To me, The Expendables movies are fantastic. Over-the-top action films in the vein of 1980s classics had all but died out, limited to the archive of that decade’s finest genre movies. Then Stallone came along and said “hrmmph hrm hrm mph mphm hmmmmmm ranmhnhmnh mmmpphhhhh” (Translation: “Fuck it, I’m going to make more ridiculous action films”)
“hrmmph hrm hrm mph mphm hmmmmmm ranmhnhmnh mmmpphhhhh”
These films let action fanboys like me re-live our youth, watching Arnie, Willis, Stallone, Noris, and other legendary action stars shot bad guys with big guns, blow up pretty much everything blow-upable, drive vehicles into things and generally cause as much havoc as the budget will allow. But there’s one crucial element missing from these films… they only focus on the good guys.
The 80s action era was the perfect breeding ground for some of cinema’s most dastardly, evil and often ridiculous bad guys, mega-villains and henchmen.
Bolo Yeung: this guy is my favourite baddie ever. He’s menacing, he’s ruthless, never plays fair, and best of all, he has a huge physical presence and one of those faces that he can make look so, so evil.
Alan Rickman: respected thesp and hands down one of the best actors still around, yet was he ever really as good (or memorable) as the German terrorist Hans Gruber?
Gary Busey: that rubber face, that crazy blonde ‘haircut’, that shit-eating grin, those wildly colourful shirts… Gary Busey was born to play bad-guys.
Dolph Lundgren: sure, he’s OK as a good guy in the films at the moment – but he’s got a face that looks like he’s been pillaging random Asian villages for the past 30 years.
Kurtwood Smith: pretty much famous for playing the nasty and crazy Clarence Boddicker in Robocop, but what a villain he was. Outrageous, and would love to even see a glimmer of something like this again.
Vernon Wells: again, a one-trick pony, but Bennett from Commando is the ultimate in camp-classic baddie – a ridiculously out-of-shape guy with a chainmail vest that was supposed to be John Matrix’s equal! LOLZ!
So far, as someone who still gets warm, nostalgic and starstruck seeing the biggest names in action cinema literally coming out of retirement, the only way that this franchise could be any better would be with a stronger emphasis on the bad guys.
Nicolas Cage, Jackie Chan, Mickey Rourke all confirmed, and Statham, Eastwood, Snipes, Harrison Ford & Mel Gibson all rumoured to be in talks, the cast is looking stellar – throw in a couple of the guys mentioned above and it could become the greatest movie of all time!
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