Last weekend audiences were treated to a '80s action star extravaganza. The Expendables 2 marked an explosive-filled reunion for former Planet Hollywood investors Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis, and put them shoulder to muscular shoulder with the likes of Jason Statham, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Chuck Norris.
Even before Expendables 2 released there was discussion of whether a threequel was already in the works, and a few members of the cast confirmed our suspicions. While the plot of that film might border on the absurd, the assumption is that no matter where Expendables 3 takes audiences, the film will build on its already established cast of action icons.
Unfortunately, before discussion of Expendables 3's logistics can even get off the ground, one team member, Chuck Norris, has called it quits. For Norris, the experience of working on Expendables 2 – getting to reunite with old friends and fellow action stars like Stallone and Schwarzenegger – was enough.
Check out Norris' own words to Access Hollywood:
The Walker Texas Ranger star does sing the praises of the Expendables 2 production, calling it better than the first - and even compliments Terry Crews on his "tree stump" biceps. Even so, for Norris, this return to action was just a brief visit.
It doesn't surprise us to hear Norris is done - especially considering the amount of physical torture and pain some of the production's principal actors had to go through. While nothing as shocking as Stallone breaking his neck during production occurred this time around, there were surely more than a few bumps and bruises. At age 72, Norris doesn't have the physicality he once did to endure such grueling physical strain. (Though we hear that every time old age tries to reach Norris, he kicks it in the face.)
Another reason for the action star's departure could have been disagreements over the film's violent content. A few months back it was revealed that Expendables 2 would be rated PG-13 (the first film was rated R), due to Norris' insistence. Sylvester Stallone then came out to assuage fan fears saying that the film would be R, and it would be a hard R at that. While ratings and violence are probably not absolute deal-breakers for Norris, we wouldn't be surprised to learn that they played a factor in his decision to move on.
Anyone that's interested in seeing some of those previously-mentioned bruises being created, should look no further as we have a clip from The Expendables 2's epic showdown between Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone. This fight between two of the '80s and '90s most prolific action stars was worth the price of admission alone. Van Damme even pokes fun at that fact with the line, "I want my money's worth."
We wont say whether the entire fight delivers, but we do endorse Norris' statement that Expendables 2 is better than the first movie (read our review). It's unfortunate that he won't be returning, but there are plenty more intriguing casting possibilities out there: for example, Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood are supposedly being courted for roles in Expendables 3.
The Expendables formula - bringing high-profile action stars together with more explosions than any one budget can hold - appears to be catching on. Maybe in a few years, audiences will not only see the release of The Expendables 3, but a female Expendables film as well.
The Expendables 2 is in theaters now.