People like to talk a lot in absolutes and turn everything into a competition. Hence, you hear a lot of “what won Comic Con” in regards to what panel absolutely floored people, generally with the reveal of footage. I can tell you with great certainty that The Expendables 2 did not win San Diego Comic-Con, but it sure as hell was a fun panel.
The panel started with the same trailer we’ve already seen – hey, you’ve got to tease the crowd a little bit first, you can’t just come right out and show them something new. This was quickly followed up with a Stallone highlight reel set to some blistering rock and roll, from Black Sabbath to The Rolling Stones, with clips covering Rocky, Rambo, Assassins, The Expendables, The Expendables 2, and Tango and Cash!
With a sufficiently manly introduction, the rest of the cast was brought out – Terry Crews climbed the table and Arnold Schwarzenegger got his own rocking clip show that spanned from Conan the Barbarian to Predator, Terminator, and True Lies.
But what about new Expendables 2 footage!?
Well, that’s why this panel didn’t win Comic Con, despite being awesome. Well also, nothing “wins” Comic Con. There are just goods and bads. This was definitely good, but the “new” footage we were treated to was pretty sparse. We got a look at Willis, Schwarzenegger, and Stallone all together and kicking ass, the team flying down a zip line, Barney Ross fast firing, and, of course, smoking a big ass cigar.
The scene we got to see at the end was briefly glimpsed in the trailer: JCVD and Scott Adkins are walking through what appears to be an airport – we see shadows behind glass and suddenly the Expendables open fire, ambushing the bad guys. There is a ton of shooting, bullets going everywhere, dudes dropping – then Chuck Norris out of nowhere to save Ross’s life! Some more ass kicking, some stabbing, some slashing, some slamming and throwing. I’m sad to report that the CGI blood is back, but ultimately this short little scene showcased some pretty awesome actions.
While there was a lack of new footage, the panel made up for it by being kind of a dream team of the awesome 80s. Sylvester Stallone! Arnold Schwarzenegger! Dolph Lundgren! I felt a bit bad for the latter, since no one really asked him any questions and he remained mostly quiet throughout the panel, though Sly did retell a story in response to a question about how Dolph injured him during the filming of Rocky III with a devastating punch. Stallone went on to reveal that Lundgren’s Gunnar character will be given more backstory in the sequel, a backstory gleaned from Lundgren’s real life. What could that be? The man led an interesting life – for one, he was a Fulbright scholar, he attended MIT, and he has a degree in chemical engineering. He’s also a champion kickboxer and one time people broke into his house and upon seeing a family photo of him, put all the stuff back and left.
Stallone and Schwarzenegger each took turns owning the room, spouting off hilarious jokes about themselves and each other at different points in their careers.
When talking about early comparisons between the two, Schwarzenegger said questions like “Who had more oil on their muscles” and who killed more people were often asked. When he returned to the fold in Expendables 2, he said they treated him like a newbie, teaching him “how to load a gun again” and “how you punch someone,” though Arnold quickly put them back in their place, proving he hadn’t lost a step.
Schwarzenegger turned his attention to Terry Crews, complimenting him on his increased muscle size and definition. Crews responded by doing the pec dance. Arnold continued, asking him about his body fat percentage. He guessed six percent, to which Crews corrected “No, it’s 4.5%”
Crews was no slouch in the joke department either – when he was talking about the films of Schwarzenegger and Stallone being inspirational to him and his teammates during his 7 year stint in the NFL, he explained that “I’m from Flint, Michigan. I should be in Jail.” He attributed part of the American dream to them, the inspiration he took from their films and their bodies being the reason why he was in shape today.
Speaking of bodies, Stallone addressed the current crop of action actors as having “velcro-muscles,” that is, stars who are helped out by special effects, lighting tricks, and CGI that help them pack on impressive size, whereas he and Schwarzenegger had to spend their whole lives in the gym pumping iron.
There was enough spoken gold here to go on for pages, but to wrap it up, let’s turn back to the actual film – Stallone gave us this basic rundown, presented here in my words, from my notes, based on what he told us:
The Expendables are mercenaries with a real sense of brotherhood, but no real families. They start off in a place like Burma or Nepal in the middle of a situation. There is a surprise and they meet up with mercenaries. They get kind of blackmailed by Bruce Willis to go on “an easy mission” and go up against a whole bunch of real bad dudes. Bruce, Arnold, and [Stallone] all end up coming together at the end for an amazing climax. There is choreography of ducking under firing guns in live time. We have three different guys with three different styles, plus all the other Expendables, and Chuck Norris. It’s really quite amazing and you’re in for a tremendous ride.
Stallone also lavished praise on JCVD saying “he just has it.” He acknowledged the ups and downs of Van Damme’s career, but once you’ve had the “star” it’s just a matter to reignite it. He says JCVD is doing six foot leaps like he never left – we’re going to be surprised by JCVD and he’ll be amazing.
I mean, really, this has gone on long enough. It was a great panel and I’ve only cracked the surface. Follow us on twitter @RejectNation and @RobertFure for live tweeting of panels and more insider jokes and stories!
Oh – and some breaking news: Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually trying to move Twins 2 forward. It would be about triplets. How’s that for a bombshell?
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