When The Expendables first came to our attention, we were all psyched. By “our” and “we” I’m referring, of course, to just about every male born before 1990. These were our guys. Our heroes. All of them, together, in one place. Well, almost all of them. There were some notable figures missing, like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Steven Seagal. As internet writers with a boner for lists, we all put together our dream cast for The Expendables 2.
Now that the film has arrived, men and awesome women everywhere were rewarded: Jean-Claude and Chuck Norris were both added to the cast while Schwarzenegger and Willis both got expanded roles. Our action dreams were coming true! And while the word on The Expendables 2 is mostly positive, that hasn’t stopped the internet from churning out dream casting for the hopefully inevitable third installment.
But here at Film School Rejects, we’re a little bit different. Why create another list of pretty cool action stars from the 80s or 90s? Everyone else is already doing that. We’re going the opposite direction, to Asylum Town.
There was a time when Marvel Comics had multiple Avengers teams. The main team were always based in Manhattan, like the majority of Marvel characters, so to balance things out, a West Coast Avengers team was created, because sometimes villainy strikes outside of the Eastern seaboard. That team was pretty respectable, but there was a third Avengers team – the Great Lakes Avengers, servicing the Great Lakes area and being decidedly a third rate team of super-heroes.
When you need a team of mercenaries to actually get the job done, you hire The Expendables. When you’re on an Asylum level budget and you’re looking for a laugh, you hire The Great Lakes Expendables, a grouping of some of the worst “action heroes” to ever disgrace the screen.
Hulk Hogan (Suburban Commando)
This Suburban Commando would jump at the chance to grace the big screen, as long as those pesky three ninjas were nowhere to be seen.
Steven Seagal (Out of Reach)
While some would argue Seagal deserves a place on the actual Expendables team, his waist line and desire to wear what look like kimonos and play the guitar place him squarely on the third string.
Vanilla Ice (Cool as Ice)
Vanilla Ice is due for a comeback and when he took his turn at acting in Cool as Ice he proved that his comeback will never involve acting.
Howie Long (Firestorm)
This football player turned actor turned former actor turned football commentator toes the line in almost being at the level of a cameo in the actual Expendables, but at the end of the day, he doesn’t quite make the team.
Rick Hill (Deathstalker)
Deathstalker, a Roger Corman produced sword and sandal flick, is amusingly bad and just chock full of men turning into women and rape being a commonly accepted facet of life. You owe it to yourself to hunt this flick down and the Great Lakes Expendables could use a man like The Deathstalker.
Joe Piscopo (Dead Heat)
If he was good enough to fight zombie jewelry thieves and Vincent Price alongside an undead Treat Williams, he’s good enough for this team. Barely.
Jay Leno (Collision Course)
I just wanted you to know that Jay Leno was actually in an action movie. In The Great Lakes Expendables, he’d be the comedic relief if he were actually funny. He’s still funnier than Letterman, though.
Shaq would play Steel and wear a ridiculous steel helmet and genie pants.
Michael Treanor, Max Elliot Slade, Chad Power (3 Ninjas)
Yes, all 3 of the 3 Ninjas (Sorry, Hulk) must be on this team, provided they’re still alive. Their characters would have to be triplets and they would finish each others sentences and be generally horrible.
Brigiette Nielsen (Red Sonja)
I actually kind of like this movie, but the Great Lakes Expendables need a female presence.
The Barbarian Brothers (The Barbarians)
Just look at these guys. Look at them.
Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid III)
He’d almost make The Expendables team, if he still didn’t like sixteen years old to this very day.
Richard Grieco (Almighty Thor)
As the villain. 100% yes. And by yes I mean no, Grieco is terrible.
Missed the Cut
Missing the cut of The Great Lakes Expendables is actually a compliment. I had Brian Bosworth and Michael Dudikoff both on my list for this article, but decided I’d rather see them get a real shot at The Expendables 3. Also, Kurt Russell and Michael Jai White were never on this list, but should also totally be in the next one.
I’m sure some people will read this and get mad or feel I’ve slighted some actor here, but I’ll be honest – this comes from a place of love. I dig some of these people and some of their movies. And I would totally, absolutely watch a movie starring them called The Great Lakes Expendables.
Who would you cast in The Great Lakes Expendables?