The Director: Some of the humour in The Expendables f ell a bit flat (it would appear some of our ‘80s heroes have forgotten how deliver a decent one-liner), but Jon Favreau can usually be depended on to serve up his action with a healthy side-serving of comedy. We’re thinking of Iron Man here…we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on Made …
The Plot: A powerful Mafioso is flooding New York’s streets with drugs, but so far, the police have singularly failed to take down his operation. The Expendables are hired on the quiet to take him out, much to the chagrin of New York’s finest, who are looking to bust Ross and his crew before they can steal their glory…
Cast Additions: RDJ and Vince Vaughan appear as a pair of wise-talking cops. Can you imagine those two doubling-up together? Or any poor sod attempting to get a word in edgeways?
Stand-Out Scene: RDJ and Sly come face to face for the first time. Let the trash-talk commence!
The Director: Rodriguez has already shown he can handle an eighties action update through his involvement with Predators , and loves to punctuate his movies with liberal doses of blood-spattered gunplay. Sounds like a pretty good fit to us.
The Plot: The Expendables are called South of the border to Mexico to help take down a ruthless drug lord and end his reign of terror over the locals.
Cast Additions: Rodriguez regular Danny Trejo would surely be a welcome addition to Stallone’s gallery of rogues, whilst Antonio Banderas would have a ball as the moustache-twiddling villain of the piece.
Stand-Out Scene: Sly and the gang disguise themselves as a group of travelling Mariachis, all of whom are packing heavy weaponry in their guitar cases.
The Director: The first film might have been something of a guilty pleasure, but Shane Black could take that template and infuse it with some genuine cool. He’s got the action pedigree from his work on the Lethal Weapon series, and for our money, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was one of the best crime thrillers of the noughties. We’d love for him to get the gig!
The Plot: Black cuts away some of the more peripheral Expendables (Dolph, Jet…we’re looking at you) in order to focus on the duo of Sly and Stath, as they set about tracking down the villain that bumped off all their buddies. You’d lose out on the ensemble feel, but nobody creates double-act chemistry like Shane Black.
Cast Additions: Mad Mel is probably out of the question, but Danny Glover might fancy a role. Although on second thoughts, maybe not. If he was too old for this shit back in the ‘80s, God only knows what he’d make of it now!
Stand-Out Scene: Statham and Stallone indulge in a spot of bickering as a hail of bullets whistle overhead. What are they like, eh?
The Director: The Watchmen director’s kinetic style might push some of the older boys to their limits, but his CGI experience could be useful in sharpening up some of those six-packs. Plus, he’s never been afraid of taking on something a bit silly…see the Sucker Punch trailer for further details!
The Plot: Sly and the gang are sent on a dangerous mission to the island of Lesbos, where a group of female, latex-clad villainesses are plotting a terrorist attack on the good old US of A. Sexed-up fight scenes ahoy!
Cast Additions: Gerard Butler signs on as McTavish, an alcoholic ex-football hooligan turned ruthless assassin.
Stand-Out Scene: An opening montage in which we see all our favourite badasses cleaning house to a thrashing AC/DC soundtrack. Like the opening to Watchmen , only more knuckleheaded.
The Director: Stallone has hinted that Bruce Willis may have a meatier role this time around, potentially as the film’s big bad, and who better to direct him than his old Die Hard collaborator John McTiernan? He might not have made a film in the best part of a decade, but The Expendables ’ whole credo revolves around reviving things that were great in the ‘80s, so in that respect he’d be the perfect choice!
The Plot: In the wake of a botched mission in which several civilians were killed, Bruce’s shadowy CIA operative attempts to sever all ties with Barney Ross’s crew by sending them into a set-up. However, Ross and friends aren’t so easily disposed of, and are soon on the warpath as they look to get their revenge.
Cast Additions: Signing Willis on for a major role, as opposed to a two-minute cameo, would be all the cast-strengthening they’d need. Make it happen Sly.
Stand-Out Scene: Caught in a fire-fight with Stallone, Bruce ditches the suit and tie in favour of a dirty white vest and an uzi. Yippie-kay-ay!
The Director: QT is currently working his way through various genre movies, so why not set him loose on the pec-pic? Some of the dialogue in the first film was truly horrible, but with Quentin on the scene, Statham and Stallone could share some genuinely humorous banter, as opposed to: “You could’ve killed me!” “You’re welcome.”
The Plot: A twisty-turny labyrinth of a plot with all of the various Expendables trying to collect the same bounty, allowing for a wealth of back-stabbing double-crosses from our slippery heroes.
Cast Additions: Sam Jackson appears to reprise the character of Jules Winnfield, back in the business of killing people after a brief flirtation with God…
Stand-Out Scene: Bruce Willis pops his trunk, only to find Sly curled up within, with a gun trained on him. Naturally the camera captures Brucie’s reaction from Stallone’s point of view…
The Director: Can you imagine Marty teaming up with a cast of action heroes? Well no, neither can we actually, but indulge us. Sly’s lunkheaded ‘80s love letter converted into a sharp, snappy noir? Yes please.
The Plot: Barney Ross learns on the street that there’s a price on his head. Forced into a race against time to find out who wants him dead, who can he trust from his old crew to back him up, without succumbing to temptation and collecting the bounty for themselves?
Cast Additions: Bobby D is on boo-hiss duties as the old team-mate of Barney’s who wants to knock him off.
Stand-Out Scene: A blistering chase scene in which Sly forces his ageing body through the gears as a hit-man looks to put one in his head. Run, Sly….RUN!
The Director: Well, he’s already surprised us once by agreeing to do the Wolverine sequel, so why not let him loose on this? Aronofsky’s films often concern themselves with people pushing themselves to the limit for the sake of their careers…a group of men who define themselves by their ability to take the lives of others is surely the natural conclusion to that preoccupation! Maybe…
The Plot: After a mid-mission heart-attack puts Ross in the hospital, Lee Christmas is all ready to take the reins and allow Barney a nice, early retirement. But when the team find themselves in jeopardy, will Ross listen to his body and leave well alone? Will he hell.!
Cast Additions: We’d like to see Mickey Rourke given a meatier role this time around. Like Schwarzenegger and Willis, his limited screentime in the first film left us wanting more.
Stand-Out Scene: The grand finale where Stallone has to choose between skulking away to live a quiet life, or going out blasting into the face of certain death. Given that it’s an Aronofsky movie, which one do you think he opts for?
The Director: Maybe the next film could do with a touch of the surreal. The first film was fun, but we didn’t feel the need to discuss it length afterwards. And we’re pretty sure we understood all of it after one viewing. Drafting in David Lynch would change all that! And surely he’d be keen to work with such luminaries as Randy Couture?
The Plot: A non-linear stroll through the tortured imagination of Stallone’s haunted killer, in which it is near impossible to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Did Sly kill all those people? Was he ever a mercenary, or just a deluded loner with violent urges? We’ll probably be none the wiser come the end, but it could still be fun!
Cast Additions: We would have loved to have seen the late Dennis Hopper as the villain, but in his absence we’ll make do with Kyle McLachlan.
Stand-Out Scene: A terrifying dream sequence in which Stallone finds himself wandering around an asylum where everyone has Dolph Lundgren’s face. Yikes.
The Director: Obviously, this would never happen, but it would be quite amusing if it did. We like the idea of Stallone, Statham and friends bickering away like a dysfunctional family as they try to put their neuroses aside long enough to beat the bad guys.
The Plot: There’s trouble amid the ranks of the Expendables, who are exhibiting the stresses and strains that all families go through at one time or another. Stallone is the jaded elder statesman, Statham the frustrated wife and Lundgren and Li the squabbling children. Can they all learn to get along for long enough to shut down villainous Bill Murray’s plot to take over the world? Here’s hoping.
Cast Additions: As mentioned above, we’ll have Bill Murray as the villain, with the Wilson brothers as his henchmen. Who wouldn’t want to see that?
Stand-Out Scene: Stallone finally snaps after one snipey comment too many from Statham. The two engage in a furious argument, much to the discomfort of the rest of the group…
The Director: Nobody does breathless action romps better than Tony Scott, and he could inject some much-needed vim and vigour into proceedings. The original film kind of sagged under the weight of its own self-indulgence. What we want is a leaner, slicker sequel, and Scott could be just the man to deliver it.
The Plot: Sly and the gang must foil a terrorist assault on Los Angeles before the whole place goes up in smoke. The first film was seriously lacking in tension, but putting the boys against the clock might be a good way to remedy that.
Cast Additions: Denzel was a real badass in Man On Fire , so maybe a reteaming with Scott would yield a similarly mesmerising performance…
Stand-Out Scene: A scene aboard a runaway train. Judging by Unstoppable and The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3 , this seems to be Scott’s latest obsession…
The Director: Okay, so the Governator doesn’t have much in the way of experience behind the camera, but then again, he didn’t have much experience in politics, and he managed that alright! Sort of. In any case, if Sly Stallone can direct a film, we don’t see why Arnie can’t do it too!
The Plot: The scene between Arnie, Bruce and Sly was the undoubted high point of the first film, so we’d like to see Schwarzenegger’s character Trent Mauser (again, great name) given a proper outing this time around, perhaps as the leader of a rival team of mercenaries trying to take out the same target as Sly’s boys.
Cast Additions: Its Arnie’s big-screen return! Who else do you want to see?
Stand-Out Scene: Arnie steps out of the shadows to confront an incredulous Stallone. “I told you I’d be back” he quips! How the audience will laugh…
The Director: Well, he needs to make a comeback somewhere doesn’t he? And what better vehicle to do it with, than a nostalgic blast-em-up with some of his old pals? Edge Of Darkness might have been a load of old tosh, but it did at least prove one thing: Mad Mel’s appetite for destruction remains undimmed with age!
The Plot: Gibson tends to go in for the “man alone” template when it comes to action films, so perhaps we could see Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas (got to love that name, haven’t you?) isolated from his old pals after an argument, and trying to make his own way in the mercenary business. Naturally, when he finds he’s bitten off more than he can chew, going it alone doesn’t look quite so smart…
Cast Additions: Gibson himself of course! He should trade in on his reputation to conjure up a truly memorable villain.
Stand-Out Scene: Mel performs his standard action-movie routine of soaking up a round of bullets before staggering onwards, gun still raised in a trembling, blood-soaked hand….
The Director: Kapow! Michael Bay’s in town people, so shit is going to get blown up! In all seriousness, this would actually be a pretty good fit. We used to enjoy Bay’s films when they centred upon the sort of buddy-cop bickering of Bad Boys and The Rock . It was when he started mucking about with talking robots that things started to go sour…
The Plot: There’s a bomb, stashed in a fuel production centre, tucked away in a truck carrying a job lot of fireworks. The Expendables must stop it from going off. Except we all know they won’t because there’s no way that Bay could resist blowing that lot up!
Cast Additions: For the love of God not Shia LaBeouf. He’s not the worst actor in the world but after Transformers 2 and the Indiana Jones debacle, we’re just not sure how much we trust him…
Stand-Out Scene: A pre-credits crowd-pleaser in which Shia’s wannabe mercenary takes a well aimed bullet through the brain.
The Director: That’s right, she’s a woman! We’re suggesting a woman to helm possibly the most male franchise in film history. But the thing is, you know she could cut through all the cock-measuring machismo and end up with a genuinely pulse-quickening action thriller. She did it with Point Break , so she can do it with this.
The Plot: There’s a new member of the Expendables. He’s a crack shot, so Ross is happy to have him aboard, but is he really all he says he is? Or is he an undercover Fed, looking to neutralize Ross’s crew from the inside? It’s probably the latter isn’t it?
Cast Additions: Keanu Reeves stars as the interloper to the group. Stallone would be pleased as he’d no longer be the most wooden actor on show…
Stand-Out Scene: A bruising shoot-out in which the boys have to strain every sinew to stay alive. We’re thinking something along the lines of the house raid in Point Break , one of the most adrenaline-soaked set pieces in action movie history!
The Director: Bringing a more cerebral touch to proceedings, it would certainly be intriguing to see what Chris Nolan would do with a bunch of middle-aged men with big guns. We’d likely still be in for some cracking action sequences if the Batman movies are anything to go by, but with some musings on morality and identity thrown in for good measure.
The Plot: Barney Ross is a man in turmoil, wrestling with his interpretation of the man he sees in the mirror. Is he a hero? Or do the many people he’s killed make him a villain? When his long-lost daughter is kidnapped by terrorists, Ross spies one last chance at redemption, and is determined not to let it pass him by…
Cast Additions: Tom Hardy seems to be Nolan’s favourite at the moment, so we’ll slot him in to the gang, with Michael Caine also cropping up as some sort of mentor-figure for the morally confused Ross…
Stand-Out Scene: A final scene in which everything that has gone before is called into question. Stallone looks permanently baffled as it is, so he’d probably do quite well with this one.
The Director: With all that testosterone flying around, everyone took things a little too seriously first time around, but if Tim Burton were involved, that would be nigh-on impossible. Imagine the camp action of the first two Batman films, only with Sly and Stath hamming it up in place of Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito. Actually, that’s not the most favourable comparison…
The Plot: Stallone’s crew are pitted against a grotesque pantomime villain, a hideously deformed character harbouring a grudge against the man who made him how he is. That’s right, he’s got it in for good old Barney Ross!
Cast Additions: Even in an overblown, steroid-enhanced action extravaganza, we’re sure Burton could find a place for Johnny Depp somewhere…
Stand-Out Scene: Stallone finds himself chasing Depp’s snivelling villain through a disused carnival funhouse, full of grinning clowns and macabre waxworks. Oooh, gothic…
Neveldine / Taylor
The Directors: Let’s face it, The Expendables 2 i s never going to be Citizen Kane , so why not ramp the excess up to eleven by putting Crank: High Voltage helmers Neveldine and Taylor in charge? One thing’s for sure, they’d be certain to put their stamp on proceedings. As Jason Statham puts it: “working with those two guys is not like working with anybody else…they are absolutely mad as hatters.” Amen to that.
The Plot: When a cackling supervillain kidnaps Lee Christmas’s girlfriend, he challenges the Expendables to wipe out all of his criminal rivals within a 24-hour period. Thus begins a madcap orgy of gunfire and car-chases, all of which are against the clock. Yee-ha!
Cast Additions: Amy Smart is on love-interest duties. She and Statham just seem to have a chemistry…
Stand-Out Scene: Surely Neveldine / Taylor can be relied upon to crowbar another al fresco sex scene in their somewhere? We would want our money back if not…
The Director: Gor’ blimey guv’nor! Its everyone’s favourite mockney chap, Guy Ritchie! Having got his mojo back with the twin successes of Rocknrolla and Sherlock Holmes , Ritchie would be a solid choice to inject a bit of humour into proceedings, whilst ensuring Jason Flemyng and Dexter Fletcher are able to keep the wolf from the door for another year…
The Plot: Sly puts on his best Dick Van Dyke impression as the action is relocated to the East End of London! The team are in good old Blighty to recover a stolen diamond, but they’ll have to go through a cast of colourful characters to get their hands on it. Wait, this is just the plot of Snatch isn’t it? Damn.
Cast Additions: Vinnie Jones is drafted in to swell the cockney count and provide even more muscle. We’re surprised he didn’t get the nod first time around. Then again, X-Men 3 casts a very long shadow…
Stand-Out Scene: Sly’s face is a picture of incomprehension as a cockney geezer calls him a “fackin’ mag”.
The Director: Imagine every bead of Stallone sweat flying into the audience! That dream could become a reality if Cameron were on board with all his 3D bells and whistles. And although he’s been rightly hailed as a technical visionary, there’s nothing Jim enjoys more than the simple pleasure of a well-executed action sequence. He’d have a blast!
The Plot: A hastily cobbled-together story involving a kidnapped daughter, a foreign dictator and a load of stolen money. It’s not so much a plot as a framework upon which to hang a string of shootouts, which are themselves just an excuse to have some bullets flying out of the screen into the audience. Cynical? Us?
Cast Additions: Is there room for Sam Worthington? Of course there is! Provided he’s carrying a big gun, obviously.
Stand-Out Scene: A rare tender moment when Sly briefly lets his guard down and has a good old cry, his tears flying out of the screen in glorious 3D.
The Director: The renowned action director has been off the radar for a while, but on his day, he can still raise the pulse-rate with his super-kinetic style of filmmaking. If he could inject just a tiny amount of Face/Off ’s sense of fun into The Expendables , we could have a real guilty pleasure on our hands.
The Plot: A logic-baiting farce in which Stallone discovers that a criminal mastermind has killed one of his former brothers-in-arms, stolen his face, and is now dragging his reputation through the mud by assuming his identity and going on a criminal rampage. Daft enough for you Mr. Woo?
Cast Additions: Nic Cage appears as a bug-eyed, strung-out villain, cranking his Bad Lieutenant performance up to the max. Or failing that, we’ll take Travolta. We’re not too fussy.
Stand-Out Scene: A ten-minute shootout shot entirely in slow-motion. Ooooooh, yeah!
The Director: What’s better than watching Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham knocking seven bells out of each other? Watching them do it whilst a natural disaster goes on around them, that’s what! The modern cinemagoer is a demanding breed. It’s not enough to just show a gunfight these days, you need to have a volcano going off at the same time. Roland Emmerich understands this. Everyone else needs to catch up.
The Plot: Los Angeles is in the grip of the biggest natural disaster in recent years, with an earthquake wreaking havoc on the city and its occupant. However, Sly’s got a job to do, and his Expendables aren’t getting the weekend off just because of a few tremors…
Cast Additions: Goodness, we forgot that Emmerich casts people in his movies. Its usually all about the weather. In any case, his heroes are usually wimpy everyman types, for whom there is no place within The Expendables .
Stand-Out Scene: Statham surfs a tidal-wave through downtown LA, firing off rounds from a submachine gun as he goes.
Jean-Claude Van Damme
The Director: He was the one big absentee from the first film, so how can Stallone persuade him to join in this time around? Well, perhaps he could offer him the director’s chair. What do you mean he isn’t a director? Haven’t you heard of a little film called The Eagle Path ? Well, no, we hadn’t either until we checked on IMDB, but it came out last year and JCVD directed it. So there.
The Plot: Barney Ross is haunted by the memory of an old partner, Boots McAsskick, who died in a mission some twenty years ago. Or did he? Someone is taking out the Expendables’ targets before they can get close…someone who leaves a single boot at the scene of each hit. Can Boots be alive after all these years? Of course he can.
Cast Additions: JCVD stars as Boots! Think he can’t act and direct simultaneously? Again, allow us to refer you to The Eagle Path …
Stand-Out Scene: Boots makes his grand entrance by performing the splits. You just know Van Damme would get it in there somewhere…