It was only a matter of time. With the success of ‘The Expendables’ franchise, Stallone decided to push it. He couldn’t help himself, and the result will be ‘The ExpendaBelles.’ Why, Sly? Why?

Deadline Hollywood reports:

Robert Luketic has come aboard to direct The ExpendaBelles, the estrogen-powered equivalent of the testosterone-fueled Millennium Films franchise The Expendables. …

The logline: When America’s Navy SEALs are wiped out trying to penetrate the island lair of a deadly despot who has captured one of the world’s top nuclear scientists, it becomes clear that there is no such thing as the right man for the job and that this is a mission so impossible that only women can handle it. The only way in: some of the world’s deadliest female operatives must pose as high-class call-girls shipped in by private plane to satisfy a dictator–and instead save the scientist and the day. …

[Executive Producer Avi] Lerner said he was in talks with Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz and Milla Jovovich. I’m told that nobody is set and that they are just now coming up with the short list.

When ‘The Expendables’ came out in 2010, guys who grew up in the 80s were psyched because their childhood action heroes were teaming up at least one more time to kick ass and take names. A super team of testosterone-fueled muscle heads together in movie? Even if it was bad, it was going to be good. It was a throwback to a time when action stars had real muscles and the explosions weren’t created inside a computer. Since all aging guys love to show the young ones that they “still got it,” you couldn’t help but root for Sly and his band of merry mercenaries. Fans got to see Stallone go head-to-head with JCVD in ‘The Expendables 2’ and the final installment this summer will without a doubt have a showdown that will be worth the price of admission (even if the rest of the movie is forgettable). How can any action movie starring Meryl Streep and Cameron Diaz compete with that?

‘The Expendables’ worked because it had a fairly large built-in audience that was hungry for the product. Just the prospect of Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis tearing it up together on screen was worth millions — even if the reality ended up being cameos by Arnold and Bruce. Women typically don’t like shoot-em-up action flicks. They just don’t. And guys don’t want to see Meryl Streep as a “high-class call-girl.” Casting Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich and Sigourney Weaver would be a good start, but what is the likelihood of nabbing the three of them?

Arnold Sly

The reason why guys still are willing to see a Stallone movie is because they know he does crazy stuff to his body in order to get the shot. Arnold and Sly end up in the same hospital for shoulder surgery because they’re still slinging weights and throwing punches. They put their body on the line to get that bone-crushing blow on film. They’ll put up with bruises if they can convince you they just took a few punches to the kidneys that said, “Get ready to pee blood for a week, buddy.”

Will Ms. Streep or Cameron Diaz do that? Of course not. That’s not to say they’re bad at their craft … it’s just that they simply aren’t going to draw the same kind of numbers for an action film that the right Stallone vehicle can.

“When America’s Navy SEALs are wiped out…” you call Meryl Streep and Cameron Diaz? Get the heck out of here. Linda Hamilton in 1991 shape? Okay. Maybe.

Do you remember the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun? Well, Stallone and Millennium Films are doing that with ‘The Expendables.’ It’s a bad idea, it has a high probability of failure (unless Quentin Tarantino randomly decides to direct), and its under performance will be blamed on sexism instead a gimmick that went too far.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have the ‘Expendables 3’ trailer to watch. I hope the guys go out of on good note.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

31 comments

  1. Meryl Streep is definitely not who I think of when I think of hot female action heroines. If they want to get an 1980s female action heroine, why not Sigourney Weaver? She’s actually been in action/adventure movies. I can see her, Cameron Diaz, Angelina Jolie and Milla Jovovich as female action stars, but Meryl Streep? All she ever does is Oscar-type movies. Has she ever been in an action movie?

    I’m not sure about this movie. It seems almost too gimmicky.

  2. Meryl Streep’s fans (whether men or women) probably don’t like action movies, and most action movie fans (whether male or female) probably don’t care about Meryl one way or the other. Maybe Sly never heard of Lucy Lawless, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Yancy Butler, Linda Hamilton, Sybil Danning, Sandahl Bergman, Laurene Landon, Cynthia Rothrock, and Hudson Leick.

    1. I’ve heard of the first four (Lucy Lawless, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Yancy Butler and Linda Hamilton) but not the last few. But I agree with you on the overall point.

      I remember Yancy Butler from the early 2000s Witchblade TV series on TNT. Then she completely disappeared; haven’t seen her in anything since then.

    2. Yancy Butler was in Kick Ass and Kick Ass 2 as Red Mist’s Mum. Not seen her in anything before that other than JCVD’s Hard Target.

      Helen Mirren would be a better choice after she was in Red and Red 2

      I won’t watch the female version – I have to be picky with the films I see

    3. “I won’t watch the female version – I have to be picky with the films I see.” — Andrew

      You are not alone. Most people are these days. Guys who are on the fence will say “Arnold, Stallone, Snipes, Gibson, Harrison Ford, Jason Statham and Terry Crews in one film? Okay. You got me.” I simply don’t see that for almost any all-female cast predicated on older women action stars — unless you had a director like Tarantino behind the wheel.

    4. I never saw either Kick-Ass movie or Hard Target; I haven’t seen as many JCVD movies as I have Ahnuld, Stallone and Dolph Lundgren.

      I agree that Helen Mirren would be a better choice, after seeing her in “Red.”

    5. I am going to the cinema this weekend and plan to see any of RoboCop, Dallas Buyers Club, Lone Survivor, Jack Ryan or I Frankenstein.

      I will probably see 2 or 3 of them as I have a free weekend which is a rarity.

    6. I don’t believe Robocop opens in the U.S. until next weekend. I’ll probably see that if I get a chance. You already know how I feel about Lone Survivor. 🙂

    7. I have a days holiday on Monday and will probably see lone Survivor then. Will let you know what i think of it then.

      I find it funny we get some films earlier than the US. I remember years go being gutted I had to wait ages

    8. Yeah, it is weird how some films open earlier across the pond than they do here. As for Robocop, I like the 1987 original, but I’ve been kind of up in the air about the remake. The original film really predicted what Detroit would be like today… a decaying urban wasteland, minus the mega-corporation that runs the whole city and a cyborg cop, that is.

      And Doug: I agree that Tarantino would make it work, considering he’s done the Kill Bill movies and Jackie Brown as well.

    9. Now I feel old. My idols are all at Stage Five (“Who is…?”) of their careers. Maybe Sybil, Sandahl, and the others are now living in the same nursing home with Robert Redford. 🙂

    10. I guess it would depend on how much they spend on the movie before we can define “success.” I think they could probably cobble together a few pretty good sci-fi/fantasy women from the small screen (e.g., Katee Sackhoff, Lucy Lawless) and possibly a big movie star like Jolie, and have a good take, but I don’t see all the pieces coming together.

      The first ‘Expendables’ was budgeted at $80 million (and that’s not including marketing), so I’m not sure how they could really spend that much on ‘The ExpendaBelles’ and still make money. Maybe I’m wrong, but if I was a Hollywood producer I wouldn’t place my bets with this one. I think you could do it if you had a director like Robert Rodriguez, who is an extremely efficient filmmaker. He stays in Hollywood because he can make a small budget go a long way.

      Anyone who loves movies should read his book ‘Rebel without a Crew.’ It details the making of ‘El Mariachi.’ I believe it cost him $7,000 to make and it ended up pulling in $2 million. Amazing!

    11. When you look at Clerks which cost Kevin Smith $28,000 dollars and compare it to El Mariachi for $7,000 I think it shows why Robert Rodriguez is a vastly superior filmmaker to Smith.

    12. Yeah, Kevin’s strength was always his writing. I respect him for doing his own thing and finding a way to direct (even if he’s not that great at it), but in general I would never hire him for that skill set.

    13. I agree that Kevin Smith is a better writer than a director. One of his movies, Mallrats, was filmed in my home state of Minnesota, at the Eden Prairie Mall.

    14. How on earth Stallone couldn’t convince Carl Weathers to come out of retirement one last time for an Expendables film is beyond me. Weathers has an awesome film history with Sly and Arnold. If a movie theater randomly jacked up prices and tried to charge me $30 for a ticket to see the three of them in battle with guns blazing, I’d be willing to do it.

  3. Meryl Streep would not only be hopelessly miscast as a secret agent 00-type, she would be implausible posing as a high-priced call girl. Then again, it could not be any worse than George Clooney as Batman, Robin Williams as Popeye, Alec Baldwin as the Shadow, Chris Pine as Jack Ryan, or Warren Beatty as Dick Tracy. I’m just waiting for Hollywood’s next masterpieces: Woody Allen as the Terminator, Boy George as James Bond, Richard Simmons as Rambo, Rita Rudner as Xena, Tina Fey as Lara Croft, and Alan Alda as Mike Hammer. 🙂

  4. Eh, given that I grew up in the 80s where every popular property (ie He-Man) ended up having a distaff counterpart (ie She-Ra) I’m just more amused by this than offended. Heck, if anything one could say Sly is running the 80s revival theme to freakishly meta levels!

    Besides, at worst we’ll get a great rifftrax out of it. 😉

    1. True. But at least the She-Ra cartoon included the creation of Hordak. 🙂 I can’t say I remember him too much, but I had the figure and thought he was pretty cool at the time.

    2. You’re not too wrong, Carl.

      I could tolerate it a lot more if they toned down Teela’s bitchiness.

      I’m giving the current story to its final issue then will make a decision on whether I continue reading or not.

    3. That’s one complaint I’ve heard about, among others. I also heard that James “I Killed off Lian Harper” Robinson wrote the first story arc, so that could explain the darker tone.

    4. It… depends on tastes really.

      I don’t mind some of it. In truth it’s kind of interesting to see He-Man & co face a really challenging evil and to wonder if they could win at all.

      On the other… something about the writing… you just don’t feel like rooting for them that much. The potential’s there, but there’s some fundamental flaws in the writing.

    5. I remember that the early 2000s cartoon series also made the foes a bit more challenging as well. That bit sounds interesting. I’ve heard that the writing is a bit off at times. I also heard that it was crossing over with the mainstream DC titles, which actually already happened in an 1980s issue of DC Comics Presents where Superman and He-Man teamed up against Skeletor.

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