Sunday, March 31, 2013

Expendables 3

'Expendables 3' Cast Rolls Into Cannes In Tanks
(By Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Associated Press, 18 May 2014)
Who needs a red carpet?  The megawatt cast of "Expendables 3" made a spectacular debut at Cannes on Sunday, rolling down the famous Croisette in tanks as a throng of onlookers and media jostled for a better view of its cargo: Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, and Jason Statham. And that was just part one of the entourage.  Banderas was hardly exaggerating in the subsequent press conference when he called it the "hall of fame" of action heroes.  "The chance to work with all these guys is very very rare," said Stallone, the film's original star and creator, sitting between Schwarzenegger and Gibson. 
Since the first "Expendables" in 2010, the cast has ballooned to seemingly include almost every star that's flexed a muscle on film: The third edition includes younger stars such as Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey (the only woman in the cast), as well as Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammer.  Ford called joining the cast "a lot of fun," and that was clear from the camaraderie at the press conference (which needed two rows of seats to fit everyone).  There were plenty of compliments: Schwarzenegger called Stallone one of his "great inspirations, while Stallone gushed about the former California governor's great mind; Banderas said he was honored, as a Spaniard, to be included.  The cast also cracked jokes at the expense of each other, and themselves: Age was a natural target, given the advanced age of most of it's top-billed stars.  "I think Lincoln was in the White House when we first met," quipped Stallone, 67, about Ford, 71. 
Later, when asked when the stars when know when it was time to retire, Stallone said: "When you're ass falls off, it's time to retire," before adding: "We're children with arthritis! We're young forever!"  Though much of the cast are senior citizens, Stallone, is hoping to reach a younger generation with the next film with a PG-13 rating instead of the R-rating of the others to expand its reach.  Stallone also said the franchise would return to its action roots; the second one delved "too far" into the comic realm, he said.  "I realized we should get back into dramatic. When the action starts, I don't like to do joke action," Stallone said. "I feel like we finally got it right on the third one - kind of like a marriage."

'The Expendables 3': What The Critics Are Saying
(By Ian Servantes, Hollywood Reporter, 15 August 2014)

The Expendables 3, with a cast so big it can only fit on a billboard, hits theaters Friday. Kelsey Grammer, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford are just a few of the new faces (read: muscles) to join Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the franchise's third installment, directed by Patrick Hughes.  In addition to potential franchise fatigue, a pristine copy of the movie leaked on the Internet earlier this month, and the film opened to a muted $875,000 Thursday night from more than 2,200 locations. The Lionsgate and Millennium Film is expected to take in $20 million to $25 million for the weekend — a series low.

Read what top critics are saying about The Expendables 3:

The Hollywood Reporter's film critic Justin Lowe says in his review, "Although The Expendables 3 remains faithful to the series' B-movie roots, what becomes increasingly clear is that the issue of franchise fatigue isn't so much attributable to the initially inspired template that put highly recognizable, aging action stars back in the game as it is to increasingly formulaic plotlines. With no higher purpose than generating cash and allowing for a few shared laughs among old buddies on repetitive assignments to take out tyrannical despots and nefarious arms dealers, The Expendables lack the dimensionality of enduring screen characters, despite the iconic roles many of these actors have played in other films."

He continues, "The biggest misstep involves sidelining the original cast members while Ross (Stallone) convenes a new group of Expendables, which consumes an unwarranted amount of plot with commensurate payoff. None of the newcomers has the experience or credentials of the film's real stars, which are the factors that make their performances so effectively economical and ironically amusing."

Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan says, "With some of their members looking old enough to apply for joint membership in the RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) action franchise, Expendables 3 has tried to make a virtue of necessity and construct a film about younger types muscling their sclerotic compatriots out of a job. That may sound interesting, but it's really not. ... In addition to a great deal of bloodless (which is kind of a relief) PG-13 action, Expendables 3 has a surfeit of the kind of tedious macho dialogue these films are known for. When Drummer (Ford) returns to action and tells the gang, 'I haven't had so much fun in years,' it's not likely the audience will be in full agreement."

Boston Globe's Tom Russo was one of the few critics with kind words and says The Expendables 3 "gets the franchise back on track. ... Rather than trying to pique our interest by being the slightest bit selective, Stallone takes the view that more really is more. ... It's a preposterously overstuffed strategy that, go figure, not only works, but even cures a thing or two that ailed the previous movies. They were decent guilty pleasures, but didn't offer much in the way of story. Flat, lunkheaded banter between Barney Ross (Stallone) and sidekick Lee Christmas (Statham) was passed off as humor. Here, there's a more compelling narrative, as well as some legitimate comic relief thanks to Banderas, Snipes, and — so that's what he's doing here! — Kelsey Grammer."

The New York Times' Nicolas Rapold offers a short and sweet takedown of the movie and says the director "pours these gunfire barrages, explosions and a few leaping stunts into rambling set pieces, as if turning an action hose on and off. A little pizazz comes from Banderas as a gabby Spanish killer and from Snipes as a loose cannon, reconfirming his potent screen presence. ... It's all a bit like a classic-rick tribute concert, or playing with all your action figures at once, or maybe Cannonball Run, with the strained buddy-buddy back-and-forth. It's also a leisurely action movie that feels as though it's spread pretty thin across its more-is-better cast."

Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips references the reported $90 million budget and says, "It looks more like $30 million. I think the audiences respond to the general air of cheapness in this franchise; it's part of the fun, the tinny, macho ridiculousness of it. He continues, "The climatic and semi-endless assault features tanks, helicopters, motorcycle stunts only a digital effects specialist could love and some terrible staging and editing. Even so, the movie's less a failure than a shrug, and it's pleasant in a numbing way to see everybody again, killing, killing, killing."

Bruce Willis Out, Harrison Ford In: Willis Left 'Expendables 3' Over $1 Million-a-Day Fee Demand
(By Kim Masters , Hollywood Reporter, 07 August 2013)

A source says the actor was offered $3 million for four days of work shooting in Bulgaria but said he would drop out if he didn't get $4 million.  Sylvester Stallone let the world know Tuesday that Bruce Willis was out of the upcoming The Expendables 3 for being "greedy and lazy," and it seems that laziness was not the primary issue.  Stallone raised eyebrows in Hollywood by tweeting "WILLIS OUT . . . HARRISON FORD IN!!!! GREAT NEWS!!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!," then following up with a second tweet reading "GREEDY AND LAZY . . . A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE."  A source with knowledge of the situation says the fallout was over a specific money demand. Willis was offered $3 million for four days of consecutive work on location in Bulgaria for the film. "He said he'd drop out unless he got $4 million," this source close to the production says. "A million dollars a day. Stallone and everybody else involved said no."
Stallone then quickly reached out to Ford, who was game to join the Expendables cast.  The insider adds, "I think [Willis] was pretty surprised he was replaced in 72 hours by Harrison Ford -- a better actor, a much nicer person and a more interesting direction for the film."  Willis' reps at CAA declined comment.  Willis most recently appeared in Red 2, which has grossed a disappointing $80 million worldwide. Before that, February's A Good Day to Die Hard grossed $305 million. He also had an extended cameo in March's G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which grossed $372 million. 
The next installment of The Expendables, with a budget of more than $90 million, is set for release next August by Millennium Films. In addition to Stallone and Ford, the cast includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke and Wesley Snipes.

Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas Set For 'Expendables 3,' According To Stallone
(By Christopher Rosen, The Huffington Post, 09 August 2013)
Mel Gibson and Antonio Banderas have joined the cast of "Expendables 3," this according to a representative for star Sylvester Stallone. Both Gibson and Banderas was first rumored for the project earlier this year, following tweets from Stallone himself:  “Antonio B. ...?  Could be.” (12:41 PM - 3 May 2013) and “Mad Max vs Barney Ross...... (11:53 PM - 15 Jul 2013).”  Gibson will reportedly star as the villain in "The Expendables 3." As for Banderas, there's no word yet on his "Expendables 3" part. According to his representatives, the 52-year-old has an offer for the project but has not officially signed on just yet.
Regardless, Stallone is already looking forward to appearing with Banderas again; the pair shared the screen in 1995's ‘Assassins.’  "He is a consummate actor and a gentleman," Stallone said of Banderas in a statement to HuffPost Entertainment. (Banderas is represented by manager Manny Nunez.)  Gibson and Banderas would join Stallone and Harrison Ford in the cast of "The Expendables 3." Ford replaced Bruce Willis on the call sheet this week, after reportedly demanding $1 million per day in salary to appear in the series' third film. (Willis' representatives had no comment on that report, which originated in THR.) Stallone, meanwhile, called Willis "greedy and lazy" on his Twitter account.  "Expendables 3" is set for release sometime in 2014.

If We Were Making 'The Expendables 3,' Here's Who We'd Cast
(By Chuck Walton,, 16 August 2012)

Here's the thing about The Expendables franchise. If you're going to go big, go really big. For example, let's look at the cast tagged in the first Expendables – "Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Couture, Austin, Crews, Rourke, Willis." Of those names, the ones action junkies really care about are "Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Willis." Couture, Austin, Crews, Rourke? Being an MMA, wrestling, ex-NFL or Academy Award-nominated/cult film favorite is all fine and cool, but it doesn't truly define a long-standing action genre icon...although definitely, they're able to fill out the fringes on the poster.
Flash forward to The Expendables 2. Two years and $100 plus million later, we have a new stellar line-up on the marquee – "Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Norris, Crews, Couture, Hemsworth, Van Damme, Willis, Schwarzenegger." The cast is more solid this time, but here's who really matters – "Stallone, Li, Lundgren, Norris, Van Damme, Willis, Schwarzenegger." Go ahead and take aim, but nowadays Statham doesn't really make the A-list cut. He's had too many subpar actioners (Killer Elite, Blitz, In the Name of the King, The Mechanic, etc.) on his shooting schedule. So basically, we've gone from five badass action idols in one movie to seven in the sequel. That's awesome. But note to Sly and producer Avi Lerner (the men behind the men) - feel free to shoot even higher for the next outing. Lots of wish list guys may have balked in the past. But if Expendables 2 hits like we think it might (outrageous? absurd? sweet!), there'll be more coin in the till to corral the hold-outs.

Here's our advice to the makers of The Expendables 3, and it's a simple 3-step.

1) Ditch the non-action movie stars in the secondary roles. Couture, Crews, Hemsworth, and Statham (due to his output of insignificant action flicks).  Replace with any of the following (if you, the filmmakers, love the Statham bunch and can't stand to lose them, maybe they can be in another movie off on another mission) …these guys are more solid - Tony Jaa, Michael Biehn, Chris Hemsworth, and The Raid: Redemption's Iko Uwais (plus Harrison Ford and/or Clint Eastwood in cameo appearances as the head guys back at control doling out assignments). Basic rule of thumb: No co-stars who are known more as athletes (Howie Long and Brian Bosworth included); no co-stars whose egos are bigger than their action stripes (Vin Diesel included); and no co-stars under 35 who can't carry a minimum weight of 215 pounds of muscle (Liam Hemsworth, out; Chris Hemsworth, in).
2) Split the teams. We love JCVD being the baddie in Expendables 2, but he needs more A-list action talent behind him on the dark side. And there's plenty of awesome firepower yet to be utilized for good and bad. For the good guy team as new headliners alongside Sly and company, we suggest Kurt Russell, all of the guys mentioned above as secondary lieutenants, plus fellows such as Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Carl Weathers, Chow Yun-Fat, Keanu Reeves or Matt Damon if they're willing to suit up, and Linda Hamilton or Rene Russo (see point 3). On the bad boy team, we recommend as the two head villains the sorely-missing super bad boy Steven Seagal (with pony tail and lots of gym time to prep) and of course the one and only Mel Gibson (this will be a perfect career comeback where he can go down in appropriately crazy, cartoonish, over-the-top fashion). More folks for baddie consideration: Wesley Snipes, Vin Diesel (here, it makes sense), Sigourney Weaver and Roddy Piper. While we're at it, maybe have Jet Li change sides, too.

3) Add legitimate female brawn.  We don't need damsels in distress. And we don't need models or actresses who look like models day-playing as action heroines, unless they're Kate Beckinsale. Throw Linda Hamilton in with the good guys, Sigourney Weaver in with the bad guys, have them go mano a mano, and voila, you've got a must-see action match-up. Meanwhile, intercut with cool one on one battles between Snake Plissken and Mad Max, Rambo and Blade, the Terminator and Gino from Out for Justice, and so on and so forth.

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