Sylvester Stallone is the master at making the most out of simplicity. So good is this action legend at taking a basic idea and making it exist forever, that eventually he tries to give said idea a certain degree of gravitas. How does he do this you say?
Take Rocky Balboa. In the first film, this lovable schlub just wants to have a girlfriend and go the distance in a dream title fight. By the fourth film in this wondrous saga, Rocky is defending America on Russian soil and beating a fighter who (realistically) would have KO'd the Italian Stallion in 1 round. In fact, Rocky was almost KO'd in one round, however, the referee let it go on. How's that for Sylvester Stallone making the most of something simple?
He did the same thing with Rambo. In the first film, John Rambo was a simple man who just wanted to find common ground with some old veteran buddies. In the second film, he was refighting and winning the Vietnam war for us. In the third film, Rambo was working with a group that (unbeknownst to Sylvester Stallone at the time) would eventually become Al Qaeda. What is Rambo 4 but a hyper-violent tone poem?
Which brings us to the final Expendables, which is officially happening at Lionsgate. Okay, Stallone hasn't exactly made his band of merry mercenaries stars in Apocalypse Now. Sure, he's pulled certain plot points from the headlines, but by and large, The Expendable films have been fun, action romps that have steered free of politics. Only time will tell if these films will eventually take on some political undertones that we don't see today.
The set-up for these films is extremely simple and one that could go on indefinitely. A CIA operative brings together a group of action legends to handle various jobs. Rather than make the movie the thing, the thing here is always the cast. With the first film, everybody marveled at all the action icons Stallone was able to bring into this new world. Now, by film number four (the one many say is the final Expendables) we've come to expect it. So, that is why we have put together all the action icons, legends and superstars that should be brought in for the big Expendables 4 finale.
As much as we want to see a Tango & Cash reunion, putting Kurt Russell in this film wouldn't simply be some 80s cash grab. As of late, one of the best action stars has seen a career resurgence due in large part to his teaming up with Quentin Tarantino. Simply look at Death Proof and The Hateful Eight to see that this guy, even in his mid-60s, still has it. What would his role be? Does it even matter? Just the thought of having Kurt Russell join The Expendables seems like a grand idea. In fact, it could inspire future action icons everywhere.
Stallone and Travolta haven't been in a film together, but Stallone did direct Travolta in Staying Alive (the sequel to Saturday Night Fever). So, why hasn't one of America's greatest action icons been in one of The Expendables movies? With films like the Killing Season and Bolt on his resume, it isn't like Travolta is above doing some genre laden (ie. fun) material like a final Expendables film. Why not have John load up and help save the world? Considering how long Travolta and Stallone have been around, they could spend half the movie lampooning their careers. Heck, Travolta's role in Saturday Night Fever makes him an action star based on that alone.
Where has this action star been? Well, it seems that after landing a minor part on Dallas in the 1970s, this action icon pretty much worked non-stop til about 2002. Most of the films were of the action variety with the the American Ninja and Avenging Force movies being his biggest. How in the world has Dudikoff not been in an Expendables movie, yet? The guy was even in a TV show called Cobra! Okay, it may have had nothing to do with the Stallone vehicle but there's still some synergy there. Sure, Dudikoff might be a bit long in the tooth now but so is Stallone so why not give a part him in The Expendables 4? If it is the final Expendables it is something Dudikoff has to be in.
An action icon like Seagal has always sorta been the black sheep of the action movie business. He just seemed like a guy who wanted to do his own thing. And for awhile, with films like Above the Law, Out for Justice and Under Siege, he had carved a niche as something of a thinking man's vigilante. A modern day Einstein among action stars. Why not get him in The Expendables 4? There's already talk that Seagal might be in this film. Why not cast him as some monk-like figure that Sylvester Stallone corrals to take up one last fight? This could set him up to be in Expendables 5 and then suddenly Seagal is hotter than he was in the 1990s.
It seems that this action legend has already been tapped by Sylvester Stallone to be a part of The Expendables Franchise. Jackie Chan said no because he doesn't want to be just another action actor in a big movie with a bunch of action actors. That's fair, but it's also short-sighted on Chan's part. He complains that he doesn't want to be on screen for 5 minutes. Well, if he does a bunch of these films that could end up being 15 or 20 minutes. On top of that, what if his character hits big and it spans a spin-off film? Look Jackie, just be in these films already. Harrison Ford (as Han Solo) has been a character in every Star Wars movie and it took him 40 years to get his own film. So get over yourself and be in the final Expendables!
You might laugh at this entry but Carl Weathers deserves to be in The Expendables franchise. With a film named Action Jackson to his name, the first 4 Rocky films in his back pocket, a spin-off movie that also bares his character's name in the title, how is it that Carl Weathers has not become one of the world's biggest action stars? Factor in that he could probably get some screen time with Arnold Schwarzenegger and you'd have a Predator reunion for crying out loud! What sort of role could Carl Weathers play? Perhaps he could be a villain? Maybe he can be an aging mercenary that is activated to help out Sly and the boys? Whatever the case this action legend needs to be in The Expendables 4.
As someone with an action pedigree that stretches back to the 1980s, the fact that this action icon hasn't been in one of these movies is a crime. With titles like No Retreat, No Surrender 2, Rapid Fire, Fast Getaway 2, etc., littering her resume, Rothrock would add the right kind of female touch to this series. She's tough, she's got chops (literally), and the fact that she made 6 movies in 2016 alone means that she can more than hold her own with any of the dudes in this cast.
"You can't see me!!" Well, we'd sure like to see you in the final Expendables, John! Imagine Sylvester Stallone somehow referencing that the way he referenced Arnold Schwarzenegger's political aspirations in the first Expendables movie? It would be quick, it would be concise, and it would be HUGE for this franchise. Lets be honest, a lot of young people see these films as being filmed with "older" stars. Throw in John Cena and suddenly The Expendables series reaches out passed the millennials to those young kids (think ages 5-10) who have Cena at the top of their action legends lists. Now, if only Stallone can negotiate with Vince McMahon.
Alright, Mr. T may be 65 but that doesn't mean action legends get put out to pasture, right? With a pedigree that includes Rocky 3, The A-Team and a stint as Hulk Hogan's tag team partner in the first WrestleMania, putting this guy in The Expendables 4 is a slam dunk. Sly could certainly write in some one liners that play up his Clubber Lang character from Rocky 3. On top of that, if Carl Weathers makes his way into The Expendables 4 we could finally see them squash their cinematic beef from Rocky 3. This says nothing of giving Mr. T an action role that reminds people that before Mike Tyson, he was indeed the baddest man on the planet. The final Expendables could be the jewel in this series' crown. In a film that sees action stars united for the common good (and some for bad), Mr. T fits right in.
Isn't it time this action icon make an appearance in another Sylvester Stallone vehicle? Over the years, the guy has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Now, I am not glossing over the problems he's had or some of the awful things he's said, I'm merely looking at him as actor. His biggest movie was Rocky 3, right? And he was really good in it. Why not have him grab an M-16 and make war Expendables style? Isn't it only fair? This guy is an American institution. His work in professional wrestling is unparalleled. He was John Cena before Cena existed (which could be touched on if Cena were to join this cast!). His on screen legacy can't be No Holds Barred, Mr. Nanny, and the an appalling use of the N-word, can it? Hulk Hogan in the final Expendables has a nice ring doesn't it?
Before you laugh and say, "DeNiro is a serious actor, he's not an action icon," let me just just give you 3 words: Rocky and Bullwinkle. Look, there was a time when Robert DeNiro was above films like The Expendables. That was what? 30 years ago? As Grudge Match showed everyone, DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone have real chemistry together. These two graduates of Roger Corman's Film School are BOTH master thespians. You can laugh at that idea all you want but Stallone wouldn't be the icon he is, he wouldn't have attended the American College of Switzerland and the University of Miami (obtaining a BA degree) if he wasn't. DeNiro could play a great villain in these films. Or, perhaps he could play Stallone's long lost brother whose gone afoul of the law? The final Expendables needs this, Bob. And for those who think he isn't one of the world's foremost action stars? Have you seen Righteous Kill? Taxi Driver? Or, a little movie called The Godfather 2?
With a career that has had its share of ups and downs, Vin Diesel has carved out his own career path as possibly the coolest of the action legends. As a result, this thinking man with muscles owes Sylvester Stallone a debt of gratitude. Stallone broke down doors for buff actors before there were even doors to smash. Vin Diesel could very easily slip into a bad guy role in The Expendables 4. Maybe he and Stallone are related in some way? Perhaps, Stallone's Barney Ross shows the younger Diesel the error of his ways? Or, maybe Diesel is just icy bad and he gets blown up or something?
Wouldn't it be great to see Keanu Reeves take some of that Speed and John Wick action sensibility, and put it to extreme use in The Expendables 4? This could really elevate the final Expendables. There are a bevy of action roles that he could play that would further bolster him among the action legends. Perhaps this action star starts off as somebody on the side of Sylvester Stallone and Co. and then he murders one of the Expendables? Maybe the fourth film in this franchise takes on the idea of mystery dinner theater? Members of The Expendables are being offed. It's up to Stallone's character to figure out who the killer is. Reeves could play a character helping him find the killer. Imagine the standoff when Barney Ross finds out that the person helping him is really working against him? This idea practically writes itself.
Look, young people loved this action icon in Guardians of the Galaxy. He's also going to be in the upcoming Avengers film, the Blade Runner sequel, and he's a beloved character from the WWE. Does one of the biggest action stars need any more of a reason to be in the final Expendables movie?
Benicio Del Toro
With a recent turn in Star Wars VIII, Sicario, Guardians of the Galaxy and just about every good movie from the 1990s to his credit, this actor should be in The Expendables 4 by proxy alone. If you doubt that Del Toro could hold his own with Sly and Co., you need look no further than William Friedkin's The Hunted. That is an action movie of the highest order and Del Toro nails it. Add to this that Del Toro is brings credibility to every project he graces (we're going to ignore The Wolfman), and putting him in this final Expendables installment isn't just necessary, it's good business.
By and large Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's acting career hasn't been filled with action movies. He's got a sliver of synergy with Arnold Schwarzenegger in that he's rumored to be joining the cast of The Predator. He's been in movies like Southpaw that have action, but they aren't straight up action movies like anything resembling The Expendables franchise. So other than the fact that he's a celebrity, why add 50 Cent to this list? Well, 50 Cent led a life before making it big that was filled action. That alone gets him on the action legends list. We have a feeling he'd do just fine holding his own with the cast of The Expendables 4.
D'Onofrio brings acting gravitas to everything he does much like Benicio Del Toro. What D'Onofrio, no stranger to just about every genre of movie has going for him, is the fact that he really inhabits every role he plays. The easy pick would be to make this action icon (or action star... whatever you want to call him) a villain that Sylvester Stallone and his mercenaries have to dispose of. The better call would be to make him part of the team in the final Expendables. Or, maybe he's bad but has a change of heart and becomes part of the team? However it happens, no other actor on the planet could make a role in The Expendables 4 more interesting. It's high time one of the most underrated action stars flexes a bit more of that action muscle.
How is it that this walking advertisement for complete fear has never been in an Expendables film? Vinnie Jones could kill someone simply using his icicle laden glare. Imagine throwing him in with Sylvester Stallone and the other action legends and seeing how he holds his own? With films like Snatch, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels on his resume, this actor certainly knows his way around bullets, blood and bombs. He could play a litany of characters but none would be more interesting than Jones simply being himself.
Okay, for a young action icon this guy has a pretty solid pedigree. He's been Conan, he's playing Aquaman in two different movies, and he's literally resurrecting the character of Eric Draven in a reboot of The Crow. Now, before you cut down any of those movies (and really how can you?), the guy also acted with Sylvester Stallone in the straight-to-video, Bullet to the Head. Let's be honest, Batman v. Superman really didn't give Jason Momoa a lot of time to show his stuff. A 5 minute part in The Expendables 4 could be just what is needed to show this action star has arrived. The final Expendables is calling, Jason... are you going to answer the call?
This thespian might seem like an odd choice for such a testosterone laden film, but Christian Slater is right up there with the best action legends. First off his career is surging due to his work as the title character in Mr. Robot. However, Slater worked with John Woo in Broken Arrow, he kicked ass in True Romance, he gunslinged in Young Guns II, and, among other things, he was also in Bullet to the Head with Sylvester Stallone. At the very least, Slater could bring something very different to a final Expendables film. This action star would bring a temperance that films like this don't usually have.
Mike Tyson and The Expendables 4 is something that has been a long time in materializing. First of all, Tyson was at one point known as the baddest man on the planet. That alone puts him at the top with the action legends list. However, with small but memorable roles in movies like The Hangover, Ip Man 3 and an animated TV show bearing his name, the guy has shown he has chops. With an aura that still instills high amounts of fear in just about everyone, Mike Tyson could add some much needed credibility to this franchise. Now, imagine if he went against type and played a good guy in the final Expendables?
Frank Stallone - Isn't it time that Sylvester Stallone's younger brother stepped out into the spotlight as an action icon in his own right? The guy has been in a bunch of the Rocky movies, he's done a bunch of action TV shows, and he showed amazing dramatic chops with Mickey Rourke in Barfly. Why doesn't he play a Fredo-like role in The Expendables 4? This guy has done a lot of soundtrack work. He's carved out a whole niche for himself in the shadows. It's high time he make some real noise and shows he's a real action star in one of his bro's films!
When I was compiling list I had to check this entry a few times. How is it this action icon has not been in an Expendables movies before? Doesn't it seem like somewhere along the way this grizzled actor would've made some kind of an appearance? The man has been in over 300 action films. Many of these films have titles like Bullet and Bad Ass. He was the star of Machete for crying out loud! The man is an action institution and he could very well lead The Expendables franchise should Sylvester Stallone decide to hand the baton. Forget action stars, Danny Trejo is one of the biggest stars. Period.
Dafoe, like Danny Trejo, seems like he would've been in one of these films as some point, right? Having played the Green Goblin in Spider-Man, appeared in John Wick, to Live and Die in LA, and a host of other action-centric films, his placement among this kick-ass cast seems almost mandatory. As with some of the actors on this list, it might seem like he could be a little old to run with these big dogs. Well, if you have seen Paul Schrader's recent film Dog Eat Dog, you will see that Dafoe's bite is just as big as any other action legends or action stars. The final Expendables NEEDS him.
Okay, it is here that one's concerns about an actor's age could be extremely valid. That said, as far as action icons go, Burt Reynolds doesn't need to fire a bullet, throw a punch, or deliver a kick to retain that status. He could kick ass with that big mouth of his. The man practically defined action with films like The Dukes of Hazzard, Big City Blues, City Heat and Sharky's Machine. He would most likely take an elder-statesmen role but doesn't mean he wouldn't do anything. He could work with Sylvester Stallone or his enemies. Reynolds could make a quick part memorable and find himself appearing in a (possible?) Expendables 5!
The addition of Tom Berenger to this cast might elicit smiles from people reading this. However, there was a time when masculinity in this country was spelled T-O-M B-E-R-E-N-G-E-R. With roles in Platoon, The Substitute, and the Sniper series, Berenger has shown that he has the action chops to get things done. Roles in movies like Inception have displayed how relevant he is. However, it is his work in the Major League movies that show just how well he can work in an ensemble. Action icons may come and go but Tom Berenger, and his action legend pals, will be here forever.
Liotta might not be at the top of the action icons list because, in truth, he is more of a dramatic actor. When this guy does do action (and he merges it with drama) watch out! Roles in films like Goodfellas and Smokin' Aces have helped to define him in Hollywood. However, one need to look no further than Narc, or even his voice work in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, to see that Liotta brings an unparalleled intensity to every role. Imagine him as the Murdock in Sly's A-Team and suddenly, in an ensemble cast, Liotta's casting suddenly seems nothing short of inspired. The final Expendables is really shaping up isn't it?
The 1980s are back! With everybody nostalgic for everything from that era, isn't it time that Nielsen and Sylvester Stallone make another big screen appearance together? She was such an ice queen in Rocky IV, it'd be really cool to see her let her hair down in an Expendables 4. We could talk about which side she would be on but does any of that really matter? Imagine the fun Stallone and Nielsen could have making "wink wink" comments about Rocky IV, Cobra, Red Sonya, and their past relationship. Not only is she on the action legends list, she's an action star and pioneer!
Stallone and Rutger Hauer went toe to toe in Nighthawks. Why not have Hauer and Stallone team up to stop some international bad guys in the final Expendables. Or, Hauer could be the bad guy in that film and maybe that is the more interesting way to go? It just seems since Stallone loves to pack these movies with action icons (aka his friends), why doesn't he bring his old nemesis from the 1970s into the fold?
Winkler and Stallone both starred in The Lords of Flatbush. This film predates Happy Days and Winkler even says that he based his portrayal of The Fonz on Stallone's portrayal of Stanley in Flatbush. That film came out 43 years ago. Isn't it high time we got these two icons of pop culture on the big screen once again? I am not really sure what Henry Winkler would do here. However, if Stallone dressed him in a leather jacket that would be good enough for me. I don't know if Winkler is considered an action star, but there was a time he was considered the coolest guy in the world.