‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Backtrace is actually quite entertaining for what it is. Just don’t expect this to be a full on Stallone action film. It’s not. In fact save for the opening and the conclusion, little action actually happens – this is a thriller about a bank robber and missing money that Sly is actually only in a few scenes throughout. At the core of the film is a great performance from Matthew Modine and the film never outstays it’s welcome. It’s just missing that ‘Something special’ to push it over the top. Good VOD offering…
Best Bit: Modine is ace
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream
If You Liked this Try: Escape Plan, Bullet To The Head, Sabotage
Phil Hobden is the former Film Editor & Writer for renowned martial arts focused COMBAT MAGAZINE in the UK. He is also a filmmaker in his own right, having produced two cult Independent action films in LEFT FOR DEAD and TEN DEAD MEN. He was the host for the award nominated Filmsploitation podcast for 4 years, currently co-hosts Ross And Phil Talk Movies and is a writer/editor for his own blog Phil’s Quick Capsule Review…
Josh has seen loads of films. Mostly Disney. Phil has seen loads of films that Josh should have seen but hasn’t. Join Phil as he takes Josh through an education in movies – Film by Film. This episode Phil educates Josh on: Tango & Cash (1989)
Films Discussed: The Heat, Tango & Cash, Cliffhanger
Hosted Phil Hobden (Ross And Phil Talk Movies) and Josh Morris (The Smoking Lamb)
Boy, do these guys ever expend. In the first instalment, director Sylvester Stallone expended with the opportunity to over-glorify the violence in exchange for a bunch of talking. In The Expendables 2, director Simon West ramps up the energy and voltage for a reasonably satisfactory outing. And now, the climax – Expendables 3 – and a director who’s so fresh faced, he directs as if he’s watching Expendables 2 on an iPad and pausing it every five seconds and trying to replicate the action. Almost any reason to sit through two hours of this shit is expended before the credits start. The tagline this time around screams “Never send a boy to do a man’s job”. As far as hiring directors go, it would seem that the movie can’t even take its own advice.
It seems unlikely that there’ll ever be an Expendables 4 – which, believe me is a great thing – but surely the movie studio knows better than to resign the franchise to the hell of a PG-13 rating? Okay it’s for a quick buck, but consider the long-term; anyone who’s too young to watch this movie unsupervised an adult will almost certainly want to revisit the previous R-rated outings. The previous, and best, two of the franchise are a hell of a lot more violent than this watered-down shite. So, who exactly does the MPAA and BBFC think they’re protecting, anyway? It’s all about the $$$, dummy.
Barney Ross (Stallone) and his innumerable Expendable team (collectively tallying in numbers roughly twenty-five times more than their combined brain cells) are totally shagged out and spent from rescuing Wesley Snipes from a prison train. He was imprisoned for tax evasion (lol). Now Barney feels as if they’re past it, and after a quick visit to Mogadishu (via every city known to man) they spot Mel Gibson shooting Somalians and realise that the main bad guy is still very much alive. Barney thought he was dead. But he’s not. And now they’ve been spotted. So Barney assembles a bunch of new recruits, including a woman – seemingly to deflect the PC crowd criticism – to go and kill Mel Gibson. And so they go, and they get kidnapped, except Barney who runs home. And then the old Expendable bunch go with Barney to kill Mel Gibson and free the new kids. With Antonio Banderas.
Christ, where to start? Okay, the script is packed full of awfully embarrassing dialogue and blatancy in its plotting. They rescue him, chat, try to kill him, chat some more, get kidnapped, get angry, get tooled up, get their mates, get even. Boring as shitehouse.
Next up: the direction. Or lack, thereof. Patrick Hughes’ direction is as inspired and exciting as his surname. It’s mediocre at the very best. In some areas, it’s very clear that characters are not driving their car or plane. Some of the green screen is choke-worthy. An entire monologue by Banderas, who’s standing still in an aircraft hanger, is so poorly framed in a medium close up that his prancing head frequently ducks in and out of shot. The camera is so desperate to look away at any hint of violence. The pacing is piss poor. Hughes is an awful director, and this could signal his last effort.
The characters. Piss poorly drawn, at best. There are some characters with literally nothing to do. Dolph Lundgren is one of them; consigned to be on the receiving end of a number of annoying character’s annoying dialogue. Jet Li – one of the world’s best martial artists – is given the two funniest lines of dialogue and chokes them down so that we cannot hear the punchline. He spends the rest of his time in a helicopter firing a machine gun. No punches, no kicks. And then there’s every other member of the So Solid Crew – all 10,000 of them – each equipped with approximately six seconds of rapid montage backstory (she, the bouncer – he, the … closet homosexual) that is quickly put to use in their generous 17 second flagship fight in the third act of the movie. Ohhh, look! He’s about to point the gun at the bad guy’s head and pull the trigger – BLAM! – camera cuts, not merely away, but to another scene where Jason StaaaayyyFAM is elbowing people in the tits, and, ohh.. here comes a neck break – KERRCCHHH:- CUT to Arnie choking down a stogie saying something funny like “Let’s go to da Choppah!” to the team, as the routine and artificially shite electronic timer counts down the building to explode.
The last act takes place somewhere in Russia. The first two acts take place in as many cities beginning with a consonant as it can cram in. There’s a whole section involving Kelsey Grammar where he and Stallone visit every single city in every country for some reason or another; either they’re recruiting tomorrow’s action heroes, or stopping a runaway train from crashing through the cinema. If there was ever a fourth instalment, they’d need to hop in a spaceship and start recceing far flung galaxies to find fresh squad members.
And this third act – the entire bunch of Expendables not particularly expending anything other than carbon dioxide as they hurriedly exasperate the “usual” shit with a plethora of masked bad guys. I mean, I think that should be plural, but it oh so easily could have been just the one stunt performer in the same mask. I dunno. We spend the movie wondering where the token second-in-command big bad guy who gets a nasty death is. He jumps out of a moving vehicle just as he’s required, to get pummelled by I-can’t-remember-who-in-a-PG-13-kinda-way. It’s shite.
There is but one saving grace about The Expendables 3. That is Mel Gibson. At a cool fiftysomething years old, he still commands the screen and the wrinkle factor. He doesn’t just chew the scenery as the bad guy; he swallows it whole, jiggles two fingers down his throat, vomits the movie back up and pisses the remains down the nearest drain. If there’s ever a reason to watch this rancid toss, then it’s Mel Gibson.
It was one of the biggest films of 2012, and finally delivered on the failed promise of the original Expendable movie. That’s right is the DVD release of The Expendables 2 and to celebrate we have the full transcript of the film press conference with the cast & crew…
Interviewer: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of Lionsgate I’m delighted to welcome you to this press conference for The Expendables 2. Will you join me in welcoming our guests today? They are Sylvester Stallone, Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Jason Statham, Mr. Dolph Lundgren, Mr. Scott Adkins, and Mr. Jean-Claude Van Damme.
I’m going to do one quick question to the top table and then we’re going to open it all to the floor. Guys, can I call you gentlemen, or alpha dogs, perhaps, this morning? I think that would be a good title for you.
You absolutely blew us away with the first film and it took something like $273m at the box office worldwide. How has the bar, in what ways has the bar, been significantly raised in The Expendables 2? Sly, could we start with you and then work our way?
Sylvester Stallone: Sure.
Interviewer: Thank you.
Sylvester Stallone: Real quickly, on the sequel you’ve lost the element of surprise, so you have to give the audience… Usually the first one you may not go very, very deep into character; second one you start to explore the character a bit more. But the odds that you can’t surprise them become, like I said, a lot heavier. So you have to work more and more to come up with some creative devices to keep the action flowing.
Interviewer: Arnold? How do you think the bar was raised?
Arnold: I was happy that I was asked again to be back.
Arnold: For me it was really interesting because one day you are making policy and trying to stimulate the economy and trying to fix the budget problem of the state. Or talking about inmates or educational issues and all those things. The next day you’re on a set and having a shoot out with Van Damme and with Sly, with Bruce Willis and all those guys.
This has been the interesting part about my life, it’s really interesting, right? To go from one to the other. I was very appreciative that Sly asked me again.
I think this movie is going to really blow everyone away, because there’s so much great action and funny scenes. The movie made me laugh a lot. It had a lot of terrific funny scenes in there, which is important when you have an action movie to have some comic relief.
I thought that everyone’s performance was great. I thought that the first one was almost impossible to top. But when you see this one you’ll agree that this one is even bigger and better than the first one. I think it’s going to be very successful.
Interviewer: Jason, would you like to add to that?
Jason Statham: What was the question?
Interviewer: The question was, (Laughter), how…?
Dolph Lundgren: How old are you?
Interviewer: The bar being raised – how has the bar been raised this time round?
Jason Statham: Well, it always has to, ever sequel has to be bigger and better, otherwise the challenge isn’t there and the expectation is that. So you have to fulfil that requirement from the audience. But if anyone knows how to make action movies it’s Sly. So when he gets this crowd together, you know you’re in safe hands.
So I think that’s very important that so many people who don’t know how to make action movies, sometimes you come up and get… That situation’s not always a good one, put it that way. So when we’re in the company of the greats, we feel relaxed and then we know we’re going to do something good.
Interviewer: Dolph, what about you? What would you like to say on that? Was it a further physical challenge for you all as well?
Dolph Lundgren: Yes, it always is, it’s tough. We shot in Bulgaria for four months, enjoyed the tomato salads and cold chicken. But the movies, like these other gentlemen mentioned, it’s bigger, badder, better and funnier. That’s what we tried to do and that’s what I’d like to do. Because my character was funnier, I think – Sly came up with some pretty good jokes. Arnold of course had the funniest lines in the whole movie, as usual. But we all tried to live up to his comedy as well.
What do you think, Adkins? The bad guy.
Scott Adkins: Bad guy. Well, for me as the newcomer, it’s just an honour to be asked to appear in this film with all these action legends. For me, I grew up watching these guys, so these are the guys that made me decide that I wanted to do this for a living. I’m just extremely honoured to be part of it.
Jean-Claude: You know, when I walk on the street, in the airport, whatever, people come to me and they’re saying “Hey, when is your next movie?” So I’ve got to say something, [have a public 0:05:05] for DVD, one for theatrical and one for both.
Because of him, lots of us – I mean me at least – I’m going back to theatre, the big screens. So I’ve got to say thank you to Stallone for putting me back on the big screen because I’ve got those good eyes, good face, I do my best in the acting…
Jean-Claude: We don’t see that on DVD; we have to over-exaggerate it. So thanks to The Expendables; thank you, Sly.
Sylvester Stallone: You’re welcome.
Jean-Claude: Mr. Stallone.
Jean-Claude: They understand why I call you Mr. Stallone.
Sylvester Stallone: Yes, because I’m your grandfather.
Sylvester Stallone: I get that. Don’t rub it in.
Interviewer: We’re going to throw it open to the audience now. If you could address your questions to one or two people on the panel, that would be great. We’ve got somebody in the front row here. We’ll work this side of the room first of all and then we’ll pass it over here. Tim, go ahead.
Male: I have a question for Sly. This is a physically demanding role. I understand that you suffered quite a bad injury when you were making the original Expendables movie. A couple of questions. Did that put you off doing a sequel? Did you suffer any injuries? Is there anybody in your life whose opinion you value who said “Don’t do this, Sly, because you’re taking too much of a risk”?
Sylvester Stallone: Yes, the doctors… I had my neck fused in the last one, with the stunt that went real bad. I had two back operations, a shoulder operation, Achilles operation. The last movie took its toll. The doctor said “Don’t take any rough falls. Let a stunt fellow do it.”
But sometimes you just have to do it. I don’t know why, I guess throw common sense out the window. So yes, there were some injuries; there were some tough ones in this one. But I can’t help myself. (Laughter). It’s a fool’s paradise for me.
Interviewer: There’s a gentleman there, just at the end of the front row here. Thank you.
Male: [Jan 0:06:58] from Belgium. A question for Mr. Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme. In the old days there used to be quite a bit of competition between you guys as action legends. How was it working on a project together? Was there competition on the set?
Sylvester Stallone: Very competitive. Very. No-one wants to be second, so that’s why everyone pushes very hard, and why these people have established the reputation they have. Because they want to be the best, and they usually are.
Arnold: I have to say that for me it was the opposite. I felt that everyone on the set was very helpful, because they knew that I have been out of the movies for eight years. So they actually went a little bit overboard thinking that I don’t know how to hold a gun anymore or how to throw a punch or anything like that, (Laughter). So everyone came together kind of and helped, which was really terrific.
But at the same time, we were very competitive, like you said. I think if you grow up and try to be the best then you have to be competitive. Because the more you compete the more someone ___ [0:08:14] is a challenge, the more your performance improves. So I think, because of that, of watching them with their action movies, I tried to step it up.
So we were always competing about who has the most defined muscles and who has the best body and who-
Sylvester Stallone: The bigger motor horn.
Arnold: Yes. Who has the least amount of body fat and who has the biggest gun, and who kills the most people. Who kills the most people in a unique way and all of this stuff. So there was competition like that all the time, yes.
Dolph Lundgren: Biggest watch…
Sylvester Stallone: Biggest watch, yes.
Interviewer: Mr. Van Damme as well?
Jean-Claude: Can you repeat your question? Because I was so involved into the answer I’m sorry.
Interviewer: Was there a lot of competition?
Jean-Claude: No, I mean it was a great team. When I see those guys they are an inspiration for me, so I didn’t feel like competing. I felt like following their example and to be as good as them. Next.
Sylvester Stallone: Good answer.
Jean-Claude: Thank you. [Thank you as well 0:09:24] in Flemish. By the way, I felt something – do you have something under the table touching you?
Sylvester Stallone: Yes.
Jean-Claude: I felt something strange… It was a Belgian joke.
Sylvester Stallone: See what I mean?
Sylvester Stallone: Unpredictable.
Interviewer: There’s another question this side of the room and then we’ll go to the far side.
Male: Hi, Mr. Stallone, I’m Neil Smith from the BBC. You did mention the stunt guys and the film does carry quite a poignant dedication to the stunt performer who sadly lost his life during the course of the film. How hard was that for the cast and crew to deal with and to bounce back from?
Sylvester Stallone: It was incredibly hard. Especially the members of the stunt team, they took it very, very hard and shut down for quite a while. It’s still something they’re going through. It’s happened twice before in films I’ve been on and it’s never easy. It’s ongoing, I’m sorry.
Interviewer: The other side of the room. Second row, there’s that lady, Kim, yes, if we start with you. Then there’s two chaps beside you I think would like to ask a question, give them that mic there. Go ahead.
Female: A question for Arnold. You said yourself that you’ve been out of acting for a while. Some might say that there are a lot of parallels between acting and politics. What parallels have you found?
Arnold: I think there are a lot. You’re always as good as your last movie and I think it’s the same with politics. If you are successful with a certain policy then you’re hot, if you’re successful with the economy and with bringing down the unemployment rate, you’re hot. But if you’re not successful then things go south very quickly.
I think communication and how to talk to the people is the same as in show business. In acting class they taught you always about you have to be real, “Don’t act, be real. Connect with the people; connect with your partner that you’re acting with.” The same is also in politics. In politics you have to connect with the people.
Some politicians talk like they’re talking to a wall and they cannot penetrate. I think that one thing that is extremely important is to connect with the people and to bring the people in to become your partners, in order to be successful. So there’s a lot of similarities. But then there’s a lot of differences also.
Interviewer: Okay. The gentleman beside and the one beside that. We’ll just cover this little clique at the moment. Go ahead.
Male: It’s first of all an honour to have you all here with us today. Congratulations on an amazing film. My question particularly to Arnold and Sylvester.
Obviously I think for action fans, the finest moment of many action films is the one-liners. There’s so many great ones in this film. But I wondered, looking back over both of your illustrious careers, if you could perhaps share with us what you think in your opinion have been some of the best and perhaps worst that you’ve ever had the privilege to utter on screen. If anyone else wanted to join in, that’s great too.
Sylvester Stallone: I guess my best is “[Yo Adrian 0:12:43]…” It’s one thing you just can’t criticise. Some of the worst would have to be perhaps all my dialogue in ‘Stop! Or My Mom WillShoot’.
Sylvester Stallone: Probably every line would be immortally bad.
Arnold: I think that one-liners are very important and sometimes you don’t even know when you make the movie that this is going to be a great line. I remember when we did Terminator and we did the line “I’ll be back,” I had no idea this was going to be an important line or something people will repeat.
As a matter of fact I had an argument with Jim Cameron about saying it “I will be back.” He said “No. I wrote it ‘I’ll be back.’” I said “I don’t like the way the L sounds the ‘I’ll’, it sounds a little soft. Maybe it’s more machine-like if I say ‘I will be back.’” He says “No. I wrote it ‘I’ll be back.’”
Arnold: “So, do me a favour and just say ‘I’ll be back.’” (Laughter). “We shoot it 10 times, 10 different versions and then we pick one. But just say the line.” Anyway, so I did say the line “I’ll be back,” and sure enough when the movie came out I had people come up to me and say “Say the line, say the line.” I said “What line?” They said “I’ll be back,” and I said “I’ll be back.” They said “No, no, no; the way you said it in the movie.” I said “I’ll be back.” They said “Yes, yes, that’s the way…”
So I realised that line clicked with the people and it was a big line. But I did not know when I shot it. Then sometimes you do know. In Commando when I held the guy by his feet and said “I lied,” and then I dropped him. I knew that would be a funny line and would get a big laugh. So sometimes you know and sometimes you don’t know.
Interviewer: Quickly for the rest of the panel, can you think of a good line and a bad line that you’d like to nominate for our questioner here?
Arnold: I’ve never had a bad line.
Interviewer: There you go.
Sylvester Stallone: There it is.
Dolph Lundgren: I’ve never had a good line.
Dolph Lundgren: Except for the “I must break you.” Sly, I didn’t argue with him at that point, because I was a kid. He said “Say it that way,” and I said “Alright, I’ll say it that way.” “I must break you.”
Interviewer: Jason, would you like to?
Jason Statham: Yes, you’ve got to have a movie that people have seen, and I don’t think I have.
Jason Statham: Apart from this one. [So it would be 0:15:10] irrelevant.
Interviewer: Jean-Claude, what about you? A good line and bad line from movies that you’ve appeared in?
Jean-Claude: Sometimes you can send the ball back like if he’s given me a bad line, a good line or whatever it is. I can look with the eyes and go…
Jean-Claude: It’s enough, sometimes the eyes in movies they talk a lot if you mean a lot. So I [have to do 0:15:32] a line, I just relax, no dialogue [or] I take my [words] behind the camera.
Sylvester Stallone: So it’s good gesture, bad gesture.
Interviewer: The eyes have it. If you could pass the microphone to the gentleman beside and then if you could pass it in front after you. The gentleman with the glasses next, thank you.
Male: This is another question for Arnold. You mentioned this is your first film in eight years. I wondered what the feelings were on the first day of shooting. Wonder if there were any nerves at all?
Arnold: Well, the interesting thing is that when I was governor and I would visit a movie set, which I did quite frequently in Hollywood. Because I wanted to thank people for shooting in California, because it’s good for the economy. It’s a huge business for California. A lot of states have now got very smart and they offer tax incentives, so now productions go outside the state of California. So I always wanted to go and thank them.
Then when I walked away my assistant or aid would always say “Don’t you miss that?” I remember we were just coming from a set with Tom Cruise filming and he was in a harness. He was hanging upside down doing some fight scene, and I said “No. I’m so happy I don’t have to hang in this harness upside down and do this fight scene over and over. I’m happy being governor and I cannot imagine doing that again.”
Then all of a sudden, a few years later after I said that, I’m on a movie set and I’m having the greatest time. I think there was just the ideal movie to be in when you come back was Expendables. First of all because you’re working with the top action heroes. Everyone works together; the spotlight does not go on me but it is spread out amongst all of those action heroes. So it was a safer way to come back.
So I was very fortunate that Sly liked what I did in the first one, the little scene, the cameo I did, that he asked me to come back and to do a bigger role. I had the best time from the time I got to Bulgaria and we started filming. All the way to the end. It was difficult for me to leave because I knew that those guys are going to now have fun for a few more months and I had to leave to go to my next film, which was The Last Stand. So it was the perfect way to get into the movie business again.
Interviewer: Great. I’m going to try to take these in the order in which hands have gone up, so I’m going to move right to the back. Get the microphone please and go down to Stephen, I think, from Ireland right at the back. Yes, after this one, thank you.
Female: Hi, I’m Lorna from Denmark. This is a question for Sly, mainly. Almost all of you are used to being top of the bill when a movie comes out, so were there any clashes of egos at all on the movie? How did you handle it if there were? It seemed like you used humour a lot.
Sylvester Stallone: Well, I’d like to say there was, because it makes for a more interesting story. But no, there was ultimate respect. I think everyone just knew what to do with their job.
The key with men like us is very, very simple. If you give out respect, you get respect. If you disrespect then you’re going to get that too. It’s very, very simple.
But what it is – and I have to give credit to – not many people would do a film like this. This is a very risky film taking people – he said “I don’t know if this would work anymore.” But Avi Lerner created this kind of atmosphere.
He went around, and it’s very, very important where the producer and the financer has a personal relationship with everybody. So everyone – they don’t feel like they’re just hired hands, they’re like their friends. So there was no ego clash whatsoever.
Interviewer: We’re glad to hear. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to have to say that Mr. Jean-Claude Van Damme has got to leave us now; he’s got to go for a live television interview. So can we thank him for his attendance here today?
Interviewer: Thank you so much for joining us.
Jean-Claude: The bad guy – make sure if they speak bad about me behind my back… Let me know, huh? Room 236. [That’s a boy 0:19:36].
Jean-Claude: See you guys.
Sylvester Stallone: Bye now.
Jean-Claude: I’m very shy.
Sylvester Stallone: Very shy. Bye.
Male: Is this working? Hello? Hi. My question’s for Mr. Stallone. Firstly can I ask are there plans going ahead for an Expendables 3? If so, judging at the timing of year, are you inspired by the Olympics? Would you consider any guest stars from any Olympian gold medallists this year? One suggestion I would say would be maybe Ireland’s Katie Taylor, the lightweight women’s champion.
Sylvester Stallone: Yes, see that would be an interesting choice. Really I think as we spread out, we are thinking about different concepts. Because the third one’s the hardest, by far. The second is the natural progression. Third one, that’s when the air gets rare.
We’re thinking pretty ambitiously about it. So she would fit right in there, because we’re going for odd choices – you have to. Now you have to give the audience something they don’t expect at all. Maybe even go into a different sort of genre, if you read between the lines, get out there a little bit. Maybe rip off one of your other films. Something like that.
Interviewer: Right, this gentleman…
Male: Hi there, it’s Ben from Men’s Fitness. I’ve got a question for Jason. Obviously you’re in great shape for the film. What advice would you give to people who want to get into similar kind of shape? What would be your top tip for training, recovery and nutrition?
Jason Statham: Well, listen, I’m in and amongst people that have been a lot fitter and more in shape than myself. So, down the list, I’ll still answer the question, because I’ve trained a little bit myself.
But it’s just having the focus and the dedication and the restriction against eating the wrong foods. It’s a state of mind, really. If you can be good with your diet, that’s the first point. Then the rest comes easy. The exercise and the commitment and having a good environment. That’ll take you to a certain level.
Then obviously if you’re looking to achieve great things like some of the Olympians, I can’t answer that, (Laughter), because I never quite made it. But I’m sure Arnold, we’re in great company, can enlighten us on how to take it to an extreme level.
Male: For Arnold and Sly, obviously training now, you probably have to approach it slightly differently to how you would earlier in your career. How have you adapted how you train to meet those demands?
Sylvester Stallone: Mine is obviously going lighter and more scientific, and using the equipment that they are actually using with Olympians today, and plyometrics. It just seems to be… Actually, it’s more fun than just a regular iron game. Arnold is an expert of just ground and pound; he’s really going old school. But I think you’ve changed your routine a little bit too…
Arnold: Yes, I do the curls first now.
Arnold: I do the squats last.
Sylvester Stallone: Totally different.
Arnold: I think that Sly always used a much more scientific way of training. Always, what I remember, you were hungry always what was the latest method and what is the latest findings and study and all of that stuff. He’s right that I come much more from the old school. I believe in reps and to just do it every day for an hour a day.
I do the same exercises I did 50 years ago and they still work. I eat the same food I did 50 years ago and it still works. I have a great time; I’m addicted to exercising; I have to do it every day. Have to do something every day and then also some cardiovascular training.
Here in London it has been fun because they have the Boris bikes all over London. So we go bicycle riding here and sightseeing at the same time and having a great time. But to me, exercise has always been part of my life. Also watching what you eat.
But it is, without any doubt, tougher as you get older. Your metabolism slows down, your muscles don’t respond exactly the same way anymore than when you do action scenes and fight scenes or running around. You take longer to recuperate. But, so what? It doesn’t matter. It’s not like we don’t get paid for it. It’s not like we don’t have a good time. It’s not like we’re not passionate about what we’re doing. It’s all terrific.
No matter what age you’re in, we have a great time. We had a great time working with all of the action stars that were in the movie. It was the first time I worked with Jason and it was terrific working with him. He’s such a talented actor and is so believable on the screen. He really shines in this movie again, so I’m happy about that. Everyone was terrific to work with.
Interviewer: Scott, as the newcomer on the physical side, were you able to teach these veteran gentlemen a trick or two, perhaps?
Scott Adkins: No, I was of course picking the brains of Arnold – I got to train with Arnold and Jean-Claude. But for me, at the young age of 36, (Laughter), I’m starting to feel the joints starting to go and I’m starting to re-evaluate the way I train. Try and go that more scientific route. But I don’t know, it seems as long as you train hard you’re going to get results.
Sylvester Stallone: No, but Scott, he’s by far one of the top 1% in the world at what he does. It’s just absolutely extraordinary. I wish we could have used him more. When he started films on his own he’s got an amazing body, amazing musculature and the coordination’s just staggering. I mean he really is a really amazing talent.
Scott Adkins: Thanks, Sly.
Sylvester Stallone: It’s true.
Interviewer: There’s a lady at the back and then if we can bring the microphone forward to the front row after that. Yes.
Female: Hi. I’m Charlie from AddictedMMA. This is a question for Scott. With a film like The Expendables 2, the bad guys are as important as the good guys, so that the good guys are believable. Coming onto the set working with guys like this, did you feel pressure to step up to the plate? Were you worried about overegging it or not doing enough to have that presence on screen of being a believable bad guy?
Scott Adkins: Sure, I was nervous. I’m nervous to be in the presence of them now. But I played a similar character before – I did a film called Undisputed 2 and 3 and there’s a character I played called Boyka, a Russian MMA fighter. He was very intense.
There’s a lot of fans out there for this character. It’s an underground movie, you’d have to seek it out. But I knew that that worked. So for The Expendables 2, on the big stage, I took what I did for that character, which was very intense. Because we were in Eastern Europe it made sense to make the character from Eastern Europe and give it that different flavour.
Just tried to bring that intensity to the part of Hector and hopefully I’ve got the audience to love to hate me. Because that’s what you want from a good villain. Yes, we have the end fight, me and Jason, so I think it’s what fans are expecting, really.
Interviewer: Okay, there’s two questions in the front row here. I think that might just about be wrapping it up after that, ladies and gentlemen, but we’ll see.
Male: Hi, Chris from [Belgium 0:27:40]; a question for Sly and Arnold. You guys practically invented this kind of action movie genre. But I just wondered, when you were younger, did you have a kind of role model for this kind of genre? I’m thinking about Kirk Douglas maybe or…
Sylvester Stallone: Yes, growing up I of course admired physically, the first time I saw Hercules Unchained, just something snapped in my brain. Because I was very, very thin and I had no direction, the usual adolescent insecurities. From that point on I had a real male role model. Of course [modelling 0:28:17] yourself after Hercules is kind of a difficult thing when you’re skinny, but that was it.
Then of course the actors at the time, I was just drawn to heroes like Kirk Douglas in The Vikings. That primarily was it.
But when Arnold and I got into the action genre, there really wasn’t an action genre. There’d be car chases and there’d be maybe a fist fight, but the actual genre is something that just grew up around us. We were pretty instrumental in it, but unwearyingly so, it just happened.
Arnold: I remember when I was around 14/15 years old I got to that age where physical strength and athletics, and looking like a he-man and all this stuff, really started meaning a lot to me. So I also watched Hercules movies. One guy in particular, Reg Park, which is a British bodybuilder who became Mr. Universe at a very young age, then won it a second time and a third time. Then landed in Rome and did Hercules movies.
So I thought he was my idol. I read everything about Reg Park and followed his footsteps and trained like him. I said “If he can make it, I can make it.” It was a blueprint, basically, of how to get there, how to win the championships. Here was the training laid out, this is how you get into movies, become a Mr. Universe and then make Hercules movies. I thought “This is terrific; this is exactly the route I’m going to go.”
So yes, he was an idol; he was a very important motivating factor for me that gave me a vision of where I could go and how I could get there. Then of course there was American stars, obviously Kirk Douglas, but John Wayne comes to my mind, I saw a lot of the John Wayne movies that were very heroic to me. So it was that age and they were very inspirational.
I took it a step further than most kids did that said “I like that, I’m going to go and work out a little bit.” To me it was right away “I’m going to win the championship; I’m going to get in the movies; I’m going to make millions of dollars like Reg Park. I’m going to get into the gym business; I’m going to have exactly the same life he has.” That’s what I did. I took it that little step further.
Interviewer: This is going to have to be the last question, ladies and gentlemen; I’m really sorry to those of you who had your hands up and we didn’t get to you. Time has been against us. Marian, please.
Female: You’ve had such a varied career with bodybuilding, acting, politics. What has life taught you? What have you learnt from life?
Arnold: I think most of my lessons that I learnt are from sports. I think that’s why I always emphasise to young kids, “Get involved in sports, because that’s where you learn about discipline; that’s where you learn about ‘Never listen to no’ or ‘it’s impossible’ or ‘you can’t make it’ because you can.” I’ve heard all my life that “This is impossible; you can’t make it; you will fail.” I didn’t listen to that and I made it.
You also learn how to get up when you fail and when you fall. As we go through life you will never be successful in everything. I remember as a lifter, the amount of times I tried to lift 500lbs on a bench press and I failed and I failed and I failed. But then one day at the German champions in power-lifting I lifted a bench press of 500lbs, after 10 times failing.
That’s why I remember in politics when we tried to do let’s say a policy like redistricting in California, or something like that, and we failed five times. The press ask me “Don’t you understand that people say ‘No, it’s over, don’t try it again’?” I said “Look, I failed in lifting so many times, I came back and then I did it. The same will be with this.” Sure enough in this particular instance, the sixth time, we won.
So you learn never to give up. So there’s a lot of important lessons that you learn in all of this. You have to have vision. No matter what you do in life, you have to have first the vision. You have to see your goal, you have to believe in it, you have to have faith in it, you have to chase it. Then it is fun to chase it. That is I think the most important thing. If you have no goal, if you have no vision, you’ve nothing. That’s what I’ve learnt.
Sylvester Stallone: It’s true.
Interviewer: Well, I think we’ve all enjoyed the vision for The Expendables 2. Ladies and gentlemen, our guests this morning.