Expendables 2: This Time It’s Personal
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Yu Nan, and Bruce Willis, “The Expendables 2” arrives in theaters on August 17.
From Sylvester Stallone and a powerhouse line-up of the biggest action-adventure superstars from around the world – never before seen together in one film — comes the next chapter in the “Expendables” saga. Reunited for what they think should be a quick, in-and-out mission, this tight-knit band of old-school mercenaries are about to find themselves at the brink of global disaster . . .and driven to extract their own brand of up-close and personal vengeance.
It looks like an easy paycheck for these skilled combat vets. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and confronting an unexpected threat: six tons of weapons-grade plutonium, enough to change the balance of power in the world.
But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve up to the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. That is done the “Expendables” way….
Directed by Simon West from a screenplay by Richard Wenk and Sylvester Stallone and a story by Ken Kaufman & David Agosto and Richard Wenk, “The Expendables 2” is produced by Avi Lerner, Kevin King-Templeton, Danny Lerner and Les Weldon. Jon Feltheimer, Jason Constantine, Eda Kowan, Basil Iwanyk and Guymon Casady serve as Executive Producers along with Danny Dimbort, Boaz Davidson and Trevor Short.
With this second installment of “The Expendables,” co-screenwriter and star Sylvester Stallone gives audiences an opportunity to appreciate this now rare breed like never before- assembling a group of the biggest, bravest and most badass action stars of all time. Stallone’s aim with “The Expendables 2” was to bring thrill-seeking audiences exactly what they’ve been missing: that all-American, combustible combo of high-velocity adventure and rollicking, relatable heroes who, no matter the costs, are always ready to throw down for what really matters.
To accomplish this, he wanted to expand the already unprecedented team of blockbuster icons whose rapport formed the heart of the first film. It was a chance to bring together every single one of the larger-than-life personalities who built the great American action film as its own massive genre. And it was a chance to give these quintessential rough-hewn renegades a mission that would become a breakneck, personal quest for justice.
“The Expendables 2” not only brings back the star-studded action hero cast of the original, but also expands upon it, adding both more beloved icons and some fresh faces from a new generation of rising stars. Each arrived on set highly trained and ready for anything.
Producer Kevin King-Templeton muses, “Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sly Stallone in the same fight scene? I think audiences have been waiting for that for 30 years. This movie has almost every gun ever made in it and every explosion you could imagine. But at the end we wanted to have Sly and Jean-Claude get together for a classic hand-to-hand battle. All the technology is gone. All the hardware is gone. It’s just the two guys going at it.”
Over twenty-five years ago, Dolph Lundgren went head-to-head against Stallone as Russian fighter Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Now he returns in “The Expendables 2” in the role of volatile Gunner Jensen, who has nearly been undone by too much adrenaline, drinking and combat stress.
With this unparalleled collection of some of the hardest-hitting, highest-kicking, down-and-dirtiest stars ever seen on screen all gathered to tell the story of “The Expendables 2,” it had everyone on set thinking about just what these remarkably diverse stars share in common – what makes for an action hero?
Certainly they each possess their own version of mad skills, tough-talking attitudes, savvy senses of humor and drive for one kind of glory or another, but it seems something more ties them together under the skin – perhaps it’s an ability to make audiences believe they will stand up for basic justice and righteousness no matter what mayhem comes their way.
With much of the film’s intricately choreographed action unfolding in urban spaces or out in the elements, “The Expendables 2” filmed for 14 intense weeks, mostly in the spectacular and rarely seen Eastern European nation of Bulgaria, as well as in Hong Kong and New Orleans.
Situated in southeast Europe, bordering Romania, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Turkey and the Black Sea, Bulgaria offered the filmmakers a wide variety of practical film locations – from lush, densely-forested mountain ranges to picturesque Balkan villages untouched by time.
One of the film’s biggest set pieces took place at Plovdiv Airport, Bulgaria’s second largest, near the famed Bulgarian ski resorts of Bansko and Pamporovo, much to the delight of local residents and airport employees. The filmmakers loved the idea of choreographing chaotic, large-scale action in a place where no one is expecting it- a familiar, urban environment rather than a jungle or desert or someplace audiences would normally associate with mercenaries. In addition to shooting across the Bulgarian landscape, the production also utilized the stages and massive outdoor sets at the versatile Nu Boyana Film Studios near Bulgaria’s capitol city Sofia, where, during a brief break, the former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger presented the current Prime Minister of Bulgaria with the sword of Conan the Barbarian.
One thing about the sequel was always for sure – it would be done true to the trademark style of the original, serving as an equally fresh take on vintage American badass action as it was in the days before rampant CGI pushed fight choreography into something more fantastical.
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