There’s a Chinese production getting underway for something called MAKESHIFT SQUAD. It’s getting billed as “The Asian Expendables,” which, full stop, I’m into this. THE EXPENDABLES was a great idea and a delightful film. Plus, there’s always an opportunity for something utterly brilliant and poignant like the Mickey Rourke monologue that punched waaay out of its weight class in the first EXPENDABLES. I loved all those cats getting together and chewing scenery, but holy crap that monologue was something. So, you’re saying you want to take that concept and run it with some of the best martial arts action stars out there? Yes, please.
Who’s in line to participate? Iko Uwais for starters. He, Gareth Evans and Yayan Ruhian have totally set the bar for action films with THE RAID films. I caught KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE over the weekend. It was decent. It was lovely to see JCVD back in front of the camera and there’s a credit sequence that is just sublime. But, it wasn’t RAID-level action. Gut-wrenching, skin-shredding, face-searing POWER! Iko Uwais may be thrilling with his visually devastating silat practice, but his charisma is the real force. That’s what hooks me in THE RAID 2. That’s been true for him since MERANTAU, which you totally need to see if you haven’t.
Tony Jaa (ONG-BAK, MUAY THAI WARRIOR) is also in the mix. Jackie Chan once recommended that dude for a gig because he felt Jaa was “the most well-rounded of all action stars.” Jackie Chan said that. Last year, Jaa was in SKIN TRADE with Dolph Lundgren and looked strong. He was also “Kiet” in FURIOUS 7.
Who else is in the mix? Tiger Chen, a student of legendary choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping. I saw him last in Keanu Reeves’ most recent directorial effort MAN OF TAI CHI. And y’all, it’s good stuff. Then we’ve got Angelababy from INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE where she played the Chinese pilot. She was also in RISE OF THE LEGEND from Corey Yuen in 2014.
Gary Mak is presently attached to direct. I don’t know too much about him, but his IMDB credits tell me he was involved with something called SDU: SEX DUTIES UNIT. This is the synopsis from Wikipedia:
“The Special Duties Unit (SDU) is an elite paramilitary tactical unit of the Hong Kong Police Force and is considered one of the world’s finest in its role. But being the best carries its own burdens. Like everyone else, they go through troubles with love, with family and with their jobs. And sometimes they get horny. This touching story is about Special Duties Unit Team B and their trip to Macau for a weekend of unadulterated debauchery.”
Being the best carries its own burdens? That sounds perfectly insane. At the least Mak sounds like he’s capable of the right sort of joyous irreverence you need for a production like this.
Obviously this could all get a bit sideways as you get into the pragmatic side of filmmaking like aligning windows of availability and all that, but, for now, just hold on. Filming is looking to start next year, so there’s time to get this right. Who else should they add to the line up? I’m hoping they get a baldy in the mix, because I really like it when guys like Jason Statham make the cut. It does a lot good for my self-image. Maybe Jason Statham could just be in this one?
SOURCE: Film Combat Syndicate