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Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Crews, Lundgren, and Couture beef up THE EXPENDABLES 2 Comic-Con panel!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

One of the final panels of the first full day of San Diego Comic-Con belonged to the returning champ from two SDCCs ago, Sylvester Stallone and the men of THE EXPENDABLES, on hand to promote THE EXPENDABLES 2. The panel was a little light on new footage (compared to the previous one), but I thought the discussion was actually a lot better, especially when Stallone, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, and Dolph Lundgren (no Bruce Willis this time around) were joined on stage by Arnold Schwarzenegger for one of the liveliest chats I've seen in Hall H in quite some time. Both Stallone and Schwarzenegger were honored with basically "greatest hits" clip packages of their work over the years (although a couple of shots of Arnold as Mr. Freeze in BATMAN & ROBIN were met with a smattering of laughter from the crowd

But once the adornment was put aside, the panel was able to dive into the movie and their respective careers. Although the panel was short on plot details about EXPENDABLES 2, the one extended scene that was screened at the end of the panel was a fun, chaotic shoot-out sequence that gave us quick glimpses of Sly, Arnold and Willis fighting side by side with massive weapons, and it brought warmth to my heart. The sequence also featured quick glimpses of Jean-Claude Van Damme as a trench-coated, sunglasses-wearing villain and Chuck Norris saving someone's hide at one point. There's a funny exchange between Willis and Schwarzenegger at the end that I won't spoil, but let's say they poke fun at a few of their better-known catch phrases through the ages.


A few highlights for me from the panel discussion included:

-- Stallone's reaction to seeing all the clips from this career: "I'm really proud to have been a big part of that particular kind of filmmaking, where you got a chance to feel the rock, feel the waterfall, hang from a helicopter. It was quite and adventure. [The EXPENDABLES movies] are an homage to that era, because I'm a product of it, and many men like me have been very fortunate to have been part of a genre that cropping up in the early '80s, and I don't know how much longer it's going to last. And I thought let's try to keep it going for as long as we can and bring back some true badasses and get some male pattern badness in the thing.

-- [Today's action stars] are just a different kind of action star where it becomes a little more futuristic, more scientific and technical. You don't actually have to spend your life pumping iron, which isn't exactly a lot of fun. You can be creative through CGI and be able to do things that are extraordinary. I'm actually a little jealous. It's a totally different kind of action hero, but it's totally valid. Each generation had to create their own heroes. Ours come from the '80s and '90s. But each generation will redefine what they like through the heroes they choose to adore.

-- Stallone admitted that a lot of what happens in THE EXPENDABLES 2 is a result of how audiences reacted to the first film in terms of mixing action, humor, violence, how deep into the characters they should get, and momentum. It was a process of tone amplification in his eyes in an effort to surpass the first film.

-- Stallone referred to Schwarzenegger as "one of brothers in the hard-R business."

-- Arnold's first words on stage: "I'm back." He admitted that the friendly rivalry between he and Stallone (from who killed more people in their movies total to who had more oil on their muscles in each new film) was a big part of their relationship.

-- Arnold said when he first arrived on THE EXPENDABLES 2 set, the stunt team said to him they realized that he'd been out of the business for eight years so, "Here's how you load a gun, and here's how you throw a punch and almost hit them. It was a how-to for the first hour, but they realized you don't lose it all. I could get back and load the gun, shoot the gun, get back into things. All the fun things, I didn't forget. You wish you could do some of those things in politics, but you can't."

-- Terry Crews, a former NFL player, said that the night before games, he and his teammates would get together and watch Stallone and Schwarzenegger movies to ramp themselves up. "One thing you have to realize about the action genre is that it's like a religion; you get your beliefs from these movies, your idea of what's right and wrong."

-- Arnold spent an extended amount of time talking about how much better shape Crews was in since they made THE SIXTH DAY (Crews' first movie) together, to which Crews responded "I can die now! Arnold likes my muscles!" To which Arnold said, "I hope you don't take it the wrong way." The bro-mance is alive and well.

-- Arnold said, "When I came to American 44 years ago, Sly was my English teacher," to which Stallone responded, "Ow! We should have a spelling bee some day."

-- Stallone recounted his first meeting Arnold at the Golden Globes where ROCKY won best picture and best director, and Arnold won Best Newcomer. He swore that Arnold got larger during the course of the awards ceremony, and when he heard Arnold's last name, he thought it was a joke and that he'd never catch on. Arnold remembered that Stallone's mother came over to him and said, "You look like a piano mover."

-- Although they didn't talk in much detail about it, Sly and Arnold did mention that they had just finished shooting a new movie, THE TOMB, a couple of weeks ago. "It's great to be back again," said Arnold. "Some people say I was gone from acting for eight years. I say there are other critics who say he was never in acting in the first place." Ending with: "It's not a tumor!"

-- Arnold mentioned in vague terms the idea of KING CONAN and a TWINS sequel, but he was fairly non-committal. Although he did recite the line, "Crush your enemies." "I have been interested in doing the TWINS sequel for many years. Ivan Reitman has shown interested in the project, as has Universal Studios. We're now looking for a great writer to write the sequel. I think it will be hilarious."

-- Stallone admitted that his favorite Arnold movie was TERMINATOR 2; Arnold admitted he was impressed by how many franchises Stallone was responsible for over the years.

That about cover THE EXPENDABLES 2 panel highlights. More Comic-Con coverage to come. Stay tuned…

-- Steve Prokopy
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