“The Expendables 3,” the latest installment to Sylvester Stallone’s action franchise, is out in theaters this weekend. As to be expected, the over-crowded sequel is pretty bad, and not in the fun, B-movie kind of way.
Rather than throw down $11 to see this bloated flick, here’s a list of action movies starring the various “Expendables” actors that you should watch instead.
Pictured: (front row left to right) Antonio Banderas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham. (Back row left to right) Jet Li, Glen Powell, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz on the set of the 2014 film. Next
Sylvester Stallone - ‘First Blood’
If you want to see vintage Stallone kicking butt as a crazed ex-soldier, look no further than 1982’s “First Blood.” Stallone stars as the iconic John Rambo, a Vietnam vet and a former Green Beret who proceeds to blow pretty much everything up in the classic 80s flick. “First Blood” went on to spawn three Rambo sequels, but the debut film is clearly the best and a must watch. Next
Harrison Ford - ‘Air Force One’
There are a million and one action movies you could recommend starring Harrison Ford (“Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger,” etc.) and the list gets even bigger when you count his adventure flicks (“Indiana Jones,” “Star Wars”). But if you’re looking for a Ford movie that really sums up the 80s/90s action genre, 1997’s “Air Force One” isn’t a bad choice. Ford stars as President James Marshall, whose plane is hijacked by a Russian terrorist (Gary Oldman).
Other great action picks starring the now 72-year-old actor: “Blade Runner,” “Apocalypse Now,” and “The Fugitive.” Next
Arnold Schwarzenegger - ‘Predator’
Another actor with a laundry list of great (as well as a plenty of awful) action movie credits, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was the Adonis of Hollywood when he was in his prime. Nowadays, the former California governor has relegated himself to cliche and formulaic action flicks (can someone please tell me why “The Last Stand” was made?), but many of his older works such as “The Terminator” and “Commando” still hold up pretty well.
For a good balance of sci-fi and action, fans should watch 1987’s “Predator.” Not only is it a decent film, but it also gave the world one of the best Schwarzenegger lines ever: “Get to the chopper!” Classic. Next
Mel Gibson - ‘Lethal Weapon’
Before making films about Jesus getting tortured and going on anti-Semitic tirades, Mel Gibson was a decent action movie actor (suprised?). Gibson kicked butt in the post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” series and had audiences yelling “Freedom!” after playing William Wallace in “Braveheart.” But his best action series, without a doubt, has to be the “Lethal Weapon” franchise. A mix of both gun-totting action and buddy cop humor, the series is an ode to all the things that were great about 80s cinema. We miss this Gibson... Next
Jet Li - ‘Unleashed’
When it comes to the Mount Rushmore of martial arts movie stars, Jet Li deserves a place on the monument right next to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Sammo Hung. Li has a plethora of awesome action flicks, from 2001’s “Kiss of the Dragon” to 2007’s “War,” which he starred in with his fellow “Expendables” cast member Jason Statham. However, the 2005 film “Unleashed” may be one of his overall best movie roles.
Li plays Danny, an orphan turned into a violent killer by his adopted crime boss “uncle” (Bob Hoskins). Danny’s life is changed for the better when he meets a blind piano tuner (Morgan Freeman) who rescues him after a vicious gang battle. Next
Antonio Banderas - ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico’
We have to admit, the Spanish heart-throb is the only redeeming part about the new “Expendables” film — Banderas is funny as ever in this sequel. That said, the movie still sucks pretty hard.
For some classic Banderas flavor, there’s of course the “Zorro” series, but we have to recommend 2003’s “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.” Next
Wesley Snipes - ‘Blade’
Like Banderas, Snipes is actually a bright spot in the new “Expendables” flick, as he plays Dr. Death, a former group member who’s been in prison for a few years (yes, there are some awesome jokes about Snipes actual time in prison). The actor is great when he plays odd, sadistic characters, like his role in the new sequel or as the villain in 1993’s “Demolition Man,” which he starred in opposite Sylvester Stallone.
Howevers, Snipes best series to date has to be the “Blade” franchise. What’s better than seeing the action star kill vampires with karate kicks? Next
Dolph Lundgren - ‘Universal Soldier’
If we could only watch one Dolph Lundgren film, it’d have to be “Rocky IV.” His role as the fearsome Ivan Drago has the best line of the movie — “If he dies, he dies” — and is one of the 80’s most memorable villains.
If we are talking classic action movie tropes (a.k.a. guns, girls, and explosions) though, then we have to recommend the “Universal Soldier” series, where Lundgren again plays a bad guy (just not as menacing as Drago). Next
Jason Statham - ‘The Transporter’
Here’s a fun game: say a random word (just one word though) and see if it’s a title of a Jason Statham movie. There’s “Homefront,” “Blitz,” “Crank,” “War,” “Revolver,” “Snatch,” “Cellular,” “Fart” (okay, I made the last one up). The point is, they are all pretty much the same film.
While Statham has starred in a ton of direct-to-DVD worthy flicks, his turn as Frank Martin in “The Transporter” series proved a pretty popular role. The action scenes are pretty good and there’s plenty of car chases to satiate your highway chase cravings. Next
Randy Couture - Just Watch His Old Fights
After beating people up inside the Octagon for decades, former UFC champion Randy Couture made the transition into the world of acting. Unfortunately, Couture doesn’t have too many big acting credits to his name yet, save for the “Expendables” series. Due to that fact, you’ll probably find watching his old fights more enjoyable than trying to spot him in small roles in “The Scorpion King 2” or “Big Stan.”
Our recommendations: Couture’s win in Boston over boxer James Toney at UFC 118 or his title winning KO over Chuck Liddell at UFC 43. Next
Terry Crews - ‘Gamer’
Other than the “Expendables” series, Crews doesn’t have too much action movie experience, as he’s often cast in comedic roles. However, he does have a decent-sized role in the 2009 flick “Gamer” as a dangerous inmate known as Hackman. While it may be one of his best action movie credits, Crews is definitely better as a comedic actor (like, have you seen those Old Spice ads?).
Pictured: Crews in a scene from “The Expendables.” Back to the beginning
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