"I'll just get my gear."

What we know about THE EXPENDABLES 2 so far

tn_expendablesBruceAll the comment threads keep getting eaten up by every new crumb of EXPENDABLES 2 news. I don’t really mind because it’s interesting to me too, but I figured I’d do another post about it so this can be the spot to add up-to-the-minute info in the comments and leave the other threads pure. We all pretty much know the basics of what’s going on but I’m gonna sum it up here, pose a couple of action-nerd questions and then we can discuss if applicable.

what we know:

1. Bruce, Sylvester, Arnold

Deadline is now reporting the number one EXPENDABLES 2 assumption as official: Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger have “closed deals” to take “substantial” roles in the movie.

My guess is “substantial” means more than a cameo but less than a starring role. Bruce has DIE HARD 5 and RED 2 (this generation’s THE WHOLE 10 YARDS) lined up, Arnold has the more promising LAST STAND. They’ll probly get hustled along pretty quick but hopefully get a good scene or two each like Mickey Rourke did.

2. They’re trying to get Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins

chucknorrisrevolverIt’s been rumored for months that Van Damme would be the villain, and he’s talked about it in interviews. The Norris rumor is a more recent but persistent one. Since neither have been officially announced we can assume they haven’t completely worked it out yet. But a few days ago commenter Felix pointed me to this link on the official Millennium Films websight. When you click on it as of today it says “Cast: TBA”. But at the time Felix first gave me that link it said:

“Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Scott Adkins.”

Since those names hadn’t been officially announced and I hadn’t even heard about Adkins before that I wondered if it was official. Since they have since removed it I think we can assume that means that’s what they want but it’s not set in stone yet.

The attempted addition of Adkins is kind of a victory for people like us. Back when Stallone was in the Ain’t It Cool talkbacks asking for EXPENDadvice I know some of us were talking up Adkins. At that time he was not very well known, but his legend has grown since then.

(Then again I heard somewhere that Stallone had tried to get him the first time around, probly for the role that went to Gary Daniels.)

3. Mickey Rourke is not getting a bigger part this time. Or ever.

I thought he was the best part of the first one, adding his eccentricities and delivering that tearful monologue like he actually gave a shit. So I was disappointed a while back when I first read this official Millennium Films plot summary:

“The Expendables are back and this time it’s personal! After Tool (Mickey Rourke), the heart and soul of the Expendables, is brutally murdered on a mission, his comrades swear to avenge him. They’re not the only ones who want blood. Tool’s beautiful young and wild daughter Fiona embarks on her own revenge mission, complicating matters when she is captured and ransomed by a ruthless dictator plotting to destroy a resistance movement. Now Barney and the Expendables must risk everything to save her and humanity.”

4. Donnie Yen was offered a role but has not accepted yet

Some scenes will take place in China, which in my opinion is the same exact country where Donnie Yen lives. So they wrote a part for him, but if he turns it down I’m sure they have plenty of people on their backup list.

Didn’t we come up with this idea in the comments before, that the Expendables could go to Hong Kong, they could bring in Chow Yun Fat and various other all-stars and do it in a late ’80s early ’90s John Woo homage type of style? We’re always ahead of the curve on this shit.

5. The action is for sure gonna suck

Even if Stallone figures out that everybody hates the style that he used for the last movie because he thought it was the style that everybody loves, he still has Simon West directing. I personally believe that Mr. West is improving and that THE MECHANIC was watchable, but by far the most competent action scenes he has directed in a movie were in TOMB RAIDER, that was ten years ago and those were not exactly classics or in a style applicable to this material. So it would simply be unrealistic to expect for Stallone to want to change the style drastically from the one he chose for ruining part 1 and for West to suddenly pick up skills he never cared about in 14 years of action filmmaking.

(although I did hear that the Human Target TV show had some good action… can anybody verify that?)

other topics of note:

A. There is currently no wrestler in the cast.

One thing I thought was cool about part 1 was the way he tried to cast badasses of multiple generations and disciplines. He had ’80s action movie icons, Jason Statham, a wusha master, an MMA legend, a guy from WWE. Most of those guys are returning, but Stone Cold Steve Austin’s character was killed. Will Stallone bring in a new wrestling legend, and if so who would/should he get?

You guys would know this one better than me, ’cause all the wrestlers I know best are old and broken down now. I mean I think we’d all be happy to get Roddy Piper in there but I’m thinking Stallone would want more of a physical menace in the Stone Cold mode.

B. What about this “Fiona” lady?

If “Tool’s beautiful young and wild daughter Fiona” is such an important character hopefully they’ll cast somebody as formidable as the men in the movie. But is there anybody young, tough and known enough to fit the bill? I doubt Gina Carano or Jeeja Yanin are available. Who should they get?

My vote is for Maggie Q. Other possible applicants: Zoe Bell, Rhona Mitra, Lena Headey. Then of course you got your Michelle Rodriguez and your go to pretty-girls-who-play-tough like Jessica Biel and Milla Jovovich. Or they could go the “good looking unknown actress with little screen presence” route, that’s a popular one.

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86 Responses to “What we know about THE EXPENDABLES 2 so far”

  1. West only shot the HUMAN TARGET pilot and for a 40 minutes action film on a network TV budget it was pretty good. (The rest of the show varied in terms of action from “Woah, that’s better than anything I’ve seen in theatrical action movies for a while!” to “Aw shit, the shaky cam troll strikes again”.)

  2. Maggie Q would be a glorious selection. Her characters didn’t make it through OPERATION ENDGAME or DIE H4RD (sorry), which gave me a sad, but she was good in PRIE3DT (sorry again) and MI:3. She is an excellent choice for the lead female role in the biggest action film of the year. For an awesome extra credit twist, EXPENDADEUS could utilize her half-Asianness and make her mother. . . Michelle Yeoh!

    No offense to the lovely Ms. Yeoh for conflating the attractiveness of the half-Viatnamese Ms. Q with the idea of being the offspring of a Chinese-Malaysian or whatever mother and a Stallone father. I can’t apologize for pointing out the 17 year age difference that makes this notion feasible because actually it will be a challenge for the make-up experts to make Michelle Yeoh look older than Maggie Q.

    Also I saw the HAYWIRE trailer at the movies recently. Carano & her fight moves look better & betterer when it’s a big screen projection. YouTube doesn’t do it justice.

  3. It’s so depressing to think that a below-average director like Simon West gets this gig when an action guru like Isaac Florentine probably wasn’t even considered. He works magic with 5 – 10 million dollar budgets, so imagine what he could do with more resources! It would be great. He would put so much passion into it, rather than just going through the paces as I imagine Simon West doing.

    Though looking back on The Mechanic v2.0, I think that brutal fight with the large gay assassin was better than any action scene in Expendables … in the sense that it had some wide shots and I could make out what was happening etc… So perhaps the action will be somewhat clearer in this sequel, especially if Sly has listened to online geek feedback, as he has a tendency to.

    I just watched Fast Five last night and I can see why Arnold (or the studio?) wanted Justin Lin to direct a new Terminator film. I loved his use of practical stunt-work, but what he really nailed was making the heroes seem larger than life and actually cool … it was wonderful to see guys like Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson actually getting moments to shine on-screen, to really look like a badass for once.

    I think I remember Vern mentioning Justin Lin was considered for Expendables 2 also (?). If so, that would have been an excellent choice. As he would make all these guys look great (in the classic action hero sense), and he certainly knows how to juggle an ensemble cast and construct a solid action scene.

    But no, let’s go with the guy who directed Tomb Raider, because that was really great. Sigh.

  4. *Rourke father (TBI, etc.)

  5. As for West as director, that does immediately rule out the possibility of this being a perfect action film, but they could’ve done much, much worse than him. On this site I’m probably in the minority but I think Con Air is a bit of a classic, mostly because of the cast but also because it fully embraces that over the top big budget action feel that you just don’t see anymore these days.

    Having the main villain die by flinging him through a building, then electrocuting him, then crushing his head? That’s action poetry to me. The only thing better would be to, say, push in a guy’s eyes with your thumbs, breaking his back on your knee and then throwing him down an elevator shaft, where he gets impaled on something.

    Also, I really liked the fight between Ben Foster and the huge hitman in The Mechanic. So I say there’s still a chance the action might be passable at least.

  6. Wrestler? Goldberg was always my WCW favorite – the guy’s still huge based on recent documentaries I’ve seen. Otherwise I’d say Triple H. For sure not The Rock.

    But really you get Van Damme in there I don’t care if you have a wrestler.

  7. When you remember the disappointment of the action of THE EXPENDABLES, it is good to revisit Seagalogy’s highlights, like the awesome end of MARKED FOR DEATH as Mike A. mentions, but I find that this style of action filmatism, which he calls “poetry,” is cracklike in its effects on me, so I need ever higher doses of stronger stuff.
    That’s when I turn to the bonecrunching scene near the end of THE PROTECTOR (Seagalian supercrack right there) or various parts of PUNISHER: WAR ZONE. Punisher sidewinder missiles one guy, then shoots his buddy in the legs, then throws him off a tall building, impaling him on a fence, then jumps down and uses gravity & his knee to break the guy’s neck worse than Gary Daniels in THE EXPENDABLES. It’s crack. It’s crack.

  8. It is crack, and I’m dying for a fix!

  9. Yeah, Con Air was a fun time. With a few great action moments, but they didn’t include the ending … it falls to bits as it goes on.

    Best shot was Nic Cage running in slow-mo white singlet with ‘splosions in the background. Actually now that I think of it it’s a Hard Target shot really.

    Yeah, there could be plenty of worst directors for the job, but with some open minded thinking, there are many better choices of guys who would elevate this film to another level. It’s a fucking shame.

  10. Stallone didn’t want a director to ‘elevate’ the material. He wanted a director who would do as he was fucking told. The man is tyrant creatively and though he is certainly charismatic, he thinks he has many talents that he does not.

  11. Vern, aren’t you the guy that complain about how geeks and nerds and whatever were creating too much expectation and high hopes by talking about every little detail that come out about Kick-Ass or Scott Pilgrim long before any of the movies was released? Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you are doing exactly the same with this movie (as you did with the first one). There’s nothing wrong about it, though.

  12. If he hired directors who did what they were told, he wouldn’t have hired notoriously hard-nosed old-school Walter Hill as a replacement to direct him in Head Shot.

    I realise there’s a general idea that he is a control freak who ghost directs all his films … this may be so, but he deserves to do that in my opinion.

    Also I think it takes more than charisma to write and direct the many films in his life. That’s selling him short.

  13. Tawdry – For sure. Stallone is essentially still directing this. West will get to do some scenes here and there but sooner or later, Stallone will step in and take over, credited or not.

    BTW, I’m a little confused as to the synopsis posted above.

    Millennium said that this was fake when it was initially posted on the net – are they now saying that actually it was correct all along?

    Cast-wise I’m very interested in the mooted “Evil Version of the Expendables ™”, that VD’s character is said to lead – the possiblilities!

  14. Millennium Studios has taken away the Cast List and Synopsis in their updated Site.

    http://www.millenniumfilms.com/ProjectDetails.aspx?projectId=243f343d-7cea-4ea4-b57e-6b8b4e4c0578

    Truth betold, I am skeptical that Norris and Adkins will be in this. As i’ve yet to hear confirmation from them personally in any way.

  15. billydeethrilliams

    September 7th, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Wrestler? That’s easy… Ric Flair.

    Oh, you probably want someone intimidating. Kane, Kevin Nash, Big Show, Mark Henry, Kali, uh… hey man fuck those pussies. I say Flair! woooooooooooooooooo!

  16. Let’s play a game called, “looking at Stallone’s IMDb”. You have to go back to 1997 to see him working with a director of any real merit. In the last TWENTY YEARS Stallone has worked with maybe 4 strong directors. And 2 of them were way past their prime.

    James Mangold for Cop Land (1997)
    A latter day Richard Donner for Assassins (1995)
    Marco Brambilla for Demolition Man, (1993) he went on to become an major installation artist and direct the video for Power.\
    A latter day John Landis for Oscar (1991)

    bonus round:

    John G. Avildsen…but that was for Rocky V (1990)
    Andrey Konchalovskiy…but that was for Tango & Cash (1989)
    John Flynn for Lock Up (1989)
    George P. Cosmatos…maybe. for Cobra and Rambo II.
    Bob Clark…does he count as good? Aw fuck it, it was for Rhinestone (1984)

    So my goal was to find 10 solid directors with whom Stallone had worked. I got all the way back to the original First Blood and I could only come up with 8. And of those 8, I’m not really sure that 2 even count, 2 were past their prime, 1 quit Hollywood and went on to be a great success in a tangentially related field, 1 was a returning figure from before Stallone was a star, the last director didn’t even make a good movie with Stallone.

    So, out of every single director he has worked with since 1982, I would say that James Mangold is the ‘strongest.’ And he’s pretty much a journeyman. Most of Stallone’s directors are young, inexperienced and go on to do DTV, TV or absolutely nothing after working with him.

  17. *and I haven’t seen Lockup, so I can’t judge that film. But Rolling Thunder is a great film.

  18. I was going to say the Ultimate Warrior, then did an image search and realised he looks a bit like Keith Carradine. THEN I remembered Keith Carradine in DEADWOOD and thought, “Hey, there’s someone who could be in EXPENDABLE2.”

  19. “Fiona embarks on her own revenge mission, complicating matters when she is captured and ransomed by a ruthless dictator”

    wow, does anybody find that fucking lame? why can’t there be a female Expendable? why must she be kidnapped? hopefully whoever they get will have a few decent action scenes

  20. Mouth, you’re completely right about “crack.” Sometimes I find myself watching Rob Zombie movies, for the sole purpose of trying to regain that old high …

    It is worth noting that the end of MARKED FOR DEATH holds up, these decades later, and against all the “hard” R movies, as still notably brutal. “Screwface is dead! Now you get the fuck outta town or die!”

    Have you read any of Garth Ennis’ run on the PUNISHER comic (the MAX series)? That’s the place to get a reliable fix.

    ……. Why *not* the Rock for a wrestler in the EXPENDABLES movie?

  21. There are lots of great wrestlers they could use. I think Sheamus or Wade Barrett would be great smarmy big guys with accents to work with JCVD. Some of the older active guys like R Truth, who is awesome, would be really fun to watch. I’m a total mark for Alberto del Rio but he would make a great villain.

    I would love to see CM Punk but he is not physically huge and he could outshine the rest of the cast given half a chance. Seriously, I know a lot of people who watch wrestling just for Punk.

  22. I couldn’t care less about any wrestlers being in Expendables 2. Guys like The Rock and Steve Austin are great but I feel like they’re the exceptions, most wrestlers lack that extra something that makes them as cool on screen as they are in the ring. Kevin Nash, Triple H, John Cena, Goldberg, the really tall guy that gets stabbed in the neck in the beginning of Troy… Horrible actors all of them. I don’t follow wrestling, so there might be others that do deserve a chance, but I’ll be happy if they stick with just action movie icons for this film.

    Btw, Mouth – do you watch the Spartacus TV show? That’s got more of the crack you need, lots of bloody fights with fantastic finishing moves. I’m especially fond of the jaw-ripping move at the end of this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjeJQYj3Cb4

  23. I’d say former WWE “worst wrestler of the year” Nathan Jones would be a good choice, he’s not a good actor but if his role is limited to “giant dude who punches/kicks/manhandles smaller dudes” he works just fine. At least I thought he was good in that role in THE PROTECTOR.

  24. Now is as good a time to mention: the international cut of MFD (at least the one here in Australia) is missing some key shots — the eye gouge, the back break. The US version is the proper way to see this, the best golden era Seagal flick. Anything less, misses the point.

    (Vern – your SEAGALOGY book was great, but you didn’t do MFD justice.)

  25. How about Batista for the wrestler role?

  26. I’d happily trade Randy Couture for just about anyone (he was a likeable if utterly disposable presence in Exp 1), but this whole “gotta have a wrestler” thing seems played out to me.

    Mike A is right – cool in the ring doesn’t automatically equate to cool on screen.

    The Rock, Stone Cold, Nash, even the Hulkster are the exceptions (for me, at least – it’s all a matter of taste).

    And of course, the legend that is Rowdy Roddy.

    Anyone else here seen the two SHADOW WARRIORS TV movies Hulk made at the back end of the 90s? The first is a lot of fun, the second is terrible but still fun.

    They almost feel like the low-rent EXPENDABLES. The guys you’d hire if you could raise enough dough for Sly and his boys.

  27. I might be totally missing something, but why the love for Kevin Nash? He’s utterly boring and can’t think on his feet. He was always a pretty terrible wrestler, too. If he wasn’t part of the Kliq, and because of that booked to win, he would have never caught on. I guess he was okay as the big guy that stood behind Scott Hall, but that’s about it. His recent feud with CM Punk has shown how awful he is. Punk isn’t even trying and he’s destroying him in all of their verbal battles.

    I think there are plenty of current wrestlers who could be believable action stars and bring a lot of charisma to their role. I think Sheamus could be huge given the right opportunity. R Truth has a lot of charisma and is very athletic and all that is despite the WWE having no idea how to handle him (or other black wrestlers).

    Sure, there are lots of wrestlers who are little more than body builders and can’t really wrestle or cut a good promo but there are also plenty that could be great in film if given the right opportunity.

  28. I’m taking the low expectations route on this one. I seem to remember liking the first one a lot at the time but as my hype hangover faded and a little bit more of my soul died, taking my joy receptors with it, all I can remember is disappointment that so many awesome ingredients were combined so incompetently. It’s painful to even think about. I figure if I don’t spend any time anticipating the second one, if I just try to forget that it’s even coming out until the weekend it opens and then I go in expecting it to suck, I might be pleasantly surprised instead of bitterly disappointed.

    So count me out of this discussion, guys. I’ve no doubt that every single idea that we could come up with here will be better than what makes it up on the screen, and that’ll just make it hurt more in the long run.

  29. If there has to be a wrestler, why not Jesse Ventura?

  30. I guess my biggest problem with The Expendables was that… well, they weren’t expendable. I was expecting a men-on-a-suicide-mission movie like The Dirty Dozen, casualties and all. But nobody died. Hell, even Lundgren came back (which was pretty fucking lame, let’s face it). It may not be fair to blame a movie for not being what you want it to be, but at least try to live up to the name.

    Thank God for 13 Assassins.

  31. Casey – I liked Kevin Nash in DOA and THE LONGEST YARD, but apart from those I don’t really know him very well.

    Knox – I agree. I thought at least one of them would’ve bitten the bullet. The scene were Couture gets shot made me think, ah! But no, he lives and I think the actual wound is never mentioned again (at least in the theatrical cut – apparently he says “it stings” or something in the extended version.)

    Anyone see the extended version on here?

  32. Gotta wonder if Stallone ever saw Punisher: War Zone. Can’t help but think that if he did, he’d have hired Lexi Alexander to direct Expendables 2 straight away.

    I’m pretty sure she could handle the testosterone-fueled cast. She is a former World Karate and Kickboxing Champion, after all.

  33. I liked WAR ZONE, but it was all CGI and editing. There was no action in that movie, only violence. Totally not what Stallone was looking for.

    Dammit, I told myself I wasn’t gonna do this.

  34. They need to get Chow Yun Fat. Oh prairie shit, just get John Woo to direct the thing and call it a day.

  35. You still have love in your embattled heart, Mr. Majestyk. Save most of it for TOM YUM GOONG 2 3D, of course, but it’s okay to look forward to other stuff. Science has proven that the planning & anticipation of a vacation often brings about more happiness than the vacation itself.

    If you don’t yield to your reserve of love for potential badass cinema greatness ever again, then you are numb and might as well subscribe to citizenship in Kurt Wimmer’s EQUILIBRIUM world. Don’t succumb to that, damn you. I don’t want to put on my grammaton cleric garb and have to do gun kata against you and torch all your artwork. That’s the slippery slope here — either be at least a little excited about EXPENDA2 or descend into a world where feelings are illegal.

  36. I can almost see Woo auditioning for it now; reciting into a mirror with his back to Sly, how he came to the US and everything starting off so well and culminating in him tearfully whispering “and then came Paycheck…”

    Sly simply nods. It is understood.

    Woo directing Expenda2 = REDEMPTION

  37. Ah Christ, I’m gonna say it… for what it was (a PG-13 horror remake) Simon West’s When a Stranger Calls remake wasn’t bad. And The Mechanic was solid enough. And Con Air is great… after a couple of beers. I can’t rag on him; even if he did make Tomb Raider.

  38. Sorry, Mouth. I gotta take the opposite approach here. I don’t anticipate vacations; I dread them. Then when they turn out to be not as bad as I’d feared, I remember them more fondly than I would if I’d been expecting them to rock my world. That’s the approach I have to take here, for the sake of my own sanity.

    But there are things I’m looking forward to. Aren’t there? I mean, there’s HAYWIRE and, um…GHOST RIDER 2? I wanted to see SHARK NIGHT 3D, but PG-13? Really? Are you trying to fight me, Hollywood? Did I do something to piss you off?

    I thought the trailer for DRIVE looked awesome but then I watched VALHALLA RISING to see if Refn had improved since PUSHER. Big mistake. He’s gotten a lot more technically adapt but he’s now two for two (possibly three, except I can’t remember if I actually watched PUSHER 2 or not) for making movies that are a total chore to sit through. I can’t call them bad movies, per se, but they’re definitely movies that wore out their welcome long before they ended. I can appreciate the violence and psychedelia of VALHALLA RISING but it just felt like wannabe Herzog, with no actual madness behind the trippiness. It reeked of symbolism. I HATE symbolism.

    So what I’m saying here is that I’d like to get excited about DRIVE except it’s made by a dude with a track record that does not makes me feel confident in throwing down $13.50 plus internet surcharge so I can sit in a theater with a bunch of mouth-breathers who are probably going to hate it more than I will.

    Help me out here, guys. What’s gonna be the movie that comes along every once in a while that makes me learn to love again?

  39. Take a gal to SEX & ZEN 3D. You’ll learn. . . something.

  40. That would be great if it was a remake of 13 ASSASSINS. They get hired to assassinate some pedophile governor, they trap his caravan in some suburb somewhere and have a big battle. Mickey Rourke would be the grandpa-raping demon guy, obviously. It would be kind of like the tradition of remaking samurai movies as westerns.

  41. Van Damme gave some interview where he said he was gonna be a villain here, so unless JCVD is just talking out his ass, he seems confirmed. Also, the guy that runs the studio they’re filming at said Norris and Travolta were both in it, though again, he might be full of shit too.

  42. Weren’t Danny Trejo and Robert Knepper officially confirmed for part 1 at one point either?

  43. Since Arnold is going to be shooting Last Stand around the same time, I don’t have high hopes for this “substantial role”. (The fact that they even feel a need to point that out kind’ve speaks volumes.)

    It’s disappointing, since both Sly and Arnold are now at a point in their careers where equal screentime wouldn’t be a problem.

  44. I don’t trust Stallone on this one, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Part 1 sounded awesome, then I saw the trailer. Following the “trailer=best foot forward” theory, my heart immediately sank. It was cool to see Dolph, but his character arc was totally unbelievable and unearned. Cinematography was dark and cheap looking. Dialogue sucked. Action was weak. Classic high-concept, no substance, terrible execution.

    With hiring West, rushing this into production, and larding it out with additional former stars, it seems as though they’re pursuing a rush-job/more-and-bigger-of-the-same approach. Boo!

    After Rocky 6 and Rambo 4, I really expected Stallone to deliver on this, but I’m convinced he can only pull of that kind of writer/director/star magic when its a Stallone solo star vehicle. Maybe he digs hanging out w/ all these other dudes, or maybe he just likes the feeling of being “back on top” at the box office, because for the life of me, Expendables felt like a total paycheck/late-life crisis of a film.

  45. And that business of including Willis and Schwarzenegger in the pt 1 trailer was pretty shifty. Granted, anyone in this talkback already knows that they don’t have real roles, but the average Joe maybe doesn’t. That was a cheap stunt.

  46. I suppose the biggest problem I had with the first Expendables was that practically all of the screentime was devoted to Stallone and Statham. I love watching those guys, but why go through all the trouble of casting so many action icons when they basically serve as window dressing in what amounts to a Stallone/Statham buddy movie?

  47. I’m not going to see it unless they find a role for Cynthia Rothrock.

  48. Oversized skull. Good point. I think the other thing is that it didn’t have any “epic-ness” to it. And it didn’t seem like there was a lot of real chemistry. There were a lot of these weird side stories/back story (Dolph and Jet Li, Mickey Rourke’s PTSD, Statham’s ex-girl, etc.). I’m guessing that this is Stallone’s way of trying to add some texture and nuance to the characters, but it all felt very disjointed.

    This wasn’t as fun as Transporter or the Rundown, both of which I’m sure cost much less than Expendables.

  49. Totally down for Rowdy Roddy.

  50. I think Big Show would be a really intimidating and badass villainous presence as like Van Dammes henchman or whatever. I think we all learned from MacGruber that dude can commit to whatever the script may call for. He doesn’t even really need to be a great actor in my opinion, he can just be in the shots. Fuck it give him a metal mouth and make him a modern day Jaws(Moonraker not the big fish movie).

    That bulllshit being said, my expectations couldn’t be much lower for this sequel. The first squandered all it’s potential with the aforementioned horrible fight cinematography and inexcusably boring ass story. I chose Scott Pilgrim that weekend and to this day feel justifed in doing so.Pilgrim is a movie I can watch anytime I catch it on HBO at any part in the film where Expendables was something I found laborious to get through and felt no need to ever see again.

    I’ve started working my way through alot of the Donnie Yen back catalog suggested by some of the regulars around here a few weeks back and think his inclusion, depending on the amount of screen time he gets, is one of the few things that could get me genuinely interested in this.

  51. If indeed JCVD is the villain; I kinda hope he’s more of the main henchman rather than the big baddie. I’d kill for somebody like James Woods to be the brains of the operation with JCVD as his right hand man. That would be awesome.

  52. It does kind’ve feel like the potential has already been squandered here. I don’t want to see all these big names trotted out for something that amounts to another publicity stunt.

    It was easier to accept the first time, since Arnold wasn’t available and Stallone was flirting with an unknown brand. But for the sequel? I expected Stallone to make good on what had been promised. So far, it’s shaping up to be more of the same.

  53. For a wrestler, I’d like to suggest recently released WWE superstar (and THE WIRE bit player) Vladimir Kozlov, because EXPENDABLES 1 was lacking an evil russian:
    http://youtu.be/D_Nz9IJIWDw
    As for Arnold’s “substantial” role. What if we open the movie by seeing him and his team on the mission they were too busy with to take the job in the first movie, and Van Damme’s Evil Expendables killed them all(maybe Arnold could survive and show up in the climax for some payback)? You could even throw some more cameos in by having older stars as part of Arnold’s team, like Piper and Keith David etc.

  54. I’m not surprised by the fact that Jet Li isn’t returning. I’m guessing he doesn’t hold the first movie in high regard and just did it for the paycheck, which also might explain his lousy performance. When speaking to the Asian media, both he and Jackie Chan seem to be pretty open about their disdain for some of their American work. I guess it’s refreshing but also a bit disrespectful towards the cast and crew who worked with them on these films. (Am I the only one who enjoyed “The Forbidden Kingdom”?).

    Wasn’t Jackie Chan offered a role in both “The Expendables” and “Demolitian Man”?

  55. Oh yeah, Kozlov could be good, too. I still think Nathan Jones would be the best choice, though.

    Another potential candidate: Robert Maillet, who was Kurrgan in the WWE and that freak in 300.

    And Jake Roberts would probably make a good Mickey Rourke-type character (or maybe I’m just thinking that because THE WRESTLER looked so much like a documentary about Jake Roberts).

    Not sure about Big Show. He looks too much like a nice guy. He’ll probably be great as Fezzik when they inevitably remake THE PRINCESS BRIDE, but I don’t buy him as an Expendable or an anti-Expendable.

  56. Trejo was never officially confirmed for part 1, just rumored. Then he later came out and said he wasn’t even approached to be in it yet people still talked like he might be.

    If Travolta is indeed in the movie(I’m still taking the studio exec’s “confirmation” with a grain of salt, since he basically was trying to talk up his studio more than anything else) I imagine he’ll be the “head” bad guy with JCVD(assuming he’s not BSing) as his lead henchman.

    As for Big Show, even when he’s supposed to be playing a “monster heel” in WWE I can never buy it, he’s much better playing the big goof, so I can’t envision him in The Expendables, esp as a badguy.

  57. Actually, The Rundown was an 80 million dollar movie. The Expendibles cost 70, in money with 10 years of inflation.

  58. I hope to God Travolta isn’t in it. I’m still hoping Bruce will be the main villain, or else JCVD. I always like a main villain that can actually fight, instead of the going the standard “hide behind a hostage with a gun and then get shot in the forehead”-route.

    Stu – if they want an evil Russian, there is only one choice and it’s not a wrestler. It is of course Scott Adkins. Dude is at his best when playing (semi-)evil Russians.

  59. A special guest henchman appearance from Al Leong wouldn’t go astray. Anyone read his book?

  60. They gotta get Carl Weathers as the team’s chef. Then they’ll have a stew goin’ on.

  61. Good point Jareth, Weathers does know how to make a mean stew & he is a badass. Too bad I think him and Sly had a falling out over him wanting to much money to use footage of him in the last ROCKY film.

  62. Raul – my complaint about the coverage of those movies was not that they were creating too high of expectations, but that they were praising them through the roof after hanging out with and extensively interviewing the directors, writers, actors, comic book creators and everybody all through filming about what they were trying to do. And I felt like in the end they were seeing something that none of use could ever see at home because we’re just watching the movie.

    I don’t think I’m raising anybody’s expectations for EXPENDABLES 2. See item #5. I pretty much gave up on it when they announced their decision to hire a director who sucks. I was hoping they would take a different artistic path, but I guess shittiness if Stallone’s vision. Still, it’s a movie starring most of the actors we’re interested in here and in the main genre I cover here so I like to follow what’s going on with it. And I hope maybe it will somehow turn out better than it looks like it will.

  63. I would like to go on record, that they should get Lance Henriksen to be the villain and let him improvise all his dialog like they did in STONE COLD.

  64. Okay, I stand corrected on Rundown budget vs. Expendables budget. Still, if we’re talking ratio of awesomeness to dollars spent, Rundown has got Exendables in a serious chokehold (with a Journey song playing in the background).

  65. I don’t mind the idea of Travolta being involved, but only if it’s the hyped up super asshole version of Travolta from Broken Arrow and Face Off. I’m down with Weathers too, though as was previously mentioned, that one seems unlikely.

    Also, Al Leong DESERVES to get a henchman spot(hell, he shoulda got one in part 1!) even if it’s just he usual “show up for 10 seconds then get shot” role.

  66. Can somebody please explain to me why, when we all expect “The Expendables 2” to suck and there hasn’t been a damn thing announced about this that would indicate that that expectation is flawed, people here still give a shit about this crap?

    Ok, ok, ok… just for something new, here are some reasons to be OPTIMISTIC about this movie.

    1) Simon West did “The General’s Daughter”, which was actually pretty good. Nicely directed with good cinematography and scoring, anyway. So maybe he’ll be able to make up for some of the flaws of the first one.
    2) Like Vern, I am, if not excited, then at least mildly interested to see JCVD and Scott Adkins in this one, provided that the people who make it know how to use ’em properly.
    3) Jason Statham is back to add some kind of charisma to the proceedings.
    And of course…
    4) Chuck Norris. That is all.

    As for the other stuff… hey, we’ve all seen Expendables #1, we’ve seen Stallone phone what is in my opinion a career-worst performance (yes, worse than “Judge Dredd”, at least in that movie he looked like he was trying SOMETHING, even if it was spectacularly overdone; in “Expendables” he looks painfully awkward throughout the entire movie, like he knows this whole project is crap and can’t be bothered to hide it). We’ve seen the terrible action sequences, heard one of the most obnoxiously overwhelming and generic scores I can think of in a movie, winced at the pointless cameos, and groaned at the terrible dialogue.

    But looking at the two things that in my opinion actually worked in the original movie (and no, sorry Vern, I don’t count Mickey Rourke; even he couldn’t pull off the dialogue he was given), I don’t see much hope. Dolph Lundren’s character, for me, provided both the best character arc and the best surprise of the movie, neither of which are likely to be replicated in #2 now that we know what he’s about. And Steve Austin was a surprisingly effective standout, but he died in #1. So basically the two major parts of the first movie that actually worked, for me, can’t possibly add to the second movie.

    Agree about Al Leong though.

  67. Jet Li is not returning.

    The Ependables 2 needs a Chinese co-star. Because…

    -having one will greatly help grease the wheels in getting the film shown in China. China only allows 20 foreign films a year to exhibited in Chinese cinemas.
    -China was The Expendables highest grossing market outside of America.

    ergo, The Expendables 2 NEEDS a Chinese co-star. Now that Li is out there really isn’t that many other viable options. Donnie Yen is the obvious choice, and he’s not above cashing a huge paycheck for a questionable film, but if his schedule doesn’t allow it (and he’s on a steady three movie a year pace) who’s else could they choose?

    There’s lots of great Chinese action actors who could use the exposure, but most of them aren’t either English speakers (Vincient Zhao, Wu Jing) or even moderately known outside of China (Andy On).

    I guess Stallone and co are preying like hell that Donnie Yen or Chow Yun Fat will take their calls. Considering that Chow Yun Fat would probably appear in Nazi propaganda films if you paid him enough (Dragonball was pretty close to that actually) they’ll probably have their fill-in for Jet Li but I can’t say for sure who it could be.

  68. If you’re going to shove a WWE star into the mix, my vote would be for The Edge. His body size is big but not outsized,a nd unlike Cena I think his stage charisma and articulate style would translate well to the screen.

    And make sure Vic Armstrong is involved as action director/second unit.

  69. Max: I heard from a pal that Bolo Yeung is a way bigger draw in mainland China than Chow Yun Fat is. And Bolo still looks pretty ripped for an older guy.

  70. Is Jet definitely out? I keep hearing mixed things.

    Man, if there is indeed a rival Expendables team led by Van Damme in Exp2 then surely Bolo HAS to be in that.

  71. Yeah is there any confirmation on Jet being out for sure? I’ve seen 3 different articles on the subject, one listed him as definitely “not returning”, one as “undetermined”, and one as “most likely not returning”, does anyone have a quote from Jet himself on the subject?

  72. I’m sure something is up with Jet Li not wanting to be in it or wanting a reduced part, but everything I’ve seen is rumors that keep changing back and forth. If anybody sees anything definitive please include a link.

  73. I for one hope Jet returns. Despite the camerawork; I thought his fight with Dolph was one of the first film’s many highlights. If they can beef his part up and make it worth his while to come back; they should. If not; it would be nice if they had a revolving door of Kung Fu talent in his place. Hopefully the Donnie Yen rumors are true; and if so; he’d be a fine replacement for Jet. Maybe Tony Jaa in Part 3, etc.

  74. great article. You might have a great opinion on the topic and I??¥ll be subscribing to your feed and hope you shall post again soon on similar subjects. But I was curious on what your sources for the post are? Thanks a lot

  75. It is difficult to locate knowledgeable folks on this subject, but you sound like you know what you are talking about! Thanks

  76. Twitch.com posted this yesterday in regards to Donnie Yen:

    “…Yen was invited to join the cast of THE EXPENDABLES 2 when he was visiting the US. When questioned about this by the Hong Kong media earlier this week, a spokesperson from Yen’s company replied that he is currently still considering the offer.”

  77. From the Twitter of Michael Jai White:
    @MichaelJaiWhite
    Steven Segal, Val Kilmer, Vince Vaughn and Charles Barkley are about to begin filming THE EXPANDABLES.

  78. He’s a martial artist, an actor, a comic book nerd hero, a director, and now a comedian? Oh, MJW, is there anything you *can’t* do?

    Oh, wait, no, that twitter joke is horrible. Don’t quit your day jobs, Mikey.

  79. MJW doesn’t need to be trolled, first of all because Charles Barkley is a good action hero punchline, and second of all Black Dynamite mother fucker, the guy isn’t new to comedy.

  80. Vern, Chuck Norris just commented on his Facebook Page concerning his involvement on The Expendables 2.

    http://www.facebook.com/officialchucknorrispage

    Apparently he says he is still considering the offer.Nothing has been confirmed as yet.

  81. “Raul – my complaint about the coverage of those movies was not that they were creating too high of expectations…” – Sorry Vern, was this directed at me?

  82. The AV Club is reporting that Nic Cage might be in too.

  83. Just read that a stuntman was killed during the filming of the sequel. That’s not something fans of action films ever want to hear.

  84. Yeah, that sucks. Am I wrong in thinking something similar happened with the first film? Maybe an injury, or was that something else?

  85. Somebody broke their neck on the first one. But it was just Sly so it was no big deal. A little thing like that barely slowed him down.

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