All of the Expendables movies were packed with action stars and martial artists. But of the three casts, which one was the strongest of them all?
Of the three Expendables movies, which of the three had the strongest lineup? It’s the very nature of The Expendables franchise for its casts to be packed with action stars, so each of the three certainly had some strong, talented fighters involved in their respective stories. Each had a mix of actors with backgrounds in bodybuilding, martial arts, and professional fighting.
The three Expendables movies had a core cast that consisted of Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, and Randy Couture. All three also featured appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose importance to the story varied from film to film. However, the rest of the cast has fluctuated across each installment. All three movie’s Expendables lineups are filled out with big names in the action movie franchise, with actors like Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, and Wesley Snipes being used as one-and-done characters with major roles. Others, such as Scott Adkins and Steve Austin, have been brought in as side villains.
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When comparing the three casts, it’s wondering which one had the best lineup. In a contest that measures star power, The Expendables 3 would win this debate easily with names like Mel Gibson, Banderas, Snipes, and Ford helping to headline the movie. But when it comes to fighting skills and raw strength, the advantage would go to The Expendables 2. As noted above, all three shared the same main characters, so this question can only be answered by looking at the actors that were limited to only one or two appearances in the franchise. That’s primarily why the second movie wins in this regard, because it had Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, and Chuck Norris.
Van Damme, Adkins, and Norris are all real-life martial artists whose movies provide a great deal of insight into what they bring to the table as fighters. Norris, for his part, was a world champion in karate, whereas Van Damme and Adkins are experts in kickboxing and several other martial arts styles. Van Damme in particular has successfully maintained his reputation as one of the genre’s biggest stars by playing lead roles in martial arts movies for more than 30 years. Even now Van Damme still does many of his own action stunts.
Of course, that’s not to say that Expendables and Expendables 3 don’t have some impressive additions of their own, with former WWE wrestler Steve Austin in the first movie and both Snipes and Ronda Rousey appearing in the third film. Even so, that’s not quite enough to offset what Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Adkins added to the core group in The Expendables 2, further strengthening an imposing gathering of action stars that already included Stallone, Lundgren, Li, and Statham.
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The Expendables 4 (2022)Release date: Apr 23, 2022
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About The Author
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Nicholas Raymond is a staff movies & TV features writer for Screen Rant. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Montevallo, and is the author of the psychological thriller and time travel novel, “A Man Against the World.” Nicholas’ love for telling stories is inspired by his love for film noir, westerns, superhero movies, classic films, and ancient history. His favorite actors are Tyrone Power and Eleanor Parker. He can be reached by email at email@example.com and on Twitter at @cnraymond91.
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