks real and splatters in a way predicated by physics and doesn’t look like a screensaver! Good one, Ben!”

  96. I guess you´ll have to get more of an craftsman rather than an auteur for doing this. Someone able to handle the big logistics of a big budget movie, but at the same time being able to do the creative side of it as well.

  97. one guy from andromeda

    March 11th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Am i really the only one who thought Expendables was just… boring? There were some nice character moments i guess, for a direct to video film, but the action was as good as non existant. The best action scene WAS when Statham blew up that pier from the plane, but that’s not a good thing guys! It’s a completely suspenseless moment of explosions, Michael Bay could have done it. Good DTV like Blood and Bone is miles ahead of everything in Expendables. Just because i liked these actors 20 years ago doesn’t mean i have to root for them to bore me to death.

    On that note, i suggest Michael Haneke for Expendables 2. It would be just as boring and violent, only he would make you feel bad for watching the violence and then it would just end mid sentence. So it would basically be the “same as the first” approach to sequels.
    Gaspar Noe could also work, then the movie would at least look good and have some emotional depth to it, it might be just as boring to most people though. But I’d like to see Stallone and Michael Jay White in a show down where they lie in a spirit cave and have an enlightening peyote trip together. Wait, that was the other french director…

    Nevermind, we all know it will be either Simon West or Lee Tamahori….

  98. Vern- “Well, I was thinking Stallone would want an “American style” action movie and not the more poetically stylized works of Woo or To or even Hark. But I could be wrong. He obviously wants the cast to be international and everything.

    Oh man, what if each installment of the series was based on a particular style or era of action, so one sequel could take influence from the early ’90s Hong Kong boom, but the next one would be entirely different?”
    Brings up the question of WHERE should the sequel be set? I don’t want another South American setting. And since you say they want an international cast, why not take it to the homeland of one of the non-american Expendables and use it to flesh their character out a bit more? I don’t remember them clarifying what Jet’s character needed more money for. If it WAS in Asia, then maybe that’d justify an asian director?

  99. Pessimism reigns here, but my glass is half full!


  100. That sounds great in theory, Mouth, but I consider Verhoeven a satirist at heart. I would like to see an EXP2 that is completely devoid of irony. I think Jon Hyams would take this path, but of all the old hands that have been suggested, Milius is the only one I’d be excited about. He don’t know from irony. Irony is for limp-dicked liberals who never even bothered to get their carry permit.

  101. I wouldn’t be terribly excited, other than the Stallone really controlling things as a producer/creative force angle, but I’d approve of a Jonathan Mostow directed EXPENDABLES: PORT OF CALL SECRET RECENTLY FOUNDED IN THE CHAOS OF CIVIL WAR IN TRIPOLI AL QAEDA HUB. The action in SURROGATES wasn’t terrible, and I am among the minority, I reckon, of people who loved T3: RISE OF THE MACHINES.

  102. Whoops. Disregard that classified disclosure about AQ-Libya. (international security/intel spoiler)

  103. The giant crane chase was legitimately excellent action filmatism. If we’re going to go the “dependable but unexceptional journeyman” route, Mostow would be a decent choice.

  104. If they got Verhoeven I truly believe it would be possible for him to do it as a criticism of violent American action movies while Stallone does it as a sincere violent American action movie. I mean, that’s kind of what TOTAL RECALL does, isn’t it? It’s a great Arnold Schwarzenegger movie but also says some things about corporatism and wars and what not. It’s not a parody, just a movie that works on two levels.

  105. No, you’re absolutely right, Vern. Who am I kidding? It would be the most amazing thing ever. It would invent new strains of awesome that even the most jaded newsies haven’t developed antibodies to combat yet.

    I just don’t have it in me to dream that big anymore.

  106. It’s probably about time Jodorowsky made another film.

  107. Now we’re dreaming big!
    Dreaming smaller, I’d like to see Lexi Alexander, as mentioned above, or whoever was responsible for the awesomeness of PUNISHER: WAR ZONE get a chance to make me smile again with some ridiculous R-rated carnage.

    And here’s a cool idea– I wouldn’t be opposed to giving JCVD some control of the scenes where he does a split or goes 1-on-1 with whomever, & a co-director credit as well, but mainly:


  108. Not that some other top choices aren’t potentially great, but if you’re not rooting for Verhoeven (or Mann {drools, pinches self}) here, then you’re not striving for excellence. And that means that you’re being Ellis. Don’t be Ellis.


  109. Andromeda – I’ve just watched it for the first time. Seeing as it’s been critiqued to death regarding the action sequences etc, here are four ORIGINAL things that irritated me about “The Expendables”:

    1) The dialogue is one tease after another with no decent payoff. Example: “You know what’s wrong about this scene?” “What?” “Everything.” Everything WHAT? What’s supposed to be wrong? The brutish soldiers? The civillians? The entire human condition? What the fuck are they talking about?

    Another example: “You guys aren’t gonna start sucking each others’ dicks are you? Tee hee hee. Let’s get down to business.” Seriously, WHAT? What is Bruce Willis going on about? And did the script seriously call for him to “giggle sarcastically”? Practically every other line in the movie is like this. The dialogue is a hash of action-movie cliches that make NO SENSE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE MOVIE. (In fact, so are most of the cameos, the in-jokes, the “homages”, etc.) Anyway…

    2) I can forgive them for ripping off “The Terminator”. I can forgive the awful puns (“He wants to be President”). I can forgive the many, many “Lock Stock” references (massive weapons abound!) although “Lock, Stock” made use of them in a way that was actually funny. I can even forgive them ripping off “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, because hey, Charisma Carpenter. (Come to think of it, if this film had had more of Charisma Carpenter staking vampires, it might’ve been a bit more interesting.) But seriously, WHY do you rip off the “I’ve already tried therapy, obviously it didn’t work!” line from “Urban Legend”? Some things are just too sacred. It’s like ripping off the “Rosebud” scene at the end of “Citizen Kane” or something.

    3) The soundtrack. It’s like they took every worn-out cliche of action movie soundtracks and put them in this film in a way that would be as deliberately annoying and intrusive as possible. It’s not even consistent. You get annoying overblown orchestral beats that sound like they’ve been lifted from “Modern Warfare” or some other big-budget videogame during the “action” sequences. Then you have the “Desperado” scene, otherwise known as “beautiful latino woman walks into a bar with the sun behind her in slow motion to the sound of Spanish guitars”, and you’ve got the “male bonding” scenes to two of the only four “movie-rock” anthems that have ever been used in any action movie ever. (Thin Lizzie’s “The Boys are back”, anybody?)

    4) When given a great script and direction, Stallone is great at the “damaged warrior” – “First Blood” proved this. But holy crap, he was bad in this movie. Painfully so. The final scene with Giselle Itie was just terrible. I think he was trying to convey that he was bad at showing emotion or saying goodbye or something, but it just came off as incredibly awkward.

    Oh, and the final twenty minutes or so needed more explosions. Not enough of them in this movie.

    What worked?

    Statham was as good as he usually is when not given very much to do. Some of the “post-action” stuff wasn’t as bad as I was expecting – there’s a decent car chase at one point. What they did with Dolph Lundgren’s character surprised me twice (first I thought he’d turn out to be a double-agent working for Stallone the entire time, and then I didn’t think they’d bring him back at the end) so that was good. Steve Austin made an effective “enforcer” henchman-villain and had a good threatening physical presence.

    But in the end the dialogue is bad, the score is terrible, Stallone’s acting is terrible, most of the cast is wasted, a lot of the action scenes were just too frenetic and badly-edited, I didn’t know or care enough about most of the characters, and the constant references to other (better) films came across as more annoying than fun.

    Who should direct “The Expendables 2”? Jan de Bont, because on the strength of the first one, that’s all this series deserves. Sorry. (Although I did like “Speed”, so maybe it’ll be half-decent.)

  110. Mouth – and now I feel like Ellis.

    Seriously, do we want Verhoeven wasted on this crap when he could be directing “Robocop 4”?

  111. ROBOCOP 4? C’mon, Verhoeven doesn’t do sequels.


  112. Were Jan De Bont or Christopher McQuarrie already suggested?

  113. Christopher McQuarrie would be good. Way of the Gun was excellent. No love for Renny Harlin? He sure knows how to blow stuff up…

  114. I don’t think I could see Miller as he is now directing something like this – maybe the young up-and-comer of 1980, who acted as a second-unit director on a number of lower-budget Australian B-Movies, like “The Chain Reaction,” which is the one you had on the tip of your tongue, Vern. But, as it stands now, he’s become too much of a singular voice to be able to lend any kind of purely workman-like talents to something like this. He has a continual story and societal focus that he’s trying to develop, through all of his films – something that, since Thunderdome, has become ultimately pretty hopeful and humanitarian, in thesis if not in execution. There’s very little left of that black, comic cynicality that defined the first two Mad Max films, really. And besides, up next he has “Happy Feet 2,” which is due out this November – I’m pretty excited for it, if any of the rumors that are being passed around the Australian animation industry are true.

    Speaking of, my ungodly long essay on Happy Feet and its place within Miller’s filmography both from a visual and thematic stand-point is finally finished, and can be found here:


  115. MikeOutWest, I mentioned Harlin earlier and the more I think about it the more I like the idea. He has already worked with Stallone twice, you can probably get him on the cheep these days (he directed 13 ROUNDS), and even if you do not like his movies you have to admit he knows how to direct an action sequence and his films look good. I think DEEP BLUE SEA is great, and CLIFFHANGER, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, & DIE HARD 2 are all solid to good action films.

    I do agree with everyone who thinks Sly will get a Director he can control or at the very least influence. I also think he will get an inexpensive director, because most of the budget will be spent on the cast. Sly would also be well served to hire a guy like Hyams instead of a big time Hollywood director because Hyams will be more used to having to work on a budget and a tight shooting schedule.

  116. Stallone is making the right call by turning over the reins to someone else. McTiernan or Hymans would be good.

    Expendables did not deliver. Cinematography was dark but not moody. Characters had no depth–the closest they came to any kind of back story was that random Rourke monologue and Statham’s girl’s jerk ex-boyfriend. It was pretty shameless how they promoted the crud out of that Arnie/Willis scene. Bottom line: not a lot of really good action, not a very interesting plot. Not very grand or epic in feel–very generic. Not very funny. The cinematography seemed like high-class DTV (no offense, Vern).

    I’m just saying that, given the streak Stallone was on w/ Balboa and Rambo, and given the cast, the budget, and all the yammering about this being the manly throwback action movie to end all action movies: expectations were high, and this was a mediocre film that did not even begin to deliver. The whole was actually less than the sum of its parts.

    I feared it when I saw the trailers, and it was confirmed when I watched the film. Dolph was the best character in the film, but his whole arc just felt kind of random and under-utilized, and his final resolution seemed implausible on at least a couple of levels.

    Stallone dropped the ball on this one, bigtime. He is wise to turn it over to another director. As 0a director, he does better w/ more intimate films (yes, I’m arguing that Rambo was intimate; sue me). He was just out of his league trying to pull this off.

  117. Wayne. Fucking. Kramer.

  118. I can’t believe this discussion is so popular, beeteedubs. I mean, we know what’s coming, Stallone has done this a number of times. It’s the exact same scenario as Bruce Willis and the Die Hard 5 director. It doesn’t matter who they get, the guy will be a hired gun who will take his marching orders from Stallone, who will ultimately be the auteur behind this project just as Eddie Murphy is the auteur in Nutty Professor, Norbit, Meet Dave, et al.

    There is almost no chance we will get an even vaguely interesting director, and if we did, it would still be boring work from him or her (I think Lexi Alexander is actually a very realistic possibility). Anyone applying for this job understands that he/she will basically be working as Stallone’s assistant. My vote would go to Justin Lin because he knows how to make movies based upon other’s specifications, but still inject them with a bit of specificity. Except, I think he’s too big for this now because I’m pretty sure that Fast 5 will open to 80+ million after that last trailer, which was the best I’ve seen in ages.

    Wayne Kramer is another choice I like. The dude is dirt cheap after the back-to-back bombs of Running Scared and Crossing Over followed by 3 or 4 still born projects. He plans shit out ahead of time and can get good performances out of mediocre actors and he makes sure things are always WEIRD.

    The most realistic option is a newbie director, fresh out of music videos, or a cinematographer looking to make the transition into features. Someone who really, really won’t fuck with Stallone. You know, just like pretty much every franchise picture he’s ever done, and most of his 90s and early 00s output.

  119. But dead serious here, the best possible version of this movie would be David Mamet’s The Expendibles II. I seriously cannot even put into words how amazing that movie would be. And it actually makes perfect sense if you think about the elements of masculinity in Mamet’s oeuvre. Plus, the con game elements of his typical narratives could easily be overlayed into an action adventure, as we saw in Redbelt and Spartan. And by “we” I mean, “Me and like 10 other people.”

    Here’s one of my favorite jokes:

    A man in a tuxedo exits the premiere of a new broadway play, a beautiful, surgically perfect blonde dripping in diamonds on his arm. A beggar approaches the rich man and asks for some change.

    “Neither a lender nor borrower be,” says the rich man. “That’s Shakespeare.”

    “Oh, yeah,” says the beggar. “Fuck you. That’s David Mamet.”

  120. I support the nomination for Renny Harlin. He was once known as The Sequelizer, right? As mentioned above, he’s worked with Stallone, knows his way around the camera, and has made badasses of Michael Rooker, Thomas Jane, and even Geena Davis. He’s sequelized McTiernan, made a great film from a Shane Black script, and worked with ultimate badass Sam Jackson more than anyone besides Tarantino. And this is a controversial opinion, but parts of DIE HARDER are even better than the original. Recently he’s been trying out all different kinds of genres as a director-for-hire, and while they don’t exactly stand up to his best work at least he returned to the action movie to show he’s still competent enough to pull off a passable thriller with lots of satisfying set pieces.

    You want a self-conscious Verhoeven touch coupled with a man whose past experiences include a DIE HARD, a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, an underrated Stallone film with lots of stunts and explosions AND a “smart shark” movie? Here’s your man. I’m not even defending him here, I’m suggesting that Sly get on the phone and beg Renny to take up the reins of this one (unless Renny’s finally cleared up the funding problems on his epic Mannerheim biopic back in Finland – that’s the ultimate Harlin project I’m dying to see become a reality one day.)

    And just think – one of the Expendables (I’m thinking Statham) will die at the beginning or middle of the movie at a completely unconventional and unexpected time that will be absolutely thrilling…

  121. Chris McQuarrie, that’s a great one I didn’t think of. And David Mamet – holy shit! I almost think if they were crazy enough to offer it to him that he would do it. I would like to request for Mike Terry to appear as one of the Expendables and it would take place before REDBELT.

    Also the Renny Harlin idea is growing on me. There’s something great about the guy that did DIE HARD 2 doing EXPENDABLES 2. He would bring some crazy and whatever you think of him he does have action chops. Even 13 ROUNDS had good action scenes when he was trying to do it shakycam style (although he thought it was a new style that he had invented).

  122. Mamet’s also got the Randy Couture connection, right? Couture should give Stallone Mamet’s cell phone number.

  123. As the #1 SPARTAN fan and presumably #1 English language & theatre pedant/snob here, I of course love Mamet like no other. It’s not natural how much my heart & frontal lobe well up when SGM suspends posse comitatus and asks the guys in the hangar or wherever, “Who here can show me a Ranger tab?” (THE UNIT, season 1)

    And I’ve already done my part to big up the neglected Renny Harlin masterpiece MINDHUNTERS, which no one else seems to like, so there.

    A Mamet-polished script directed by Renny Harlin? This would be a good thing. Add in a monologue or a .357 ballistics explication written by Milius and we have outlawgasmic cinema.

  124. Also, Wayne Kramer wrote the original draft of Mindhunters…which is NOTHING like the finished film (which I also greatly enjoy).

  125. Oh…and IMDB tells me that Kramer is also making a movie with Stallone right now called Headshot. Sounds like we might have our man…

  126. billydeethrilliams

    March 12th, 2011 at 2:54 am

    MIchael Haneke.

  127. Hunter D – Headshot? Damn, I like that title. Sounds and smells like r-rated material to me. In loved RUNNING SCARED!

  128. Michael Haneke great Idea! – The Title should be:

    “EXPENDABLES 2 – The Search for Jean-Luc Godard”

    In which small group of 80’s Action Stars go on a rescue mission for a myserious organisation called “the acadmy”.
    The Team has to deliver a small golden sculpture into the hands of Godard, an crazy old european Masterkiller who’s gone rogue.

    Sounds like a plan to make tons of money at “ze” Box Office

  129. Most definitely would like to see Florentine at least considered. Lin would be cool too, Tokyo Drift was dope and the new Vin car movie looks alright to. Interesting enough to get my money anyway considering that I skipped the last one.

  130. Sidenote: I still can’t believe I live in a world where Shane Black has actually been hired to craft a blockbuster completely on his own. WTF took hollywood so damn long?

  131. Don’t we have the technology to clone people yet? Hasn’t some studio secretly cloned Sam Peckinpah, and he wouldn’t he just do a jim-dandy job?
    So if Peckinpah’s clone is not available, and my other suggestions of Woo and Hill can’t do it, the I’d like to see what Werner Herzog would make of it. That’s a more entertaining choice than Haneke.

  132. I like the idea of stunt casting a director — Dolph, or JCVD, maybe. But we over look the obvious:

    Steven Seagal.

  133. Former stuntlegend Vic Armstrong made Dolphsters ARMY OF ONE. So he may be a good choice.

  134. I’m still laughing uncontrollably at the idea of a new Golan movie.

  135. Yeah, he’s lost form of course, but what’s John Carpenter up to these days? Anything? I’m thinking Big Trouble In Little China Carpenter or Escape From New York Carpenter, obviously, not Ghosts of Mars Carpenter.

  136. Jareth Cutestory

    March 12th, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Majestyk: I misread your earlier comment “irony is for limp-dicked liberals who never even bothered to get their carry permit” as “irony is for limp-dicked liberals who never even bothered to get their CRAZY permit.” I was embarrassed at my mistake for a moment, then realized that Milius probably does in fact have a Crazy Permit. He keeps in in his wallet next to his License to Go Hog Wild.

    You may not have it in you anymore to wish for Verhoeven to direct EXPENDABLES 2, but it’s really encouraging that you haven’t resigned yourself to pimping Len Wiseman or J.J. Abrams for the project.

    Also, if EXPENDABLES 2 wants to inject some cool into the proceedings, they need Takeshi Kitano in there somewhere.

  137. Actually the more I think about it the more I’d like Renny Harlin to give it a whirl. Like Verhoven, he would make a bigger, more stylized, more goofy movie than Stallone seemed to be trying for with the first one, but damn it if it wouldn’t be a lot of fun.

    OK here’s a new name for the hat: Andrew Davis. True, his last attempt at action, 2002’s COLLATERAL DAMAGE, was a colossal bust. But before that he’s got a pretty good track record of making well-paced, classically styled high-energy films. His movies vary in quality (usually due to script), but you can’t fault his eye for action sequences, pacing, and macho energy. Plus, we might get Joe Pantoliano in there too. He’s a seasoned workman who has plenty of experience with big action stars and setpieces, yet understands the basic tenants of badass auteur theory (his difficulties with Seagal on UNDER SEIGE notwithstanding).

  138. Does anybody know if JCVD is officially on board for this squeal? (Not to direct, but as an actor)

  139. I like the idea of Mamet writing more than I do directing.

  140. I have heard talk of Bruce being the villain in the squeal, and that would be cool, but I also really like the idea of Stallone leading the Expendables against an Arnold lead a team of mercenaries featuring rising modern action stars like MJW, Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror, the 2 parkour guys from DISTRICT B13, and (I know it will never happen) Tony Jaa. Also, I think Nic Cage would make an awesome Expendables villain.

  141. David Milch should be involved somehow. He’d be great for the little character moments.

  142. Ok, I’m going to give one to the brits here. Neil Marshall. Excellent choice IMO.

  143. Charles. Why are you not making millions of dollars as a screenwriter? That is the BEST IDEA I HAVE EVER HEARD FOR AN ACTION MOVIE…and I have the perfect McGuffin. But I can’t share it because I’m actually writing a script with said McGuffin.

  144. I posted about getting Stephen Norrington off his arse and back directing, but it vanished. Anyway, someone should get him out of retirement and promise him that Sean Connery won’t be in the film.

  145. Isn’t Norrington doing The Crow reboot?

    It would be awesome if Shane Black was avaliable to direct The Expendables 2.

  146. Thanks Hunter, feel free to use my idea, just give me credit and when you become a successful screen writer you could help me get my foot in the door. Now I am curious as to what your McGuffin is.

  147. Unfortunately most of the people who have twitterated to Stallone about this agree with Paul’s patently incorrect claim that Neil Marshall would be a good choice for this. I know he made two good movies before but the action scenes in THE EXPENDABLES look amazing in comparison to DOOMSDAY. I haven’t seen CENTURION yet but even if it’s amazing (which no one has claimed as far as I know) it would just be too much of a risk to let him near this type of movie.

  148. Vern, while I can’t say that I would be excited about Neil Marshall directing, he is not a terrible pic. I like DOG SOLDIERS, and THE DESCENT, but you should hold off on passing judgment until you have seen CENTURION. There really is not too much to the movie, but the action is well directed and it looks good. However, I am with you that if he got the gig directing the EXPENDABLES he would be required to direct action set pieces on a scale he has never worked on previously. He also has no real experience dealing with big movie stars and he would be working with a number of them on E2.

  149. John Hyams was the first guy i tought of when i heard Stallone would not direct the sequel. Glad to see i was not the only one. I also think Nimrod Antal would do a good job. He handled the ensemble cast of Predators very well.

  150. I think that we, the outlaw community, need to decide on someone and then spam the fuck out of Sly’s twitter account and the AICN/CHUD/Whatever boards. We need a united front here people, it’s the only way we have any hope of affecting the outcome.

    In my opinion, JON HYAMS most definitely makes the most sense.

  151. Glad to see this topic running and running – popping back after 24 hours to find the debate still hot!

    I love the idea of Harlin directing a Mamet script, that would be so cool. Spartan is just one of the most badass movies ever (“My arm, you broke my arm!”-CRACK! “Now it’s broken.”)

    I agree with the consensus that you should check out Centurion, it holds together a lot better than Doomsday (a film I maintain is underappreciated). Not sure that Neil Marshall’s style would meld particularly well with the action we’re all purporting to want from Expendables 2 though. Marshall’s films are action packed but with a particularly rapid editing style.

  152. Strewth, if Marshall is a contender then this is a sad state of affairs. What has he directed? Two cheap (admittedly good) horror films where a lot of the action takes place in the fucking dark, a greatest hits compilation of the best action film scenes re-imagined poorly and cheaply, and Centurion. Centurion was okay, but it’s hardly got me breaking open the champagne at the prospect of him being championed for Expendables 2.

  153. If I had a Twitter account I would spam Sly to death that he needs to hire Harlin or Hyams.

  154. Justin Lin — Realistic choice. Does big studio fare with lots of muscles, works well around bizarre studio and star demands, injects a bit of specificity into his work. That said, he might be too big for this. His asking price will certainly go up after Fast 5 opens and they’re doing this film on a budget. Are they really gonna give Lin 5-8 million dollars when literally NO ONE (besides me) will be more interested in the film because of his participation? They’re working backwards from a release date for this, so he wouldn’t have as much prep time as he might need considering the worldwide press he’ll have to do for Fast 5. I also understand that Fast and Furious, Fast 5, and a hypothetical Fast 6 are part of a three film arc that the studio agreed to in order to get Vin to do his cameo on Tokyo Drift, so it’s very likely that Lin might already be spoken for. And then there’s always his Highlander reboot.

    Neil Marshall — He’s cheap, but has some cache with the geek community. He’s talented and can work on a budget. That said, he doesn’t seem like he’d let Stallone push him around and he’s never had a film really perform at the US box office. His last film was distributed by Magnet Releasing and the one before that bombed horribly. It seems like a big step down to choose him even though I think he could do a very good job.

    Wayne Kramer — I really think this might be Wayne Kramer’s gig to lose. He’s been working with Stallone on another film. He’s done an ensemble with a big name cast. He can shoot big action on a small budget and is known to storyboard his entire film, shot for shot, which would be rather keen here. Of course, much like Marshall he has never had a box office hit and his last film was a disaster, though that was largely the fault of Sean “I beat up Madonna but now wanna take the moral high ground on honor killings even though they really exist” Penn.

    Renny Harlin — He’s worked with Stallone. He knows his way around a set. He’d definitely give it an 80s vibe. He’s definitely a hired gun. He will get the film in on time and on budget without causing any waves. However, he probably would cost more than they want to spend on the director and he hasn’t had a real hit since…Jesus…Cliffhanger?!?! This guy seriously hasn’t made a decent and/or profitable film in almost 20 years. How are you guys excited for him? His last film, 12 Rounds, was the final nail in Fox Atomic’s coffin. His film before that went STV (and it wasn’t designed as STV). His film before that Was The Convent. Before that was Exorcist: The Beginning, which admittedly was better than Schrader’s version, but still underperformed at the US box office, given the total cost. Before that it was Mindhunters, which I enjoy, but sat on the shelf for over a year. Looking over this resume, I have no idea how this guy keeps getting work. I know he’s a gifted design artist who comes to the studio with great drawings of many of the set-pieces, but Jesus, everything he does is utter shit. And given the “Best Picture” rule, that means he’ll probably get the job.

    Lexi Alexander — A good choice, but I feel like Punisher Warzone was a career ender for her. Women get less slack and I understand that she got a reputation as “difficult” as a result of the film.

    Norrington — Not a chance. He hasn’t made a film in almost a decade, and that film was Extraordinary League of Gentlemen. He’s known as difficult by this time, didn’t handle ensemble action well last time, and is not going to sign up to be Stallone’s assistant after his experiences on LXG.

    Most of the other names are guys who are too old, too expensive, or just haven’t worked in a major mainstream franchise in too long. Verhoven is in his mid to late 70s, which would make him an insurance issue, not to mention the fact that he would only do the film if he got paid a lot. He’s too much of a marquee name and his “works on two levels” shtick only works if he has time to work on the screenplay, which he wouldn’t here. Plus, he hasn’t made a hit movie in America in a very, very long time.

    Andrew Davis — Other than being too old and kinda irrelevant, he’s much closer to the type of director we will likely see. Lots of TV work, maybe one or two action films under his belt. Will likely let Stallone have his way ever time, competent but anonymous.

    Chris McQuarrie — he’s a writer first and has never had a hit film. Not a chance.

    John Carpenter — He has had a movie in the can for over a year and still no release date in sight. Not gonna happen.

    Robert Rodriguez — would be a good choice, except he LOVES his digital effects and has a sort of hackish auteur aesthetic to his work. I don’t think he could mimic someone else’s style. Plus, do we really want this to be another “movie”? Because I’d rather have a movie.

    Nimrod Anatal — He’s a likely choice, actually. Stylish, yet anonymous. He takes orders and allowed Predators to be viewed as a Rodriguez film. He can shoot scale on the cheap and won’t over shadow the rest of the cast.

    The only reason any of us should want one of the great DTV directors to do this film would be so that he could have enough clout to get a theatrical studio film off the ground based on Expendibles II’s box office. But this film would not be his and everyone in Hollywood would know it. Consequently, said director would be considered a gun for hire, and would be offered work as such. Florentine doesn’t seem like he has that in him based upon that interview Vern posted here. Haym’s father might warn his son against such a route, as it didn’t exactly work out for him in the long run. Really, this could be one of those big chances that ruins a director’s career while making him into a multi-millionaire. So, do we want Florentine’s grandkids to have a college fund, or do we want him to keep kicking ass and taking names?

  155. You guys really wanna know who’s gonna get the job? Stallone is repped by ICM. Apparently his agents are Jeff Berg (head of ICM) Jim Osborne (Who is now at APA after jumping between a lot of agencies over the last few years) and John Burnham (who recently moved to ICM from William Morris).

    If someone here can find their client lists and see if there are any up and coming action directors on it…there’s your man. That’s how this industry works.

  156. Hunter, I can see your point about Harlin not having had much success in the past decade, but the same could have been said of Sly until he made the ROCKY BALBOA, and Sly’s best non-franchise film is CLIFFHANGER. Justin Lin, would be a good choice but like you said I don’t think they can afford him. He is becoming an A list action director. Also, I heard that Universal was considering buying the Terminator franchise for Lin to helm. In the end you are most likely right that it will be an unknown with some sort of affiliation with Sly’s camp, but debating the options is a fun game to play.

  157. By the way, have any of you seen a film called 50/50, starring Paul Weller, Robert Hays and Charles Martin Smith? Eerily similar type of story to Expendables with some good action scenes.

  158. Renny Harlin could be good. Seriously, though, Mindhunters? That was not good…verging on so-bad-it’s-kinda-good, but not quite.

    What about Peter Berg? I thought he did a nice job w/ Rundown. The production values on that film (and general entertainment value) were many times better than Expendables, and I bet it was cheaper.

    Now that I think of it more, I think one of the flaws of Expendables was in actually trying to have a backstory for some of these characters. They tried to give you some backstory for Li, Statham, Lundgren, and (oddly) Mickey Rourke–but it felt perfunctory, uneven, and just scattered. Rather than really developing one or two many characters, there are all these half-baked attempts to add just a little bit of depth to a bunch of them. Why not just dispense with that and have them just kicking non-stop butt the whole time and actually having some fun. I don’t care if it’s a cliche, but the part where Statham whoops on the jerk ex-boyfriend is the closest to an actual fun moment in that movie.

    And, again with the cinematography. For as much money as they spent making and promoting this movie, why did it feel so (literally) dark? Again, compare Rundown.

  159. billydeethrilliams

    March 12th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    William Friedkin.

  160. Skani, I also suggested Berg based on my fondness for THE RUNDOWN. He would be a great choice, but he is way out of their budget.

  161. I have a soft spot for Mindhunters on a personal level. There was a reshoot for Christian Slater’s (spoiler) death scene which he wasn’t available for, so I stood in for him, literally. Had to pretend my legs were getting blasted with liquid nitrogen for about twelve hours. Renny Harlin is extremely laid back in person. It was funny watching him eat his lunch while discussing with fx guys the intracies of a frozen corpse shattering into bloody pieces.

    Turned out pretty good in the end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLJUOK7Q0AU

  162. Best scene in the movie!

  163. Jimbolo, I am in awe of you. What a great opportunity to have your legs shattered in a Renny Harlin film.

    To all the Renny-gative naysayers out there, all I can say is wait for his Mannerheim movie. It deals with a controversial military genius who commanded the army during their civil war, became president of the country and later blew cigar smoke in Hitler’s face. And it’s going to deal with the Soviet-Finnish Winter War of 1939-40, in which a vastly outgunned, outmanned and undersupplied Finnish army managed to hold back something like 780,000 Russian soldiers and retain the sovereignty of their nation. We’re talking farmers on skis hurling Molotov cocktails at tanks, some really insane guerilla warfare. If they ever figure out the financing problems that film’s going to be a classic.

    But he may need that Expendables money to help out, so forget what I said: don’t wait for that movie, just give Harlin a chance to prove himself once again. Using “directed a horror movie, a DTV movie and a series of films that didn’t make money” is not going to count as a negative against a director in this particular forum, I think.

    Also Hunter D., saying he hasn’t made a decent film in 20 years means you’re including a genuine classic (The Long Kiss Goodnight) and an awesome oddity (Deep Blue Sea), which are both great.

  164. Also just want to say it’s unfortunate Charlie Sheen has lost his mind, because one character I’d like to see added to the Expendables lineup would be the great Ditch Brodie from TERMINAL VELOCITY.

  165. If my only internet talkback legacy is that I convinced a few folks to watch & love MINDHUNTERS half as much as I do, then I’ll die happy.

  166. Vern – “Dog Soldiers” and “The Descent” were great though. I haven’t seen his last two films so I’m not qualified to comment on them, HOWEVER:

    – If you’re looking for someone who can direct good action scenes that don’t involve shakycam and lens-flare, then I agree, get somebody else. (Although I still say Verhoeven would be wasted.)

    – If, on the other hand, you’re looking for someone who can do an action movie in the modern “style” AND make it work, I would argue that Marshall is an obvious choice, just based on the two movies of his that I’ve seen.

    Also, what’s the “risk” here? I didn’t HATE “Expendables” but I just went to some lengths pointing out its problems. The bad action direction is actually probably the least of its major problems – there’s one chase and one fight scene on a basketball pitch that kind-of-work more than the others do, so it’s not universally bad, just mostly so. Stallone’s terrible acting is another huge negative – he’s the lead, yet he’s totally unconvincing – but to me the absolute worst features of “The Expendables” were the terrible score, and the cliche’d dialogue that didn’t make any sense in the context of the movie.

    So as well as a new director this film needs a new composer and sound designer, a new lead actor and a new scriptwriter – but especially the composer and sound designer. You guys know movie soundtracks are my “thing”, but a bad score will ruin a good movie for me, and “The Expendables” is not a good movie.

    As for Renny Harlin, I’d have to say that he usually brings something unusual to the mix – whether or not that’s a good thing is another matter though. I don’t think he works for “The Expendables 2”. What this film needs is an excellent scriptwriter combined with a great action director. Harlin is a one-man show, and that’s a bad thing in this context.

  167. Talking about 1980’s B stars- what about Daniel Stephen who did many cult classics
    in the 80’s including, “2020 Texas Gladiators”, “Warrior of the Lost World” and
    starred in “WarBus” . http://www.danielstephen.com. He is now in NYC.

  168. If Craig R Baxley is not available to direct, I’d have to go with Craig Baxley’s R hair and ‘tache combo. I’m sure something could be worked out.

    I really liked THE EXPENDABLES – sure, some of it was lazily shot and written but it was a balls-out flick and I dug it. It had a lot of heart, too.

    I honestly couldn’t really think of anyone better than the names already given but I am genuinely surprised as to why Stallone seems to have handed over the reins to his new franchise so readily.

  169. I would suggest Albert Pyun since vhs copies of his director’s cuts are now emerging for the film world to reconsider his place in it.

    Lawsuit by stuntman against Van Damme

    Brain Smasher discussion on Howard Stern

    Making of…
    Left For Dead

  170. Yeah, I saw the first few minutes of his director’s cut for Cyborg. It was somehow even worse than the theatrical version.

  171. Jimbolo – that’s really you? I loved that part! That shit is hilarious!

  172. My vote is for Hyams.

    By the way, just saw this in Ebert’s review of Battle: Los Angeles:

    “There is a lazy editing style in action movies these days that assumes nothing need make any sense visually. In a good movie, we understand where the heroes are, and where their opponents are, and why, and when they fire on each other, we understand the geometry. In a mess like this, the frame is filled with flashes and explosions and shots so brief that nothing makes sense. From time to time, there’ll be a closeup of Aaron Eckhart screaming something, for example, and on either side of that shot, there will be unrelated shots of incomprehensible action.”

    Does this sound like any other film reviewers we know? (oh, and he’s totally right too)

  173. Jimbolo has the most famous legs on this website. Congrats, bud.

    I’d like to make a bold prediction now and say that Brad Bird, after he completes his current MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, should direct THE EXPENDABLES 3.

  174. Haha, cheers. Yeah, that was a fun day. I also did the inserts for the end when (spoiler again) Jonny Lee Miller snatches up his pistol and I threw the watch that LL Cool J throws down (can’t remember his one-liner, something like ‘Your time’s up, bitch’). Ever tried to get a watch to land on a steel grating face up? “okay, Take 59, I’ll get it this time… Motherfucker! Okay, this time, definitely…” But yeah, the legs bit was the funniest. “We’re gonna keep blasting the fire extinguisher. Grab your legs like they’re freezing…”

    Also, Renny Harlin’s lunch was a pasta salad if anyone’s interested.

  175. Paul – well, none of the things you mentioned are concerns to me at all, or to most people as far as I’ve heard. Like I said in the post and in the review my main problem with THE EXPENDABLES is the poorly shot action, and many others can relate to this. Since we usually disagree on everything chances are you will love DOOMSDAY, but as I have mentioned several times it’s one of my most hated in-theater movie viewings of the last few years, topped only by DOMINO. It is absolutely terrible action editing and shooting so as much as I loved THE DESCENT it killed all faith and enthusiasm I had for Marshall.

    I’ll try to watch CENTURION soon and give it a fair shot. But all I’m saying is this is a chance to hire a director who would do a better job of the action scenes, therefore you don’t hire one of the directors that has proven to be way, way worse at shooting action. The “risk” I mentioned is that he would repeat that artistic crime.

  176. Those suggesting Renny Harlin must not have watched 12 Rounds. The directing was awful in that one.

  177. As long as we’re talking Scandinavians, how about Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher 1, 2, 3 and Valhalla Rising)?

  178. pegsma,

    good suggestion!

  179. Vern – actually the things we disagree on are pretty much the only things I ever bring up here. (Which Seagal film have we disagreed on, for example, apart from “Hard to Kill”? I know I’ve said “Against the Dark” isn’t the absolute worst / most pointless of Seagal’s films, but hell, I think we can all get behind the fact that it’s still pretty damn bad.) Maybe I should be more supportive.

    I will make a suggestion here though. Go watch “The Expendables” again (yeah, I know, I know, but stay with me here…) but turn the sound down on the action sequences. See how they strike you (figuratively speaking). I expect they’ll appear schizophrenic and sometimes incomprehensible – that’s “post-action” for you unfortunately – but annoying, in a purely visceral way? Nope.

    What makes them annoying is the sheer brainlessness of most of the action-movie-cliche-heavy dialogue (I lost track of the amount of times I listened to this movie and felt like screaming at the screen “WHAT? What the fuck? That makes NO FUCKING SENSE when you say it there!”) and that horrible overdone videogame-lite pompous repetitive heavy-handed orchestral music shite they insist on playing during all of them. I mean, seriously, this is supposed to be a nostalgic take on eighties action movie cliches, right? (Or at least I hope it is – it has enough of them.) Then why the fuck don’t they take a tip from films like “Commando” or “Lethal Weapon”?

    I mean, listen to “Commando”. REALLY listen to it. The score is pure eighties bombast but it’s great and it fits the film so well. At times what you get is a one-note minimalist metallic that repeats like some kind of crazy drumbeat, ratcheting up the tension. At other times it goes into brass / saxophone overdrive, and sometimes you get a weird Hawaiian-strings feel. But whatever it does, it sounds great and it fits the movie perfectly.

    And “Lethal Weapon”… yeah, I know it’s fashionable to make fun of its saxophones nowadays. But you know what? They worked. They’re weird and off-the-wall, even for their time, but they fit the mood of the film perfectly and they didn’t sound like a bad fucking videogame soundtrack.

    What I’m saying is I don’t in any way disagree with you guys about the state of action filmmaking today or in this movie (“Bourne 2” for me was ruined by one thing and one thing only, its shakycam). But here’s a question: when did we lose, not only the ability to direct action sequences, but also the ability to set a score to them? When did that suddenly become a past art? Looking back at many of my comments about recent movies, they all seem to boil down to: “Movie might’ve been good, bad or indifferent, but the score was fucking annoying”. This is becoming a regular complaint of mine. It never used to be. What happened?

  180. Oh yeah, remember the two films I said were my top choices for last year? “Inception” and “Toy Story 3”? Also remember how I enjoyed “Scott Pilgrim” and “The Town”? Notice anything those four films have in common? GREAT FUCKING SOUNDTRACKS. This is how much this thing means to me.

  181. Someone might have said this before but there were waaay too many comments to read through to make sure. I honestly think that realistically, Renny Harlin would be a good choice. He has the ‘Cliffhanger’ connection with Sly and ‘Die Hard 2’ is underrated as fuck. Also, ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’ is highly enjoyable.

    He’s my choice in a real world kind of way.

    Though of Course, McTiernan is the wet dream.

  182. Also, while we’re talking about wet dreams let’s just toss fuckin’ Friedkin in there.

  183. I just re-watched “Taken”, and I think Pierre Morrell could make a good E2 movie. (I’m pretty sure someone else mentioned him) I don’t know what kind of price he could command, and probably wouldn’t want to be a puppet for Stallone, but I think the action in Taken is concise and coherent.

  184. Morel would hardly be any more of a puppet for Stallone than he’s been on any of the films he’s done for Luc Besson. He’d probably be a good call.

  185. I don’t know, he’s good with a serious tone, not so good with something lighter. He botched the humor in FROM PARIS WITH LOVE pretty much completely. And since I can’t see Sly ditching the one-liners and the repartee between the guys, that could be a real problem.

  186. So, how definite is it that Stallone won’t actually direct? I’m not a Twitterer so I don’t know if he’s been tweeting or tooting about it, but are we just going by a story in a paper or is this concrete?

  187. It comes from a story in the Los Angeles Times. The story doesn’t say that he definitely won’t direct it, but that Stallone “isn’t, at the moment, planning to helm the new movie” and that “he’s been meeting with directors to tackle the sequel.”

    So it’s not set in stone, but comes from a real newspaper with solid Hollywood sources, not Harry getting an email or something.

    As for Twitterings, Stallone seems to have stopped shortly after election day when he got a bunch of shit for an idiotic tweetering that called Obama a “Manchurian Candidate.”

  188. Vern – and that’s a bad thing? That was an AWESOME movie. The only time in my life that I’ve ever been given nightmares by Angela Lansbury (except for one spectacularly dark and personal episode of “Murder she Wrote”… but let’s not go there.) I mean, it’s not as if Stallone was seriously suggesting that Obama is a mind-controlled puppet whose strings are pulled by an evil Asian conglomerate in league with Obama’s own mother – oh wait a minute… never mind.

    And not a single comment deriding Lethal Weapon’s saxophones. I’m disappointed.

  189. Why blame the saxophone when it’s got that fuckin guitar noodling?

  190. Damn! Somebody beat me to naming Albert Pyun… His movies could either be the most wonderful b-movie thrash you could fiind (DOLLMAN,NEMESIS) or the most painfully fucking boring movie experience you ever had. Ever watched BLAST….bleergh!

  191. Vern – I never heard the term “noodling” before, but I love it. Instantly gives me the mental image of a bowl of Chinese food sitting behind a guitar, strumming it with noodly fingers.

    I can’t believe I didn’t think of your no. 1 choice, Vern. Jon Hyams. Of course he’s the natural successor to Stallone.

  192. One word: Ratner.

  193. JCVD might not be available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30v6vbp3cFc
    Pretty big news, I think.

  194. Zod – well, on the plus side, the action sequences may be vaguely coherent. On the negative side, everything else about the movie would probably be either forgettable or terrible. So yeah, I guess he is a natural successor then…

  195. Is it possible that Brett Ratner kinda disappeared? Years ago he was attached to direct and produce everything, but I can’t remember reading his name somewhere since RUSH HOUR 3. (I’m not complaining, of course.)

  196. If Ratner gets attached to THE EXPENDABLES in any fashion, I’ll boycott it on principle. And I’ll become the most annoying motherfucker anyone’s ever seen on any website that discusses it.

  197. Would love to see father serve as son’s D-o-P again if the right guy gets this. In other Hyams-related cinema news, CAPRICORN ONE is an excellent movie with an intriguing plot, a good extended high-speed bumper-cam sequence, a *great* extended helo-team-versus-crop-duster chase sequence, and just the right amount of badass visual symbolism (Rattlesnake! Scorpion! Cemetery!) in a badass survival story.

    I checked the entries on the voluminous Elliot Gould tag, but apparently Vern hasn’t yet reviewed CAPRICORN ONE yet. As with most movies, I recommend going into it knowing nothing about it.

    Also, it has OJ Simpson playing an astronaut.

  198. Maybe The Stath will recommend some of the first time directors he’s been working with recently; Elliott Lester from Blitz, Gary McKendry from The Killer Elite or Simon Crane from Echelon. On the actor side I’m still waiting for Franco Nero, Bud Spencer and George Lazenby. Come on, Sly!

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