STARRING Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren
WRITTEN BY Dave Callaham, Sylvester Stallone
DIRECTED BY Sylvester Stallone
Not only does The Expendables come stocked with a who's who of muscle-bound macho men, it also features one scene that fans of '80s action movies will drool over: a tête-á-tête-á-tête between Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. ''It took probably eight months to pull it off because of everyone's schedules," says Stallone, who also directed and co-wrote the $55 million throwback to he-man classics like The Dirty Dozen and The Dogs of War. ''With Arnold especially, we'd plan a date and then there'd be a fire or a budget crisis and he'd have to go back to Sacramento.''
Stallone says the big scene serves as little more than a cameo for his two A-list pals. But, he adds, ''it really sets the hook for the movie.'' Right, the movie. Willis plays a shady mogul who hires Stallone's band of mercenaries which includes Jason Statham, Jet Li, mixed-martial-arts champ Randy Couture, and former NFL player Terry Crews to overthrow a Latin American dictator. In a twist that smacks of '80s box office showdowns, Schwarzenegger is Stallone's longtime rival, a fellow soldier of fortune. ''Arnold and I talked about how it takes a while to start up the engines these days,'' laughs the 63-year-old Stallone.
Statham, a current action star thanks to his Transporter and Crank franchises, plays Stallone's second-in-command. ''What I like about this story,'' Statham says, ''is that Sly doesn't want characters who are superhuman heroes. He wants characters who are weak on the inside, but when the s--- gets going, they can deal with the situation.'' As for the rating, Stallone promises a hard R. After all, just look at the cast, he says. ''These guys are born hard R!''