* ActorAllusion: Lots:
** Christmas's girlfriend not knowing what he does--and him [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge promptly showing her]]--is a reference to ''Film/{{Crank}}'', another Creator/JasonStatham movie.
*** "Give this job to my friend here, [[Franchise/{{Rambo}} he]] [[Film/{{Predator}} loves playing in the jungle]], right?" Said to Creator/BruceWillis, who also had a [[Film/TearsOfTheSun battle-in-the-jungle film of his own.]] Then followed by this quip: "What's his problem?" "He wants to be president". This is a clear reference on Schwarzenegger's political career and the old buzz about him running for president.
*** Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger and Creator/SylvesterStallone are regarded as the best in their field; two musclebound action heroes and leading men who seem to be stuck in a friendly rivalry with each other; it's a mystery to everyone why they don't just work together. That's just their characters in the movie of course. In the real world that was only true in the eighties.
*** Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin has his climactic fight showing nothing but wrestling moves, fighting [[MixedMartialArts mixed martial artist]] and Greco-Roman wrestler RandyCouture.
*** While the car chase with Stallone driving a classic yet modified vehicle is similar to the one in ''Film/{{Cobra}}''.
*** In the chase scene during the first film, Creator/DolphLundgren wields one of the prop guns Thomas Jane used in ''[[ThePunisher2004 The Punisher]]'', a role he had [[ThePunisher1989 previously played]].
** In the sequel Gunnar shows that he is a chemistry engineer. Creator/DolphLundgren actually is one.
*** [[Creator/ChuckNorris Booker's]] nickname is Lone Wolf, a play on his film ''Film/LoneWolfMcQuade''. His name itself is a reference to ''Good Guys Wear Black''. He also mentions he was once bitten by a king cobra, and after 5 painful days, the cobra died, a reference to one of the many Website/ChuckNorrisFacts.
*** Creator/JetLi gets to do his specialty OneManArmy routine in the sequel armed initially with his fists, then with two frying pans; while Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme gets to do his specialty jumping roundhouse kicks twice against Stallone.
*** When Caesar is ordered to lend Trench his weapon in the sequel, he tells Trench that if he doesn't get his gun back he'll [[Franchise/{{Terminator}} terminate]] his ass. During the credits, Trench is shown with the left half of his face in shadow, with a bright flash where his left eye is.
*** The Brazilian dub takes the allusion up a notch, Trench's answer is switched from "Not even in your dreams" to "Not even in the future."
*** The sequel has [[Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger Trench]] announcing [[TheTerminator "I'm back!"]]. Cue briefly the Terminator's leitmotif. Additionally, he makes his BigDamnHeroes entrance in a tunnel borer similar to the ones in ''Film/TotalRecall1990''.
*** Church and Trench have this BorrowedCatchphrase exchange:
---> '''Trench''': I'm almost out. I'll be back!\\
'''Church''': You've been back enough! ''I'll'' be back! (moves off under fire)\\
'''Trench''': [[SarcasmMode Yippee-ki-yay]].\\
''[[Creator/ChuckNorris Booker]] drops in, guns blazing.''
--->'''Trench''': [[YouHaveGotToBeKiddingMe Who's next, Rambo]]??
*** The Russian dub added some more ActorAllusion to the above, with Trench's response being switched to [[Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay "Hasta la vista"]].
*** When Barney says "Rest in pieces!" in the sequel. Creator/DolphLundgren said something similar in ''Film/DarkAngel''.
*** When Billy runs straight up the mountainside in the sequel the whole team looks on in awe, with Gunnar in particular being impressed. Lee asks Barney if he could remember when he could do that and Barney says he can't. Sylvester Stallone's [[{{Film/Rocky}} most famous character]] has a penchant for running triumphantly up tall inclines and in one instance ran up a mountain as preparation for kicking Creator/{{Dolph Lundgren}}'s ass.
** Bonaparte's (Creator/KelseyGrammer) [[CelebrityParadox favorite show]] is ''Series/{{Cheers}}''.
*** You knew it was only a matter of time before Ahnold bellowed, ''[[Film/{{Predator}} "Get to ze choppa!"]]'' He also says [[Film/{{Commando}} "I lied."]]
*** HarrisonFord [[DangerTakesABackseat hiding in the back seat]] of a truck with [[IncrediblyLamePun FORD]] spelled out in big capital letters in front. Also [[spoiler:the GunshipRescue he pulls off in the final battle]] is no doubt a reference to [[StarWars Han Solo]], complete with [[spoiler:making his entrance by blowing up an enemy chopper]]. Ford is also a certified fixed-wing and helicopter pilot in real life.
*** When Toll asks Doc why he was caught after springing him from the train in the opening of ''3'', the latter matter-of-factly replies, "Tax evasion". Wesley Snipes, who plays Doc, was found guilty and sentenced for the same thing in 2008. The whole "Doc was in prison" thing might be a reference to Snipes's prison term in general.
*** BrianTyler's score sounds a lot like the {{Film/Rambo}} theme during the end credits.
*** MelGibson reverts to [[Film/LethalWeapon Martin Riggs]] during the final throwdown with Ross.
*** AntonioBanderas hitting on Luna in a [[ChewingTheScenery rather overblown fashion]] may remind some of Film/PussInBoots.
*** In one of Luna's first fights she gets a man in an arm bar and breaks his arm. This is pretty much RondaRousey's FinishingMove in her RealLife [=MMA=] career.
*** When Bonaparte and Barney watch Thorn scaling a sheer cliff, Barney immediately remarks [[Film/{{Cliffhanger}} "I could do that."]]
*** [[spoiler: [[JudgeDredd "I am the Hague."]]]] sounds awfully familiar coming from Sly Stalone's mouth.
* ActorSharedBackground: We learn Gunnar has a degree in chemical enginering, which Creator/DolphLundgren also has. Almost all of Gunnar's backstory (Swedish, Fulbright Scholarship to MIT, leaving to become a bouncer, having a relationship with a celebrity he met as a bouncer) is taken from Lundgren's actual life.
* AllStarCast: The whole point of the film, though most of the "stars" are past their glory days.
** Explicitly done by Stallone according to the other wiki. But not so much focused on the all-star part so much as the glory part. That is...
-->On his approach to casting, Stallone explained that he was looking particularly for actors who had not experienced recent significant success in film, saying: "I like using people that had a moment and then maybe have fallen on some hard times and give them another shot. So we’re always looking for actors like Michael Biehn and Michael Paré. I like those kinds of guys. Someone did it for me and I like to see if I can do it for them."
** Also given a nod in the sequel, where the team watched new blood Billy The Kid running full-tilt up a slope and Christmas asks Ross:
--> "Remember when you could do that?"
* AscendedMeme: The Expendables treat Creator/ChuckNorris's character with the same [[MemeticBadass reverence]] as the internet gives Norris himself, to the point where they make their own Chuck Norris Fact.
* BilingualBonus: the Somali in the film is legitimate, hilarious Somali.
* ClassicallyTrainedExtra: Not in the usual sense. General Garza's two bodyguards, who look mind-boggingly similar to one another? Twin [[UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts MMA]] fighters Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who currently compete in the UFC alongside RandyCouture. Sadly, they're not seen in any hand-to-hand combat.
* TheDanza: Vilain's first name is Jean. Van Damme has said that he could return for the next movie as his identical twin brother, named Claude Vilain.
* DoingItForTheArt: Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme refused to be in the first film without seeing a script first (which is why he wasn't in it), and even his role in the sequel was largely based on what he wanted to do with the character. In particular, the final fight between him and Stallone was originally going to be stunt-heavy involving a helicopter, but he insisted on a straight-up fist-fight because he knew his character needed to die in a very satisfactory way. Vilain even [[BreakingTheFourthWall breaks the fourth wall]] during the fight when Ross struggles to get back up to his feet. "Is that all? The people want more for their money!"
* DuelingMovies: Was released around the same time as the [[TheMovie film]] versions of the ''Film/TheATeam'', ''TheLosers'', and ''Film/{{Red}}'', as all four are very similar on the surface. ''Film/{{Machete}}'' also covers similar ground.
* FakeNationality:
** The "Somali" pirates that don't even look remotely Somali.
** The "Albanians" in the sequel are actually Bulgarian, and Vilain and his crew... aren't Russian, for obvious reasons.
* HeyItsThatGuy:
** [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Cordelia]] [[Creator/CharismaCarpenter Chase]] is Lee's girlfriend.
** ''Series/{{Dexter}}''[='=]s pal Angel Batista is General Garza.
** B Movie action fans (and there were probably a few in the audience) will recognize Gary Daniels as The Brit. Some may even recognize him as Kenshiro from the live action adaptation of ''Film/FistOfTheNorthStar''.
** Looks like [[Film/TheDarkKnight Sal Maroni]] was kicked out of Gotham City and set up shop in a BananaRepublic.
* HeyItsThatVoice: If you think the original version was good in the AllStarCast department, the Japanese dubbed version is the reunion of many of the biggest HotBlooded Badasses in anime history:
** Ross [[IsaoSasaki is]] [[Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman Joe The Condor]]
** Ying Yang [[Creator/ShuichiIkeda is]] [[Manga/RurouniKenshin Hiko Seijuro]] and [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam Char Aznable]] (But of course, [[Creator/ShuichiIkeda the dude's]] the official JetLi Japanese dub actor)
** Jensen [[AkioOhtsuka is]] [[Franchise/MetalGear Solid Snake]], [[MobileSuitGundam0083StardustMemory Anavele Gato]] and [[VideoGame/StreetFighterIV Seth]]
** Lee [[KazuhiroYamaji is]] [[AdventChildren Cid Highwind]] and [[Series/KamenRiderBlade Kei Karasuma]]
** General Garza [[MasaruIkeda is]] [[SakuraWars Ikki Yoneda]]
** Tool [[YoshitoYasuhara is]] [[RurouniKenshin Shinomori Aoshi]]
** Lacy [[AtsukoTanaka is]] [[GhostInTheShell Motoko Kusanagi]] and [[QueensBlade Claudette]]
** Monroe [[HochuOtsuka is]] [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Yazan Gable]] and [[{{Naruto}} Jiraiya]]
** Paine [[TaitenKusunoki is]] [[{{Naruto}} Ibiki Morino]]
** Mr. Church [[HidetoshiNakamura is]] [[TheKingOfFighters the other Seth]] (and also counts as HilariousInHindsight, albeit only [[TheOtherDarrin in the first film]])
** Trench [[Creator/TesshoGenda is]] [[VideoGame/SengokuBasara Takeda Shingen]], [[{{Naruto}} Kurama]], [[CityHunter Umibozu]] and [[{{Tekken}} Sergei Dragunov]].
** Billy "The Kid" Timmons [[Creator/ToshiyukiMorikawa is]] TekkamanBlade and [[DevilMayCryTheAnimatedSeries Dante]].
** Maggie Chan [[ChiakiKuriyama is]] [[Film/KillBill Gogo Yubari]].
** Toll Road [[Creator/KenjiNomura is]] [[VideoGame/BlazBlue Iron Tager]].
* IKnewIt: Lets see. In the sequel we get this [[RedShirt new guy]], [[OneOfTheseThingsIsNotLikeTheOthers who is full of energy and good spirit]], and lastly mentions [[{{Retirony}} is planning on leaving after finishing the month]]. What GenreSavvy fan of Action Movies didn't immediately guess he was going to be killed? Considering the audience these films are made for, [[IntendedAudienceReaction that may have been the point]].
* PlayingAgainstType:
** Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme playing as a villain...magnificently.
** Creator/MelGibson, much like Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme, [[Film/MacheteKills usually]] plays heroes or anti-heroes.
** Many ''Series/{{Dexter}}'' fans were surprised to see Angel Batista, one of the most consistently friendly, even-tempered, decent characters from that show, as a military dictator exploiting his island to fuel the drug trade.
* RealitySubtext:
** Doc, much like his actor Wesley Snipes, is initially prevented from working with the Expendables due to a prison sentence.
** This is why MelGibson plays the villain of the third film. After a recording of an anti-semetic drunken rant of his became public and the resulting public backlash damaged his career, it makes sense for him to play someone as loathsome as Stonebanks.
* SimilarlyNamedWorks: Not to be confused with a 1989 Vietnam War movie, a 2000 made-for-TV movie, or two musical bands (one American and one New Zealand) with the same name.
* ThrowItIn:
** Bruce Willis ad-libbed his jab at both Arnold and Sylvester about going down on each other; Stallone was initially disgusted, as revealed in commentary, but the line set the scene so well that it was kept.
** Also, in the first film, the seaplane was supposed to be an unarmed escape vehicle, but in between filming, Stallone noticed one of the crew climbing out from the nose hatch, learned that it was accessed from inside the plane, and was immediately inspired to turn the seaplane into a gunship.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: As mentioned in the description Seagal and Van Damme were offered roles but they turned them down due to problems with the producer and a dislike of his character, respectively. Also, Terry Crews' role was written with Wesley Snipes in mind. The role was almost filled by Creator/ForestWhitaker, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Creator/KurtRussell and Music/FiftyCent were offered parts but declined, and there are rumors that Creator/ChuckNorris was approached as well. {{IMDb}} claims Creator/DannyTrejo, Creator/DenisLeary and Alan [[{{Firefly}} "Wash"]] Tudyk were approached for certain roles that were written out when they had scheduling conflicts. Stallone wanted ''all of them'' if he could so we aren't sure if he wanted the [[AwesomenessIsVolatile universe to explode]].
** That would have been one hell of a DyingMomentOfAwesome though.
** There are also rumors that Bruce Campbell had been approached.
** In addition, Donnie Yen and [[http://moviehole.net/201255574comic-con-jackie-chan-in-expendables-3-maybe Jackie Chan]] were approached for the sequel, though Yen wasn't intrigued by the role and Chan had scheduling conflicts.
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