The Mother Brain Files: Who is Expendable?
By Mother Brain
Sylvester Stalloneâ€™s The Expendables had been one of the most highly anticipated movies in the last 2 years. From the moment it was announced that Stallone would share the screen with todayâ€™s action stars (Jason Statham and Jet Li) and old favorites from the 80s (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke), action movie lovers were in awe. As a result, the film not only signaled Stalloneâ€™s return to form as a box office draw but it also revived a genre which in recent years had been watered down by studios forcing directors to aim for a PG-13 rating on franchises once successful on the standard R (Die Hard, Terminator, etc).
With the recent success of the Expendables last month, a sequel has been announced. Although no script has been written and a release date yet to be determined, little bits of hints have been dropped by Stallone on his Twitter page including the rumor of Willisâ€™ character returning as the main villain. But most fans of the movie are dying to see Stallone inject more action stars into the film, many of whom passed on the first film or were not approached. Like Transformers and X-Men, this is a franchise where there are a wide range of individuals to choose from. The difference in this case, however, is that these individuals are real guys and not comic book characters.
So in this piece, I break down which actors Iâ€™d like to see in Expendables 2, why, and who I think they should play:
Jean-Claude Van Damme
When he first burst onto the scene in 1988 with Bloodsport, Van Damme innovated martial arts cinema not seen since the days of Bruce Lee. His fight scenes were as real as possible (with various on-set injuries as a result) and he was best known for his splits, 360-degree ultimate leaping and super flying karate kicks. Unfortunately, years of bad career choices and drug use sent him to direct-to-video hell. But perhaps the part of a badass French assassin sharing a fight scene with Jet Liâ€™s character could equal a well needed comeback.
This man knew how to clean the bad guysâ€™ clocks in cinema. His aikido-style was well executed in films such as Above the Law, Marked for Death, and Under Siege just to name a few. Seagal would soon kill his career by doing everything from sticking with 1 dimensional parts, gaining weight, being an environmentalist, and even recording albums! Now heâ€™s the star of his own reality show as a special sheriff in New Orleans. Ironically, since part of the first Expendables was shot in the French Quarter, how about Seagal playing a big time cop who chases after the team for a crime they didnâ€™t commit? It would be a much better cameo than getting killed in the first 25 minutes of Executive Decision!
A student of Bruce Lee and a legend of 80s action b-movies, Chuck was the man. Heâ€™s so badass, even the boogeyman wonâ€™t step out of the closet. His beard is so thick, you can get stabbed just by touching it. Now if he can stop doing commercials and campaigning for nutty politicians, maybe Chuck can act as Jason Stathamâ€™s mentor who betrays him, leading to a sick knife fight. Better yet, if he turns the part down, give it to Segal by default.
Why he wasnâ€™t in the first one is beyond me. Rocky fans are long overdue for another Rocky/Apollo team up and if youâ€™ve seen Carl in the new Bud Light commercials, the man is still in great shape for his age. Have him rival Stallone as an old mercenary buddy gone bad. I guarantee it would be his best work since Action Jackson.
Dwayne â€œThe Rockâ€ Johnson
As I mentioned before in my previous blog, the Rock needs to return to action. Films such as The Rundown and Walking Tall proved that he has what it takes to fill Schwarzeneggerâ€™s shoes. Have him play either a new Expendable or play something along the lines of Stone Cold Steve Austinâ€™s character from the original and pair him up with Bruce Willisâ€™s group.
Chow Yun-Fat or Tony Jaa
One man became a star in Hong Kong by donning Alain Delon sunglasses, a trenchcoat, and a pair of .45â€™s. The other became a star due to his style of extreme acrobatics and speedy, dance-like moves. Both Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Jaa have made their mark overseas but theyâ€™re still in dire need of that one breakout hit in America. Either one of these guys could do an Asian version of the Van Damme role I mentioned but they also could be the strong silent types who do their talking with random acts of violence. That leads to number 7:
There has to be at least one female Expendable in the bunch. So why not get the kick-ass chick who made her bones in Hong Kong working with the likes of Chow Yun-Fat and Jackie Chan only to make her mark in Hollywood in such films as Tomorrow Never Dies, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Sunshine. I consider her a better Asian female action star than Lucy Liu and she could also help to develop Jet Liâ€™s underdeveloped character as a potential love interest.
Thereâ€™s tons of other guys I didnâ€™t mention or forgot to mention. Most of the ones I did not name were simply unworthy because of the films they do where the combination of stunt coordinators, health trainers, and special effects are in play (i.e. Spider-Man, The Matrix, etc). These unnamed actors are just not naturally charismatic for the genre. Some of these guys would be awesome but are either taking different career routes or may not work in movies for awhile due to legal problems (Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas) while others are simply a joke (John Cena, Channing Tatum, Nicholas Cage).
Who would you like to see in Expendables 2?