The Expendables 2 is such a strange movie, filled with odd performances, campy dialogue and lots of old guys running around with big guns. One of the aspects I’ve always wondered about though is Trench’s team. Arnold Schwarzenegger references his squad, but we never see them on camera. I assume the group is made up of several action stars from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, just like Barney’s Expendables. So that got me thinking... Who would I cast for Schwarzenegger’s rag tag wild bunch of mercs. In choosing my team, I used a few criteria... They have to be alive. They need to represent the classic action films and TV series that The Expendables 2 parodies. They have to be somewhat affordable. (The chances of bringing The Expendables 3 in under budget while casting the likes of Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood or Jackie Chan seem almost impossible). And they have to serve some sort of niche on the team. We don’t need another set of muscles as Schwarzenegger has that spot covered. So here we go, my 5 top choices for Trench Mauser's team of Expendables...
1) Let’s start first with the pilot. Stallone flies the Expendables around in an old cargo plane armed with guns and a canon. I’m guessing Trench needs the skills of an experienced pilot to cart his group around the world in a similar mode of transportation. I nominate Jan-Michael Vincent. The former World’s Greatest Athlete and protege to Charles Bronson’s Mechanic has better credentials for handling a helicopter or plane than anyone else in the Expendables universe. As the pilot of TV’s most technically advanced helicopter Airwolf, Jan-Michael Vincent has proven that he has the chops to drop off and pick up the guys in the most dire of situations.
2) Every crack mercenary team needs an asshole, someone who sets the bar high for being a scummy low-life merc. I’m going with Martin Kove for this slot. As the evil dojo master John Kreese in the Karate Kid series, he proved himself a master of karate while being a grade-A dick. He further solidified his spot by refusing to pick-up John Rambo from the jungles of Vietnam in First Blood Part II. Assholes make the other guys on the team look braver and more heroic. Plus, the asshole usually is the easiest to kill-off (i.e. Lundgren in the first Expendables movie before the producers changed their minds about his character’s fate). It’s a pretty important niche and Kove fits the bill perfectly.
3) The martial artist does a lot of the dirty work in these sorts of movies, providing athleticism and some of the best hand-to-hand action scenes in the film. For the martial artist role, I would go after a real life tough guy... someone like Don “The Dragon” Wilson. This 11-time world kickboxing champion proved himself in the ring and at your local video store with an established library of direct-to-video action movies. He built a strong following in the 90’s with 8 entries in Roger Corman’s Bloodfist series and several other low-budget releases. He can put together a good hand-to-hand fight scene without upstaging his more famous co-stars and he can throw a kick about as well as anyone on screen.
4) The wildcard plays an important role in the team dynamic. Donald Sutherland in Kelly’s Heroes, Telly Savalas in The Dirty Dozen and Dwight Schultz as Howling Mad Murdock on The A-Team all brought an explosive element to their squads. You never knew exactly how they will react in a dangerous situation or when their teammates need them the most. I would like to nominate “Hot Rod” Roddy Piper to fill this niche. There’s a lot to love about Hot Rod’s unique brand of crazy. It’s intense, intimidating and uses just enough logic to let you know that’s he’s not totally insane.
5) And finally, Trench needs a best friend, a confidant who backs up decisions and makes fun of him when he screws up. Much like Statham with Stallone, this person needs to have a good repoire with Schwarzenegger. For this role, I look towards Carl Weathers. We already know the two have good chemistry from their work together on Predator. Weathers makes the perfect second-in-command for Trench and a guy with his own track record kicking ass.
Well, those are a few of my old guy picks to join Trench Mauser’s squad of mercenaries in another Expendables movie. What are yours? Leave your choices below and for more interviews, features, exclusive content and reviews subscribe to the AICN Youtube channel and follow me on Twitter.