Well, per the info given on IMDB, principal photography is set to start next month for Sylvester Stallone’s newest flick, The Expendables.
I have to say when the whispers started on this last year it raised my eyebrows. Due to the chances he took with ‘against-type’ films in the 90’s, Stallone’s track record became pretty hit or miss. Rocky and First Blood were very solid movies and their sequels were more or less just as impacting and crowd pleasing as their now legendary inceptors. After completing final chapter of the Rocky saga, I think most people forgot about Rocky V and (with as much emotion and power as the Rocky originally evoked) we sadly but gracefully said goodbye to the man who taught us to root for the underdog. With the release of the (at the time) final entry of the Rambo, Stallone went action overload and it paid off. The crowd loved it but news early this year makes it seem it wasn’t going to be as easy to say good-bye to Rambo.
I for one love Stallone. I don’t think he’s a “can do no wrong” type of entertainer, but he’s got enough charisma and experience he can make a role work in situations where if it was anyone had done it, it would be laughable or forgettable. So for me, I see Stallone and Kevin Costner in the same boat. They can act, they can write and they can direct. These days I’d have to say he’s got the kinks out and has returned to form.
So with the action bug back in his veins Stallone looks again to the jungle and helping impoverished peoples get out from under the heels of a tyrant, or something similar. What got me interested beyond his initial involvement, was that he was pulling Jet Li in. I thought, OK this could be interesting. We can hope it’d work better that Jet Li and Brendan Fraser facing off. Then we heard about Jason Statham. OK, I’m in. Then the pot only got sweeter, Forest Whitaker, Dolph Lungren, even for a time, Sir Ben Kingsley (who I never really got but as John Campea says, “it’s never a bad decision to add talent”). This was turning into an bad-ass version of The Outsiders. I mean come on, everyone but me and my grandma was in that movie.
Now it is confirmed that Danny Trejo, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke and Ah-nuld himself (playing a cameo as himself funny enough) are all on board. The pessimist in me is starting to think this is too many cooks in the kitchen, or something that should have been done 15 years ago. The optimist in me says this could become a re imagining of The Magnificent Seven.
However, my gut feel is that movie is a testing ground for Stallone who isn’t sure we’re ready for another jungle flick just yet. I think he’s testing some themes or plot devices he might be planning for John Rambo…its going to take time and will be a little tough to come up with something interesting/original in this setting. Think about it, aside from Predator, what more can you really do in the jungle with guns anyway?
Either way, I’m hopeful. Because I’m a Stallone fan I guess that makes me more than hopeful. Wait and see is about all I can do for now…