The new Expendables movie is a sequel. Or spin off. Or sidequel. Who the fuck knows. It may or may not be centered on Jason Statham. It will probably underperform.
Neither or these things should have happened. Instead, from the very start they should have planned for Trench Mauser getting his own spin off. Played right, they could’ve gotten ten Expendables movies. The main trilogy, three Trench movies then VOD cool downs with the rest of the gang. Maybe even more.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was misused in The Expendables. It’s a great, cherished movie. However while welcomed and cheered on by the audience, his cameo was somewhat mishandled — a downside was that his Hawaiian Grandpa schtick was sort of unbecoming. His appearance in the second movie was also somewhat bungled, a lot goofiness, a lot of self referential humor.
In the third, this was even worse.
Our Oak was present, but the ruthless edge was missing.
Better could’ve been done, half of this required a good introduction and handling of Mauser in the main series. The other half required Arnold elevating his own stock outside the series. He appeared in movies that ranged from mediocre bombs to terrible bombs, bombs being the key word. Choices he made by himself.
Arnold was misused by Millennium and Arnold himself helped them out.
Arnold’s appearance at the end of the EX2 teaser was a taste of what could’ve been…
They could’ve done it. Assuming Arnold stopped shitting his own bed outside the franchise (he didn’t need to bust the box office, just merely refuse to appear in trash). They could’ve groomed the Mauser character, teasing in The Expendables, laying the foundations in The Expendables 2 then following up with his own spin off movie.
Even though Schwarzenegger is not the box office draw that Jason Statham is, I would posit that Schwarzenegger could’ve used his own name to make it work and that, perhaps crucially, a vocal online minority would’ve supercharged the PR for such a movie. The first of a trilogy.
Had Arnold been his own fan, the rest would’ve worked for him. Statham is no Schwarzenegger, at least, potential-wise, one could’ve beaten the other in 2012-2015.
It would’ve been rated R. It would’ve had its own, new one liners, instead of satirical throwbacks. It would’ve featured Bruce Willis as the series’ Nick Fury, recruiting Trench and his team to deal with some undesirables.
Trench’s team would’ve been and exciting discussion point. It could’ve had some new faces, acceptable in this spin off, but also some old faces, people who did not make it into the main series for whatever reason.
In spin offs, there is room for experimentation. So not only could this have been rated R, they could’ve made it a bleak, black, ultra violent actioner, harder than than the first movie. They could’ve had cameos from Barney Ross, whoever. Perhaps even a ‘Villain’ could’ve shown up. Dare I say it… it could’ve even been better than the main films.
What blown opportunities. The ‘Expendables Universe’ could’ve been a thing…?