I think it’s time we face the inevitable.
They will be making “Expendables” movies for the next 20 years. At least. It’s one of those things where now that it exists, I can’t imagine it took this long for it to exist. It’s a pretty much effortless franchise. There’s no formal reason why any actor who is part of the series now has to stay part of the series forever. I have a feeling Chuck Norris was in for just the second one, and we’ll never see him again.
Today’s big news gives the third “Expendables” movie a huge boost, since Nicolas Cage is joining the movie. Or at least, Sylvester Stallone says he’s joining it. Stallone has certainly reached out to the fans before, most notably through the various Ain’t It Cool articles he participated in, and he likes that interaction. He likes reaching out to the fanbase and hearing directly from them about what they like and what they don’t.
Keep in mind this week is the American Film Market in Santa Monica, which is one of the big presales and distribution rights marketplaces in the film world. There’s a major one in Cannes, obviously, and for North America, this is pretty much the biggest. It’s smart of the AFI Fest to schedule their event at the same time, since many of the movers and shakers in the industry have to be here for AFM anyway. I’m sure they’re making deals this week for the distribution of “The Expendables 3,” and one of the ways they can sweeten the deal is by adding new cast members. Adding Cage, who is a big money name around the world according to the metrics used by “the international money guys,” the single biggest power base in film production today. I know plenty of people who are not fans of Cage. I have been since I saw “Racing With The Moon” and “Birdy” and “Peggy Sue Got Married” and “Valley Girl” and “Raising Arizona,” all within the span of a few years. I knew that guy was going to be interesting to watch, and the fact that he’s stayed a stone cold freak with none of his unfiltered personality sanded off while also becoming a financially viable international action star is pretty spectacular.
Adding him to this cast automatically makes “The Expendables 3” a much bigger deal in terms of hype and visibility. I hope that the longer they do it, the more they refine the formula to just crazy wild holy-crap mayhem perpetrated across the international stage by this big uneasy alliance of actors trading on their own iconography. That’s what I liked more about the second film than the first one. I still wouldn’t say I love either of them, but I recognize in them a sort of brute force brilliance about embracing pop culture and feeding it exactly what it wants.
We’ll see if this ends up being a step in the right direction. Nice catch by Vulture on this one, and I feel like I should have already been following Stallone on Facebook. His page is full of little Stallone treats, like this photo from a recent meeting about the upcoming film “Grudge Match”:
I’ll bet Kevin Hart is more surprised to be in that photo than I was to see him in it.