The Expendables franchise has been full of ridiculous action and the return of tons of 80’s and 90’s action stars but there’s still a ton of actors we’d love to see in the next entry (if it hopefully happens) and beyond. So here are 12 picks, in no particular order, of who should pick up a machine gun and blast away along with Sly and the gang.
Action Claims to Fame: Highlander, Mortal Kombat
Christopher Lambert is probably best known for his turn as the immortal Connor McLeod in the Highlander series and playing Raiden in arguably the greatest video game movie of all time, Mortal Kombat. Lambert also appeared in a slew of action movies in the 80’s and 90’s that frequently show up in those “10 Movie Action Collection” DVDs that show up at Wal-Mart, like The Road Killers, where he plays the father of a family stalked by a crazed biker gang. Lambert’s biggest recent role was a recurring guest role on NCIS: Los Angeles. I could definitely see Lambert filling in the void left by JCVD’s Jean Villain.
Action Claim to Fame: American Ninja, Avenging Force
Michael Dudikoff arrived on the scene at the peak of 80’s “ninja madness” and starred in American Ninja 1, 2 and 4 along with a bunch of other direct to video action movies like Bounty Hunters. He’s been kind of quiet since the late 90’s but he did recently dip his toe back in to old school action by appearing uncredited in Olympus Has Fallen. I could see him slotting in somewhere similar to Scott Adkins from EX2.
Action Claim to Fame: Ong Bak, Furious 7, The Protector
After coming back to his senses after almost going insane during the Ong Bak sequels, Tony Jaa is back with a vengeance, appearing in a sequel to The Protector, fighting Paul Walker in Furious 7 and, most important to The Expendables franchise, he teamed up with Dolph Lundgren in the movie Skin Trade. With Jet Li seemingly not having any time for the sequels, Tony Jaa could easily take his place on the team as their resident marital arts expert.
Action Claim to Fame: Machete, Con Air, Heat, From Dusk Till Dawn
The fact that Danny Trejo isn’t already in The Expendables is baffling, since he’s made it known he will appear in almost any movie, even student films to help them out, and he’s the perfect match for The Expendables brand of crazy. If Trejo showed up in an Expendables movie literally as Machete, no one would question it. The only thing is that we might reach peak knife expert levels as we already have Statham, Mickey Rourke and Wesley Snipes established as knife experts but machetes aren’t really knives, right?
Action Claim to Fame: Undefeatable, Righting Wrongs, Rage and Honor
The Asylum is usually playing catch up when they make their Mockbuster rip-offs of the various summer blockbusters but they were bizarrely on point for their take on Expendables, Mercenaries, casting Cynthia Rothrock as an Amanda Walleresque commander of a female mercenary team that included Zoe Bell, Kristanna Loken and Vivica A. Fox. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, Rothrock was basically the female Van Damme, using her marital arts skills in a ton of ridiculous action movies (including one that had the greatest fight scene in cinema history). We got Ronda Rousey in Expendables 3 but she’s not really true to the spirit of old school action like someone like Rothrock would bring.
Action Claim to Fame: Under Siege, Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, etc.
The elephant in the room for The Expendables franchise, Seagal is the person everyone wants the most but whether because of his ego or because he’s been filming 30 movies in Bulgaria, it just can’t seem to come together. We’ve had some incredible action movie fanservice, especially in the airport shootout of Expendables 2, but the franchise won’t feel complete until Seagal is Akidoing someone alongside Sly and Arnold.
Action Claim to Fame: Predator, Rocky, Action Jackson
Just like Danny Trejo, it’s shocking that Carl Weathers has not appeared in any of The Expendables movies. Working with both Sly and Arnold, Carl Weathers also got the chance to show his solo action chops with the classic Action Jackson (his character’s name is literally Action, c’mon!). He’s appeared most recently in more comedy roles, like his self-deprecating turn in Arrested Development but we need Apollo Creed back in action, if only to blow action fan’s minds by doing the Predator handshake with Sly.
Action Claim to Fame: Terminator 2, The Marine, Zero Tolerance
The Expendables has had some fun turning action heroes into villains, with turns by Eric Roberts, Van Damme and Mel Gibson, but they need one of the greatest action movie villains of all time for the next entry, Robert Patrick. Obviously best known as playing the T-1000 in Terminator 2, Patrick has been an absolute workhorse for the last 20 years, appearing on TV in The X-Files, Last Resort and more and movies like The Marine, which is very much on the level of wonderful insanity that The Expendables movies operate on.
Action Claim to Fame: Aliens, Terminator, The Rock, Tombstone
Michael Biehn has been part of some of the greatest action movies of the 80’s and 90’s but for some reason, he never really got the chance to break out as a solo action star. He seems like he’s got the perfect self-aware attitude to bring to The Expendables as he appeared in both the Planet Terror portion of Grindhouse and voiced one of the greatest video game characters in recent memory with Rex “Power” Colt in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, which feels like what would happen if you set an Expendables movie in the future.
Action Claim to Fame: Alien, Aliens, Copycat
One of the greatest female action heroes of all time, it’s been rumored that Sly has been trying to get Sigourney Weaver into The Expendables but we need it to happen. Weaver has been appearing in what seems like every other movie in recent years and also a wide range of movies, everything from Paul to Cabin in the Woods to Cedar Rapids and I could see Weaver in almost any role in a new Expendables. She could be a bad ass mercenary acquaintance of the team, the next CIA liaison for the team or even the team’s first female adversary. That “Expendabelles” spin-off thing will probably never happen but Weaver deserves to be in the franchise proper.