Comic-Con 2012: ‘The Expendables 2′ Panel
If we weren't excited for 'The Expendables 2' panel at Comic-Con 2012 last week, we definitely were after its new poster started making the rounds. It also meant that Hall H in San Diego would be packed with eager fans and journalists alike, waiting to hear what Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger had to say about the upcoming flick.
Sadly, Chuck Norris and Bruce Willis couldn't attend this year's panel, but all the aforementioned were there along with Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren to provide some insights into the action-packed movie, which hits theaters August 17.
Author's Note: I gotta be honest - I barely remember 'The Expendables.' I went with a bunch of friends (were you there?) and had so many Jack and Cokes before that now it's just a blur. I remember cheering at Schwarzenegger's cameo, giggling at Mickey Rourke's endless close-up soliloquies and I'm pretty sure Jason Statham is named Christmas.
But the movie made a boatload of money and now Sylvester Stallone is back with 'Expendables 2.' Its Hall H panel opened with a trailer that is essentially a roll call of action cinema's greatest heroes intercut with images of explosions and fisticuffs.
"You're terminated," the former Governor of California is told. "In your dreams," he responds and, hot damn, it is so great to see Arnold back on screen acting like a tough guy. Later in the footage he's killing someone with a machine gun. Even better. When Dolph Lundgren is introduced all he does is grunt. When newcomer Chuck Norris' name appears, he grins and the Comic-Con crowd goes bananas.
After the teaser, Sly explains how his action films are different. This isn't some of the sci-fi, superhero action, this is "male-pattern badness." After this, we get walloped with a Sly sizzle reel. Images from all of his films (including 'Over the Top') are intercut with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. It's the manliest thing ever seen at Comic-Con.
Sly then introduced some of his cohorts. Terry Crews came out and jumped up on the dais. (Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren were a little more mellow.) The the lights dimmed for the main event.
It was an Arnold sizzle reel. My God. He really is incredible. His scenes destroy Sly's and we're reminded he is among cinema's greatest icons ever. It's like Chaplin and him. The Governator came out and I heard this strange voice screeching in delight. It was my voice! Maybe it was being stuck in Hall H all day, but suddenly I was having a fanboy meltdown.
Arnold and Sly quickly joked about their longterm competitive relationship. "We often looked to see who had more oil in his muscles" Schwarzenegger said. Because, that's a thing that only Schwarzenegger could say.
'Expendables 2' was his first real movie after 8 years. On the first week there were people who were bending over backward to help Arnold out. "We know you've been out of the business, here's how you kick. But they soon realized I didn't lose it all." On why he makes a movie like 'Expendables 2,' Schwarzenegger said, "I can take a knife and kill a guy and cut his head off - all of the things you wish you could do when you are in politics."
Sly told a funny story about the time he first met Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Golden Globes. He thought "no one with that kind of name is going to stick around, even though he was the size of a table." Arnold remembered that Sly's mother said he looked like a piano mover. Arnold also revealed that, when he first came to America, Sly was his English teacher. "Yo!" Sly responded. After some laughs he suggested that, with everyone on stage, they should break out a spelling bee.
A fan asked if all 5 of the panelists got in a fight, who would win? Sly was quick to quip that it was whoever had the best lawyer, before saluting true athletes Randy Coture and Terry Crews. He alluded to moments in the film when Coture was "sending stunt guys around by air mail," and when Crews "used one guy's head like a banjo."
Another fan asked Sly what was his favorite Arnold movie. He immediately shot back with 'Junior,' then said Arnold loves 'Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.' He then remarked that 'T2 changed everything.'
Another fan, dressed in Conan regalia, approached the mic. "Crush your enemies," Arnold suggested. The place went friggin' bananas.
In summing up his current workout routine, Sly added that "the more injured I get on a film the better it does. Hopefully I'll get beheaded on the next one." With the Hall H audience eating out of their hands, we then saw a scene from the film.
It was a shootout at the airport. A bunch of people are killing one another. The Expendables smash glass and strut in. Bullets are flying. A baddie is taken out from a sniper. It's Chuck Norris! The Ennio Morricone stinger from 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' is heard.
Sly, Arnold and Bruce Willis are crouched down. Sly runs off. Arnold wants to follow. He turns to Bruce: "I'll be back." "You've been back enough," Bruce counters. "I'll be back." "Yippie Ki-Yay," Arnold responds.
It's asinine. But it's also great. 'The Expendables 2' hits theaters August 17. Now we can't wait.