Trivia / The Expendables

  • Actor Allusion: Lots:
    • Christmas's girlfriend not knowing what he does—and him promptly showing her—is a reference to Crank, another Jason Statham movie.
      • "Give this job to my friend here, he loves playing in the jungle, right?" Said to Bruce Willis, who also had a 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.
      • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone 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.
      • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has his climactic fight showing nothing but wrestling moves, fighting mixed martial artist and Greco-Roman wrestler Randy Couture.
      • While the car chase with Stallone driving a classic yet modified vehicle is similar to the one in Cobra.
      • In the chase scene during the first film, Dolph Lundgren wields one of the prop guns Thomas Jane used in The Punisher, a role he had previously played.
    • In the sequel Gunnar shows that he is a chemistry engineer. Dolph Lundgren actually is one.
      • Booker's nickname is Lone Wolf, a play on his film Lone Wolf McQuade. 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 Chuck Norris Facts (and Norris' own favorite of the lot).
      • Jet Li gets to do his specialty One-Man Army routine in the sequel armed initially with his fists, then with two frying pans; while Jean-Claude Van Damme 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 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 Trench announcing "I'm back!". Cue briefly the Terminator's leitmotif. Additionally, he makes his Big Damn Heroes entrance in a tunnel borer similar to the ones in Total Recall (1990).
      • Church and Trench have this Borrowed Catchphrase 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: Yippee-ki-yay.
      Booker drops in, guns blazing.
      • The Russian dub added some more Actor Allusion to the above, with Trench's response being switched to "Hasta la vista".
      • When Barney says "Rest in pieces!" in the sequel. Dolph Lundgren said something similar in Dark Angel.
      • 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 most famous character has a penchant for running triumphantly up tall inclines and in one instance ran up a mountain as preparation for kicking Dolph Lundgren's ass.
    • In the third film...
  • Actor-Shared Background: We learn Gunnar has a degree in chemical enginering, which Dolph Lundgren 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.
  • All-Star Cast: Zig Zagged Trope. In casting the film, Stallone decided to go for actors who were past their glory days. No one is A-list material anymore, and some never were. But their names still cast long shadows. Per The Other Wiki:
    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?"
  • Ascended Meme: The Expendables treat Chuck Norris's character with the same reverence as the internet gives Norris himself, to the point where they make their own Chuck Norris Fact.
  • Bilingual Bonus: the Somali in the film is legitimate, hilarious Somali.
  • California Doubling:
    • The "Albania" of the sequel was filmed in Bulgaria.
    • In 2, the abandoned military "simulation town" is clearly a Hollywood studio backlot, most likely that of Warner Bros.
  • Classically Trained Extra: Not in the usual sense. General Garza's two bodyguards, who look mind-boggingly similar to one another? Twin MMA fighters Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who currently compete in the UFC alongside Randy Couture. Sadly, they're not seen in any hand-to-hand combat.
  • The Danza: 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.
  • Doing It for the Art: Jean-Claude Van Damme 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 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!"
  • Dueling Movies: Was released around the same time as the film versions of the The A-Team, The Losers, and Red, as all four are very similar on the surface. Machete also covers similar ground.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • 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.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: In the third film, Stallone told Antonio Banderas to "forget he was an actor" and expressly made him act the craziest way possible. The results were awesome.
  • I Knew It: Lets see. In the sequel we get this new guy, who is full of energy and good spirit, and lastly mentions is planning on leaving after finishing the month. What Genre Savvy fan of Action Movies didn't immediately guess he was going to be killed? Considering the audience these films are made for, that may have been the point.
  • Old Shame: Sylvester Stallone thinks that the third movie being rated PG-13 was a bad idea.
  • Playing Against Type:
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Doc, much like his actor Wesley Snipes, is initially prevented from working with the Expendables due to a prison sentence.
    • This is why Mel Gibson 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.
    • Possible case in that Barney's speech following Billy's death could also apply to the death of Stallone's son in Real Life:
    Barney Ross: Why is it the ones who deserve to live, that want to live the most, die - and the ones that don't deserve to live, keep on going?
  • Similarly Named Works: 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.
  • Throw It In:
    • 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.
  • What Could Have Been: 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 Forest Whitaker, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Kurt Russell and 50 Cent were offered parts but declined, and there are rumors that Chuck Norris was approached as well. IMDb claims Danny Trejo, Denis Leary and Alan "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 universe to explode.
  • Written-In Infirmity: Randy Couture's ear deformity is now Expendables canon.