The Expendables 2 explodes into theaters soon, and the sequel to 2010's wild tough-guy ensemble ups the ante by adding a few more names to the list of veteran Hollywood butt kickers making an appearance in the film.
Joining the cast this time will be Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who add their particular brands of high-kicking, face-punching action to the mix in what's likely to be a festival of bullets, brawls and one-liners that will make any fan of '80s action films weep from joy.
Even so, there are still some names that are conspicuously absent from the list of “Expendables” tough guys.
Here are 10 actors who would fit right in with The Expendables franchise:
The Hellboy star plays badass biker Clay Morrow in the hit television series Sons of Anarchy, so it's not much of a leap to say he'd be perfectly cast as one of Sylvester Stallone's mercenary crew in the next Expendables movie. Heck, given his character's uncertain moral compass in Sons of Anarchy, he'd be a great choice as a hero or a villain in the film, and likely bring a level of depth to the role that the franchise is lacking thus far.
Michael Jai White
He's already appeared in a long list of action films alongside veterans like Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and Steven Seagal, played a violent supernatural superhero in Spawn, and gave us the Afro-action karate magic of Black Dynamite, so there's more than enough justification for the 44-year-old actor to join the ranks of The Expendables. On top of all that, he's playing Jax Briggs in the new Mortal Kombat movie, and continues to embody everything that's awesome about cheesy action movies. Give this man a role, people!
If you've seen any of the ridiculously impressive Ong Bak movies, you'll understand why Jaa is essentially the new Jet Li, capable of carrying a martial arts movie on his shoulders with astounding fight sequences and an ability to sell every movement as the actions of a true master. He's the real deal, and even though action-movie fans have known about him for a few years now, he deserves to level up and join the ranks of Hollywood's most prominent fighters.
Sure, this one's a bit of a stretch, but Revenge of the Nerds actor Donald Gibb has made a career out of playing thugs, badasses, bikers and bullies, so why not give him a cameo that recognizes the part he's played in cinema's legacy of guys you don't want to mess with? He's already starred alongside Van Damme in Bloodsport (and made a return in Bloodsport 2), so bring him on in a small role for the next Expendables movie and you'll have everyone in the theater screaming “Nerrrrrrrrrrrds!” in unison.
If wrestler Steve “Stone Cold” Austin is in these films, there's no reason why this former wrestler and professional football player shouldn't make the cut for the Expendables roster. One look at Goldberg's massive frame and intimidating physique and the question changes from “Why isn't he in the movie?” to “How can they make the rest of these guys look as tough as Goldberg?” Simply put, he's a beast, and the fact that he's already starred in films alongside Expendables 2 actors Van Damme and Terry Crews doesn't hurt, either. Let's put it this way: the most convincing argument against the “reality” of professional wrestling is that anyone was ever able to pin this guy to the mat during his career.
His current status as a prison inmate removed him from consideration thus far, but he should be a free man when it comes time to start filming The Expendables 3. Is there any question why he'd be a good fit for this franchise? After starring in nearly every action film from the early '90s and kicking vampire butt in not one but three Blade movies, his inclusion in the Expendables seems like a no-brainer. Remember: Always bet on black.
Reports have Seagal already pegged for a role in The Expendables 3, so let's put a stamp of approval on this one by noting that he's pretty much the most conspicuous name missing from the cast of the films thus far. Sure, he currently looks like competitive eating might be more his speed than action movies, but give the guy a break – he can still kick some butt when necessary.
If there was a movie made during the '80s with the word “ninja” in its title, there's a good chance Sho Kosugi starred in it. The 64-year-old actor almost singlehandedly spawned the ninja-movie craze here in the U.S., and returned to the screen for a memorable role as the villain of 2009's Ninja Assassin. Want to see why he's got what it takes to be one of the Expendables? Check out Enter the Ninja, Pray for Death or the aforementioned Ninja Assassin to see why he's been such a driving force in martial arts movies over the years. He's the real deal.
Before Steve Austin jumped from the wrestling ring to the movie screen, former wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper gave us one of the greatest cinematic brawls of all time in John Carpenter's cult-classic film They Live. Even though his movie career never quite panned out, he's still one of the most recognizable faces from the old-school wrestling scene whose name doesn't end with “Hogan,” and there's no denying that he's got the chops to hang with the likes of Stallone and Lundgren. If nothing else, a role in The Expendables 3 gives us the chance to hear him tell the world one more time that he's here to kick ass and chew bubblegum.
The star of Taken and Taken 2 has a particular set of skills that make him a complete badass who will have no problem standing alongside guys like Statham. At this point, he's played the guy who trained Batman, a Greek god, a psychotic superhero (in the criminally underrated Darkman), and a secret agent with an affinity for telling people exactly how he's going to beat them senseless, then doing it. The only question left to ask is whether Neeson is too much of a badass right now to join The Expendables.
Honorable Mention: Kurt Thomas and/or Michael Dudikoff
Scoff if you will, but former Olympic gymnast Thomas flipped, spun and pommel-horsed his way through a horde of Eastern European bad guys (and some ninjas) in the cult-classic 1985 film Gymkata. A cameo by Thomas in The Expendables 3 could give the film some serious '80s action cred simply by being aware of Gymkata, which has a fair share of fans among old-school action movie fans.
Meanwhile, we can't help wishing that a role in the next Expendables movie could be freed up for American Ninja star Dudikoff, who was one of the most unlikely heroes of the ninja-movie fad. The fact that we wore out four VHS copies of American Ninja (originally titled American Warrior) back in the day is the only argument we have for this one.