All across the country, fans of the explosive action movies of the 80s are about to have their thirst for old school ass kicking quenched by “The Expendables” whose cast is a veritable dream team of action stars. On August 13, testosterone junkies will have their fill of macho dialogue and gratuitous explosions. In order to be appropriately prepared for what will be a glorious disaster of cheesy filmmaking, here’s a quick rundown of the cast.
Co-writer and director Sylvester Stallone heads the cast as the leader of a group of mercenaries who travel to South America to overthrow a dictator, played by David Zayas who returns to “Dexter” this fall. Stallone wrote and directed his last two movies, “Rambo” and “Rocky Balboa,” neither of which were critical or box office successes, but with a B-list “Ocean’s 11”-style approach Stallone’s luck might be changing.
The other hot name attached to the movie is recent Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke who has had a huge career comeback in the last few years thanks to his role in “The Wrestler.” Rourke exudes badassedness (regardless of how many miniature dogs he carries around with him) and is a perfect fit as a member of the cast of action movie legends. Though Rourke’s role appears to be smaller than some of the other actors he is sure to be the performance audiences are most anticipating.
Perhaps the most exciting and unbelievable appearance will be by “Rocky IV” villain Dolph Lundgren who is easily one of the most intimidating actors ever to appear on screen. The 6’5” black belt who also has a Master’s degree in chemical engineering is easily the best bad guy in all of the “Rocky” movies which makes seeing Stallone and Lundgren on the same side extremely satisfying and exciting.
The ultimate B-list actor, Eric Roberts, is not known for his commanding physical performances (except in the fantastic “Best of the Best” series) so he will be a wonderful counterbalance to the more muscle-bound members of the cast. Roberts has worked steadily for the last 20 or so years but always exudes a presence that is just a little too intense for his roles. However, Roberts did have a surprisingly good performance in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” and is rumored for the third Batman film from Nolan, so maybe Roberts’ career trajectory is taking an upturn.
“The Expendables” also stars martial arts expert Jet Li whose insane fighting skills are the reason rewind was invented. Li will be joined by MMA fighter Randy Couture in his first starring role as well as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin who is no stranger to bad movies and fake fighting.
Jason Statham is the go-to action guy right now thanks to his part in the “Crank” and “The Transporter” franchises coupled with his good looks and natural comedic abilities. Statham is the Bruce Willis-as-John-McClane for the new generation of action fans. His roles in “Snatch” and “The Italian Job” brought him international recognition and he doesn’t appear to be stepping outside his comfort zone anytime soon.
Speaking of John McClane, believe it or not, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger both have cameo appearances in the movie. Though their roles are small and their screen time brief, seeing Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger share a scene for the first time may be too much for some (read: most) hardcore 80s fans to handle. Expect outbursts of “Hell yeah” to be heard in theaters throughout the land when “The Expendables” opens this weekend.