Two summers ago, The Expendables concluded with a large knife being hurled directly at the audience. It was an entirely appropriate ending for a team-up of action stars that was defined by its blood-splatters, explosions, and dust-ups between recognizable ass-kickers. For two years, fans have waited with baited breath in the hopes that The Expendables 2 will see that knife finding its figurative target, lodging itself firmly in the collective brain of the audience.
That wait is almost over, as The Expendables 2 is hitting theaters nationwide this Friday, August 17th. Once again, a group of action stars will be led by Sylvester Stallone into pitched battle. Returning castmembers such as Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis are joined by franchise newcomers like Jean Claude Van Damme, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, Nan Yu, and Chuck Norris.
This time, the titular team of mercenaries set out on what is supposed to be a simple, easy mission only to encounter a villain who exacts a terrible price on the Expendables. As the maniacal bad guy goes about stealing five tons in enriched uranium, which he'll sell to the highest bidder regardless of the impact on international geopolitics, our heroes set out for revenge and world-saving adventure.
At the Los Angeles press day for The Expendables 2, stars Jason Statham, Jean Claude Van Damme, Terry Crews, and Dolph Lundgren held court with a group of entertainment journalists including IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick. In a series of lively conversations, the actors discussed the benefits of shooting real action, working with a new director, the creative oversight of Stallone, acting alongside legends of the genre, the rigors of throwing down on screen, and hopes for another sequel.
Opening in theaters on August 17th is the long awaited film The Expendables 2, which is a sequel to the extremely successful 2010 action film written and directed by Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa, Rambo). This time around, Simon West (Con-Air) takes over directing duties from Stallone, who wrote and once again stars as Barney Ross. The movie also marks the return of Ross' team of mercenaries-for-hire including Jason Statham (Crank), Jet Li (Romeo Must Die), Dolph Lundgren (Masters of the Universe), Terry Crews (Idiocracy), and Randy Couture (Red Belt). Actor Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) and action legend Chuck Norris (The Delta Force) join the team in the new installment, while Scott Adkins (The Bourne Ultimatum) and another action film legend - Jean-Claude Van Damme(Timecop) - play the film’s villains. Also returning for larger roles than they had in the original are international superstars Bruce Willis (Die Hard) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator).
IAR's Managing Editor Jami Philbrick recently had a chance to sit down with action stars Randy Couture and Scott Adkins to talk about their work on The Expendables 2. The two tough guys discussed the new film, being on set with all of the legendary action stars, how Stallone and West were able to collaborate on the movie, Jean-Claude Van Damme as a villain, Adkins' role as his sidekick, and the actors that Couture hopes will join them for the third installment including Wesley Snipes (Passenger 57), Jackie Chan (Rush Hour), and Steven Seagal (Out for Justice).
Director Simon West is no stranger to helming kick-ass action films that feature an ensemble cast of big name actors. In fact, he first gained attention in 1997 for his debut film Con-Air, which featured acting talent such as Nic Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, and Ving Rhames. Since then the director has made such popular action films as The General’s Daughter with John Travolta, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie, and The Mechanic with Jason Statham. So it only makes sense that when writer/actor Sylvester Stallone was looking for someone to relieve him of directing duties on The Expendables 2, that he would tap West for the honor.
The Expendables 2, which opens in theaters on August 17th, once again stars Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa, Rambo) as Barney Ross and features the return of his team of mercenaries for-hire including Jason Statham (Crank), Jet Li (Romeo Must Die), Dolph Lundgren (Masters of the Universe), Terry Crews (Idiocracy), and Randy Couture (Red Belt). Actor Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) and action legend Chuck Norris (The Delta Force) join the team in the new installment, while Scott Adkins (The Bourne Ultimatum) and another action film legend - Jean-Claude Van Damme (Timecop) - play the film’s villains. Also returning for larger roles than they had in the original are international superstars Bruce Willis (Die Hard) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator).
This time around, after taking a seemingly simple job for Mr. Church (Willis), the Expendables find their plans going awry when one of their own is brutally murdered by rival mercenary Jean Vilain (Van Damme). The team then sets out into hostile territory to put a stop to a deadly weapon and gain their revenge against the people who killed their brother-in-arms.
I recently had a chance to speak with director Simon West about The Expendables 2 and the process of making the film. The accomplished director discussed the new movie, how he came on board, collaborating with writer/actor Sylvester Stallone, the “big name actors” who were considered for the film, casting Jean-Claude Van Damme as the movie’s antagonist, expanding Schwarzenegger and Willis’ roles, and creating the once in a lifetime shot of Arnold, Sly and Bruce all firing guns at the same time.
Q: You're in the middle of a pitched firefight against an enemy with not only a numerical advantage, but also aerial superiority thanks to a well-equipped helicopter. What do you do? A: Find a novel way to bring the chopper down, ideally resulting in a huge explosion. For reference, see that scene in the fourth Die Hard where McClane blows up a helicopter with a cop car or the new clip from next week's The Expendables 2.
So a familiar face that we thought wouldn't be showing up in the fifth Die Hard movie is actually going to be a part of the international shenanigans in A Good Day to Die Hard. It's not Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber's long lost twin Franz Gruber, Reginald VelJohnson as now retired cop Al Powell, or even Samuel L. Jackson as the perpetually annoyed Zeus Carver.
England and America may speak the same language, but we do some things differently. Health care, for one. Movie posters, for another. The British get familiar one-sheets like ours, with the heightwise bigness, but in the United Kingdom they also get quad posters, which emphasize the lengthwise. For an illustrative example of the difference between a one-sheet and a quad poster, see the new Looper promo below.
The Expendables 2 is just around the corner, and we can expect reasonably big promotional push for the summer's last unapologetic action movie, an orgiastic overflow of explosions, gunfire, human growth hormone, berets, automotive demolition, and general violence. One smog cog in the big machine of the sequel's marketing is a new behind-the-scenes featurette available to view right now.
A bumper crop of new stills from Looper has been harvested in the online fields. That means you can feast your eyes on Joseph Gordon-Levitt in makeup that makes him look sort of like a young Bruce Willis, as well as Bruce Willis looking like Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt looking beautiful. That's not all, either, as we get good looks at some supporting players too.
Sony Pictures took up a lot of prime Comic-Con real estate today. The studio scheduled a two hour block in the San Diego Convention Center's massive Hall H Friday evening, allowing it to present panels for three different slices of science fiction coming up over the next year.
The two hour presentation, moderated by Ralph Garman, included panels for next month's Total Recall remake, Rian Johnson's time-travel thriller Looper, and Elysium, the sophomore feature from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp. That means that the stage was packed with many recognizable faces, from Colin Farrell to Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matt Damon, and Jodie Foster.
San Diego Comic-Con goes down this week, and if you couldn't tell from all the nerd fumes in the air, then the recent Comic-Con exclusive posters for both Pacific Rim and The Hobbit: There and Back Again probably clued y'all in. If giant robots and Halfling's Weed-smoking wizards are not your things for whatever reason, then perhaps a 65 year old man and a beret will grab you by the enthusiasm.