Trailer Tuesday: The Expendables
Given that nostalgia levels for anything 80's are at an all time high at the moment (2010 sees the release of an A-Team movie, a Predator sequel and Nightmare on Elm Street remade), it makes sense that someone has finally turned the greatest 80s' action movie fantasy - brawny stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis ALL in the same movie - into a reality.
The Expendables is unofficially known as the Manliest Movie of the Year. There are jokes online that anyone woman who watches it will emerge from the cinema pregnant. You see, The Expendables is the ultimate action movie - packed with action icons, old (Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren), new (Jason Statham, Jet Li, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Terry Crews) and always Goddamn cool (Willis, Mickey Rourke). MMA stars Randy Couture and Gary Daniels are also there for good measure.
Written and directed by Stallone himself, The Expendables exists as a kind of cross between The Dirty Dozen and 2008's Rambo, Stallone's last big screen project as writer, director and star. The film centres on a group of cynical, battle-hardened mercenaries, The Expendables, who accept a mission that no one else will take - namely the overthrow of a ruthless South American dictator, General Gaza (David Zayas), who is assisted by a corrupt CIA agent (B-movie baddie supremo Eric Roberts) and his henchmen. As betrayal and complications mount, the Expendables prepare to pull out. However, the men have a change in heart when their local contact, a spirited freedom fighter, is arrested and tortured. Suddenly the Expendables' mission is about more than money - it's about justice for the innocent.
The Expendables' cast rundown is as follows:
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is a man with nothing to lose. Fearless and void of emotion, he is the leader, the sage and the strategist of this tight-knit band of men who live on the fringe. His only attachment is to his pickup truck, his seaplane and his team of loyal modern-day warriors. The team behind him is made up of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), former SAS and a savant with anything that has a blade; Bao Thao (Jet Li), a master at close-quarter combat; Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), who has known Barney for ten years and is a long-barrel weapons specialist; Toll Road (Randy Couture), a skilled demolitions expert and intellect of the group; and Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), a combat veteran and an expert in precision sniping who struggles with his own demons.
Rourke is a former Expendables member-turned-tattoo artist, while Willis and Schwarzenegger pretty much just make a single scene cameo appearances in the film - so don't get too excited. Willis is Mr Church, a mysterious figure who hires the Expendables, and Schwarzenegger is the head of a rival mercenary group who hates Ross.
Out of interest, during The Expendables' development, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal and Wesley Snipes were all reportedly approached to appear in the film. All turned down their roles, with Forest Whitaker stepping into Snipes' already written role, only to be replaced by 50 Cent and then, finally, Terry Crews.
I love cheesy, overblown 80's action films (Commando especially), and their thousands of B-grade descendants, so count me very excited about the clearly retro Expendables. As long as Stallone doesn't make his Rambo mistake of inserting too much off-putting political commentary and dictatorship 'realism,' I think audiences are in for a great time. I'm especially looking forward to chaos being unleashed at the dictator's mansion. It looks just like a stage in Action Half-Life.
The Expendables opens in the United States on 13 August. As usual, there is no indication when the film will be released in South Africa. Ho hum.