It's no great revelation to say that the Expendables series is marketed toward a male audience. The movies featuring action stars in their twilight years don't exactly paint women in the most flattering light, with the few that appear mainly viewed as victims who need rescuing or cheating biatches. These are films where firearms, massive explosions and machismo are an unflattering foil for the feminine. What's Expendables 2 director Simon West's answer to this?
"I like the idea of the Expenda-Belles where it's seven or eight women mercenaries," West told E! during the new movie's Hollywood premiere. "It would be Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, Mila Jovovich, the list goes on… Helen Mirren, Jamie Lee Curtis would be great." He sees the ass-kicking ladies in a storyline "running parallel" to the boys. "They would meet up and then they would fight and they would join up and save each other."
Former NFLer and Expendables actor Terry Crews also played casting director. "I love Kate Beckinsale in Total Recall. I would love to see Charlize Theron. She would be a sweet badass just doing some crazy stuff!"
Will creating an all-female Expendables instill some true-blue girl power into the mix, or will it just create a different unflattering portrait? Perhaps we should look at part two's inclusion of safecracker Maggie (Nan Yu) — a fully capable woman and expert in her field — to see how they might approach a spin-off. Unfortunately, it doesn't go well.
Writers like Katey Rich have touched upon the problems with Maggie's character, making a case for why the action sequel should have left the ladies out altogether. We agree that not every movie has to be created with both sexes in mind, but as Rich explains, "…it takes it a step too far by becoming outright dismissive or hostile to an entire half of the population that probably wouldn't mind getting in on the explosive fun." She also states, "It would have been better to simply have no women, to focus on how men operate solely on their own, rather than try to shoehorn a token female Expendable and still leave the rest of the movie's women as either helpless victims or ruthless harpies."
The Hunger Games, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Haywire have been successful female-led actioners, and we'd definitely like to see more, but perhaps The Expendables isn't the right universe for it. We'll find out when executive producer Adi Shankar (The Grey, Killing Them Softly and the Judge Dredd reboot), and newly hired writer Dutch Southern get to work on the "Expenda-Belles." In the meantime, check out a female Expendables list from our own Elisa Osegueda, who assembled a cast of "tough-girl Latina actresses" ready to fight.