Blood Brothers: Once you fight side by side with them, you are a brother (or sister) to them for life, even if you're not a part of the team.
Combat Pragmatists: Using mooks as human shields, drawing guns in hand to hand combat situations, improvising weapons from everyday objects, strikes to the groin...all par for the course with these guys.
Cool Old Guys: Before the addition of Liam Hemsworth and Yu Nan in the second film, Statham was the youngest actor in the group, he was 42 by the time of filming. Stallone is in his mid 60's, and Norris (the only cast member to have fought TheBruce Lee himself) is in his 70's.
Dysfunctional Family: They may argue, they may disagree, they may even fight, but they really do love each other.
The leader of the team, Ross is an aging pistolero and mercenary with a jaded attitude and the conviction that nothing he does is making the world a better place. He does possess an actual moral compass however, and tries to take jobs that hurt only the bad guys.
The youngest member of the original team, Lee Christmas is a career mercenary and blade specialist, who serves as Ross' Number Two and reality check. He has a rocky relationship with his girlfriend, Lacey.
One-Man Army: While all of the Expendables kill way, way more than their fair share of mooks, Christmas usually gets the lion's share; in the second movie he kills more than Toll, Gunnar, and Caesar put together - though about a third of those came from blowing up the bridge at the beginning of the movie.
Showy Invincible Hero: Though most of the Expendables fit this already, Christmas is a particular example, with greater emphasis on theatrical (but no less efficiently lethal) techniques. Especially notable in the second movie, where Barney convinces him to do the whole church ambush by just appealing to his ego and the flashiness of the whole thing.
The smallest and lightest member of the team, Yang is a close combat specialist who has known Ross since day one, and is the first one to follow him when he decides to go ahead with the mission to the island. He claims to have money problems, and is frequently mocked and belittled by Gunnar.
David Versus Goliath: In his battle with Gunnar. Although it's also an aversion of this trope; Yang would have been killed if Barney Ross hadn't intervened.
Fragile Speedster: Not as muscular as the other Expendables, though he makes up for it with sheer speed. The sequel puts him firmly into Lightning Bruiser territory when he takes out a roomful of mooks alone with his bare hands and a pair of frying pans and comes out unscathed.
Frying Pan of Doom: Uses two to take out five mooks in the opener of the sequel after his gun jams.
Large Ham: Especially when compared to most of Li's other roles.
Put on a Bus: Appears in the opening sequence at the start of the second film, but parachutes into China with the rescued official and isn't seen again. Prior to his leaving Gunnar asks when he'll return, to which he replies "Maybe soon...maybe never." leaving it open for the bus to come back.
Badass Bookworm: Toll Road is implied to be fairly well read. In the first movie, when the crew is heading back after their securing the hostage mission, most are maintaining their weapons or flying the plane while he is studiously reading a book with his reading glasses on.
Badass Grandpa: Like many members of the team. Given that he's the one to eventually take out Paine, he may well be the most badass of them all.
The team artilleryman, Hale Ceasar never enters a fight without a grenade launcher, a shotgun, or some other devastating fire support weapon. He's one of the more cheerful members of the team, and in terms of sheer muscular power, the strongest.
Cool Gun: His AA-12 shotgun note at least until Trench takes it away from him in The Expendables II and humorously crosses with Cargo Ship as Hale does not want to give it up to Trench. There's also his Milkor mutiple grenade launcher in The Expendables II that's loaded with buckshot rounds, though he actually only borrowed it from Gunnar.
Shotguns Are Just Better: Seems to think so, given his taste of using shotguns. Even after losing his beloved AA-12 to Trench, he gains a Benelli M4 Super 90 shotgun and uses the aforementioned buckshot MGL.
A shellshocked lunatic with drug abuse and rage problems, Gunnar is a hulking bruiser who is willing to kill anybody, ally and enemy alike. He has issues with Yin Yang in particular.
Actor-Shared Background: Aside from sharing a birthday with his actor (which seems to be the case with all of the characters), he also has a degree in chemical engineering, had a Fulbright scholarship to MIT, and left to become a bouncer, much like Dolph Lundgren.
Cool Gun: In the sequel, he carries, as his primary weapon(!), a Milkor MGL multi-shot grenade launcher, during both the opening rescue (he loans it to Caesar after Trench takes his AA-12), and again carries it as his main gun during the airport shootout.
Drugs Are Bad: Gunnar has a recurring substance abuse problem (heavily implied to be crystal meth), which helps to explain some of his attitude problems.
Easily Forgiven: Despite betraying the team in the first movie, they don't seem to care much afterwards.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: In the first movie, he leaves the group due to a falling out with Barney with his drug problem, and then joins Munroe's team, betrays them during a car chase to try to kill Barney and Yin Yang, and gets shot by Ross. By the end, Gunner is back with their good graces, and stays a face during the sequel.
Knife Nut: Carries a huge bowie knife. During the climactic airport shootout in the sequel, this appears to be the ONLY weapon he is carrying as backup to his grenade launcher!
Lack of Empathy: Everyone, even Shell-Shocked Veteran Barney Ross, were horrified by the stories of Vilain's atrocities; Gunnar alone remains callously indifferent. Although he did appear to be legitimately saddened, and even seems to wipe a tear from his eye at Billy's funeral.
The Casanova: The first time we see Tool, he is accompanied by a gorgeous, buxom blonde young enough to be his daughter. And based on comments made by his friends he's quite good at seducing women... but not so good at keeping them.
Knife Nut: Not to the same extent as Christmas, but he has his moments.
A new recruit in the second film, Billy is an Afghanistan veteran whose faith in the US Army has been shattered. He doesn't yet know if the mercenary life is for him, but he doesn't have many other options.
Nice Guy: Especially when compared to his teammates.
New Meat: Though the Expendables aren't military, he seems to be their version of this - he's a new member of the group, doesn't seem to be as muscular as everyone else, and nicknamed "the Kid". He also refers to Ross as "Sir", whereas everyone else just calls him Barney.
Retirony: He's not sure that the mercenary life is for him, and he's planning on finishing up at the end of the month.
A CIA agent assigned to assist the team during the second film, Maggie is a technical genius, and a physical match for any of the men on the team.
Action Girl: Completely shatters the stereotype of the 1980's Asian damsel in distress; aside from being pulled away from flying debris once, she is intelligent, brave, completely independent and an equal to every male Expendable (and possibly even better when it comes to interrogation).
Badass Bookworm: Arguably more educated than every man on the team, a fact that Barney grudgingly shows respect for.
Even Evil Has Standards: Disapproves of killing family members. He also seems to have a problem with the general level of callousness that Munroe displays; while Garza is willing to kill to maintain power, he's not nearly as casual about it as Munroe and Paine are.
Four-Star Badass: We never get to see him fight, but this is certainly implied. After all, when you're a twenty-first century dictator you don't threaten a man with a sword instead of a gun unless you're also a certified badass.
The Generalissimo: Garza is one of the rarest characters in Western film—the sympathetic South American generalissimo.
Glorious Leader: If the posters of him all over the island are any indicator.
Noble Demon: Though he's a dictator, he would rather be ruling peacefully than having to oppress his people and grow drugs for his CIA dealer. He even admits that his daughter is who he should have been.
Rousing Speech: Gives one to his troops from his balcony during his Heel-Face Turn, where he apologises for his actions and urges them to help him drive the Americans out.
Played By: Eric Roberts
A rogue CIA agent, drug smuggler, private military contractor, and all around bad guy, James Munroe defected from the agency to help Garza run his drug business. Completely ruthless, he is the power behind the throne.
Munroe: How did two obvious professionals pass right through security personnel, kill 41 soldiers and get away? With help, that's how. Everything's under control, except one detail, a daughter who wants her father and company dead and gone. Bad Shakespeare. Somehow the company parasites got to her. Look, she's your daughter, and that's tragic. But blood or not, she's goes. Call it the price of doing business.
General Garza: You don't kill your familia.
Munroe: Come around my house during the holidays, pal.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Has no idea why Ross comes after him, and is convinced that he must be doing it for the money. "What're they paying you anyway. I would have payed you twice as much. To go FISHING!"
Evil Counterpart: Positions himself as one to Ross during his rant at the end. It would be more accurate to say that he's one to the team as a whole, as a CIA agent turned mercenary who is willing to cross far more lines than they are.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Manages to not only take out Garza and three guards while restraining a struggling Sandra with the other arm, but to do so before any of them can so much as raise their weapons, let alone return his fire.
Meaningful Name: His name is suspiciously close to that of US President James Monroe, who proclaimed South and Central America to be the US's backyard, and started the American tradition of interfering in those countries.
Ex-US military, and with ties to the Central Intelligence Agency, Paine is a private military contractor and Drill Sergeant Nasty who Munroe brings in to act as his right-hand man, and train Garza's special force. A thug at heart, he handles the jobs that Munroe does not trust Garza's men to do properly.
Badass: The only character in either film to actually defeat one of the Expendables in a more or less fair fight. He's an evil, evil thug, but definitely a badass.
Dumb Muscle: Averted. Paine looks the part of the huge, unintelligent thug, but what dialogue he has, coupled with what Munroe says about him, suggests he's ex-US military and actually quite bright (he's the one who trained Garza's special forces for one thing).
The villain of the second film, Jean Vilain is a mercenary and arms dealer who hopes to make a killing selling the lost plutonium to the highest bidder. He claims to admire and respect the Expendables, and views Ross as a worthy adversary.
Determinator: Every bit as tough as the Expendables, and just as willing to power through the pain.
Face Death with Dignity: When Barney's finally beaten him, he pulls himself back up and turns to face him, and accepts his impending death.
Faux Affably Evil: Along similar lines to Bane, he acts like a cheerful chap who treats everyone very non-formally, and will often happily talk about philosophy. He also does so while brutally murdering innocent people.
Foil: As Vilain himself notes twice on the movie, both him and Ross are "Natural Warriors" who live their lives in battle and can do that job better than anyone else, but Vilain is a merciless Blood Knight with no moral boundaries whatsoever while Ross is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who always tries to help people when he can.
Vilain: Respect must be taught, for without respect, we're just people. Common, shitty people.
Terrorists Without a Cause: Zigzagged. He seems very interested in selling the plutonium quickly and for a large amount of money, but never speaks of what he would plan to do with such money, and expresses excitement at what a potential 'game changer' introducing a large amount of such merchandise to the global power struggle would be.
Worthy Opponent: Considers Barney one, enough so that when they finally face one another, he and Barney both discard their guns and knives and fight hand-to-hand.
Played By: Scott Adkins
Vilain's Number Two, Hector is his main enforcer, and handles most of the unit's intimidation. He and Lee Christmas quickly develop a mutual dislike of one another.
The Not-Love Interest: There seems to be some chemistry between her and Ross, but nothing ever comes of it - his primary reason for saving her is that she's a resistance leader and because he knows he'll regret leaving her.
Rebellious Princess: Not really a princess, but given that she's the daughter of the leader of a military junta, she might as well be.
Combat Pragmatist: He has no qualms with using one militiaman as a human shield while gunning down the rest, then tossing said militiaman into an airport x-ray scanner and shooting him.
Hero of Another Story: While the Expendables were doing their thing, he was already on his own separate mission fighting the Sangs. There are also stories told about him, despite having never met him, Gunnar has clearly heard of him, asking "Aren't you the one they call The Lone Wolf?".
I Work Alone: Says as much after saving the Expendables from the Sang.