If it’s true that Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger are going to play major roles in the new “Expendables” alongside Sylvester Stallone, and that this is going to be more than just another cameo moment for the trio of ’80s action icons, then that is indeed a major story.
I’m not sure I think it’ll make a good movie, but it’s certainly a major news story. Right now, Deadline is reporting that the two guys, who showed up for one non-action scene in the first “Expendables” have signed on to take “substantial” parts this time. This is in addition to rumors that Chuck Norris, John Travolta and Jean-Claude Van Damme are signing up to join original cast members Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, and Mickey Rourke. I’ve heard conflicting reports about whether or not Jet Li will return, but if he does, this will become one of the single biggest collection of action icons in one movie ever.
Of course, Simon West is directing it, which terrifies me.
And it’s a sequel to a first movie that I thought was a pretty crushing bore.
But even so, a series like this is almost an excuse to start with a blank slate each time. Different mission, different backdrop, different filmmakers, let’s see what they’re going to do, right? I would love for them to learn from the first film and make something great and fun and cool this time.
My problems with the first film had to do mostly with squandered opportunity, wasted potential, and adding more superstars to the cast only cranks up the possibility for disappointment again. It wasn’t enough to just see Schwarzenegger, Willis, and Stallone stand around in a room for a few minutes. If they’re really going to do this, I want them to go all-out for it. I want big stupid bloody fun. I want a movie so macho that they have to shave the poster every morning. Give them a great bad guy, a mission that makes sense, and then crank up the R rating and blow every bad guy into a million pieces.
I sincerely hope they get this one right. Adding these stars is a possible step in the right direction, as long as they really take that step and don’t waste them.
“The Expendables 2” is set for release on August 17, 2012.