The Expendables


Written by Chris Price
09 Monday 09th August 2010

Next week see’s the release of The Expendables; starring and directed by a 64-year-old Slyvester Stallone, also featuring a 63-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger, a 47-year-old Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren (53), Eric Roberts (54) and the comparatively young faux-cockney whelk, 38-year-old Jason Statham. Not a particularly young ensemble, but a roll call of names emblazoned forever in the mind of anyone approaching 30. 

It’s a film rooted purely in the annals of action cinema. Harking back to the age of the muscular alpha male hero, where one man could topple a small country almost exclusively by the contents of his rucksack. Where men punched each other repeatedly in the face. Wherever there was an ineffective policing, there was a highly decorated ex-Black Ops maverick, who could bench press 500 pounds with an arsenal comparable to a moderate principality hidden in his garden shed.
The most depressing thing about The Expendables is that it’s played remarkably po-faced, with hardly a whiff of irony. Stranger still, as a film that could only be fully appreciated within the context of the traditional action film genre, the desire to avoid the camp completely anaesthetizes the group dynamic, rendering the characterization scenes excruciatingly boring.
But avoiding the storyline, this is Commando 2.0 – protracted action scenes, punctuated with plenty of clever injuries, exploding faces etc. A film to be truly appreciated while very drunk.
But what about the also-rans? Here, we take a look at a few of the overlooked heroes of the action genre. Regular fixtures, over-night sensations, recurring stuntmen. The fallen heroes of the Action genre, we salute you.
Throughout the late 80s to mid 90s, no retarded action film would be complete without including stuntman/actor Albert Leong. He is the omnipresent vole of knuckleheaded action flicks. A man of few words, and fewer functioning follicles, whenever you need a typecast highkicking Chinese goon, Albert “Ka-Bong” Leong will be there. 
Probably Al’s most famous outing was as Endo, torturing Mel ’box of frogs’ Gibson with a sponge in Lethal Weapon. You may have also seen him menacing some product placement chocolates in Die Hard (ordered to “Just wound” advancing police assault team by Alan Rickman), swinging some rather sharp knives around in Big Trouble in Little China, and getting his head Eiffel-towered in Hot Shots! Part Deux during the Kickboxer piss take. You can also spot him in Lethal Weapon 4, Rapid Fire and Showdown in Little Tokyo.
Before Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson jumped ship from the NFL in search of celluloid fame, there was Brian ‘The Boz’ Bosworth. In an attempt to breed another muscle-bound hero and capitalising on his controversial record on the field, he was flung into the limelight playing Joe Huff in Stone Cold, as an undercover FBI agent seeking the stop Lance Henriksen ‘cracking The Whip’ (The Whip being David Tress as attorney Brent Whipperton).
Equally fantastic and awful (a mullet-hawk and a trenchcoat with extended shoulder wings? That’s almost as ridiculous as men wearing harem pants #BB11), it was enough momentumn for a short career featuring Blackout, the shambolic Virus, and the superbly bad One Tough Bastard (including the Simpons-parodied ‘Noooo!’ moment) and. He also popped up in David O. Russell’s Three Kings and returned to gridiron format in the shitty Longest Yard remake.
His finest moment is surely downing a smoothie made from an unholy combination of crisps, Snickers and Peptobismol. While wearing an ice white jock and one dangly earring.
The dusky Lamas, an apache smoked Van Damme, played the lead of Reno Raines in the US action TV series Renegade, which ran from 1992 to 1997. A sort of one man A-Team, spent most of his time riding a Harley though middle America, protecting damsels in distress and taking his shirt off on a regular basis. His MO including indulging in very unconvincing fist-fights normally culminating in his patented jumping roundhouse kick, and fulfilling plenty of cultural backstory with his agency-cum-sidekick Bobby Sixkiller.
Lamas also starred in several surprisingly entertaining action joints including the very effable Travis Blackstone in Viper, where he impales a bad guy with a massive spike and proceeds to wiggle it around a lot. Other straight to video highlights include Final Impact, Terminal Justice and Snake Eater 1-3.
He now no longer has his impressive ponytail, and had to have extensions for the final year of Renegade.
Still receiving regular work, Mark had a stint of roles, normally playing bodyguards and henchmen. Still, with an Asian heritage, some nifty martial arts skills has kept him on the scene for almost two decades. Miraculously he seems to be looking younger with each film.
His finest hour surely must be Kickboxer 5 (“Payback can be Deadly!” screams the box!). Unfortunately, banned in the UK for repeated headbutts (this was back when the BBFC passing a scene of eyeballs being blowtorched was the stuff of fantasy). He played Jimmy Lee, one half of the Double Dragon brothers in the film version of the seminal arcade game. The video game affiliation also continued with him appearing in the first proper big-budget film/video game tie-up, Wing Commander 4 (with Malcolm McDowell, paying the bills). Other highlights include hip-hop actioner Cradle 2 The Grave with Jet Li, No Code of Conduct with a mid-meltdown Charlie Sheen, Armageddon (not the Aerosmith one) with Rutger Hauer and Only The Strong, as well as playing Eric Draven in the series-of-the-film The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. But that was rubbish.


Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at and we will respond asap.