Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.
With The Expendables 2: Real American Heroes Arnold Schwarzenegger is definitely back in the hearts of Comic-Con fans, dominating the movie panel and the cheers. He also revealed that a Twins sequel (possibly called Triplets) was in the works. Schwarzenegger also hinted that the cartoon The Governator, put on hold after his sex scandal, may not be dead after all.
Is the film’s subtitle a subtle slam at the now-postponed G.I. Joe sequel, considering that the G.I. Joe toy line characters were “real American heroes” until the first movie made them international and based in Egypt? If so, it’s likely the only subtle thing about this crowd: Sylvester Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Coutoure, and Terry Crews (no Jean-Claude Van Damme or Chuck Norris) all on one stage, moderated by Geoff Boucher of the LA Times’ Hero Complex blog, who looks a bit more up to the task than Harry Knowles was last time there was an Expendables panel.
Things kicked off with the existing trailer, and then Boucher got everyone in the Hall to yell “Yo Adrian!” in unison. Stallone came out, and we saw a career highlight reel scored to an industrial Black Sabbath remix with bass so hard the walls shook.
Stallone described The Expendables as “male-pattern badness.” He said “You find out what works from the first one, and try to amplify it.” He said he thinks this one surpasses the first because he figured out what works, and it’s all about the tone and everybody being on the same page. Then it was time to bring everybody out.
But before Arnold came out, it was time for a Schwarzenegger montage (surprisingly including Mr. Freeze from Batman & Robin) to remind us how we loved him before he was the Governator. Partial standing ovation from the crowd, most of whom were standing up to get a better photo.
And of course, he said: “I’M BACK!” And boasted that he killed more people onscreen than Stallone – 289 versus 288. The cast hazed him a bit, condescendingly showing him how to throw a punch and load a gun again. “You wish you could do some of those things when you’re in politics, but you can’t.”
Crews got the most hoots from the ladies in the crowd. “I’m from Flint, Michigan. I should be in jail.” He does the pec pop, like The Rock in Journey 2. Schwarzenegger complimented him on his physique. Crews responded, “I can die now! Arnold liked my muscles!”
Schwarzenegger praised Lundgren’s martial arts background, and that of Van Damme. Called Randy Coutoure the greatest UFC fighter. Said it was a natural for him to team with Stallone, because they both like onscreen violence, they both like fitness, and nobody can understand either one. Arnold joked that Sly was his first English teacher, to which the response was “We should have a spelling bee!” Stallone remembered thinking anyone with a name like Schwarzenegger was doomed to failure. Arnold remembers when they met at the Golden Globes, Stallone’s mom said he looked like a piano mover.
Schwarzenegger, speaking of himself in the third person: “Some people say Arnold was gone from acting for eight years. Others say he was never in acting in the first place!” He heartily thanked the fans and clapped for them.
A fan dressed as Conan and talking like Arnold asked about King Conan. Schwarzenegger didn’t say yes or no, but delivered his famous “Crush your enemies” line from the first film, to many cheers. Another fan asked what was up with the three seashells (future LA’s substitute for toilet paper) in Demolition Man. Stallone responded he was told it was kinda like chopsticks.
Stallone said his favorite Arnold movie was Junior “and he loves Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.” Seriously, though, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, he adds. Arnold dodged by saying he loves all Stallone’s franchises: Rocky, Rambo, and Expendables, then praised Stallone’s painting skills.
Stallone interjected: “The more injured I get in a film, the better it does, so hopefully I get beheaded in the next movie.”
Finally, a clip was shown of a massive shootout in an airport terminal between The Expendables and Van Damme’s goons. Fans cheered when Norris saved Stallone; more so when Schwarzenegger said “I’ll be back,” and Bruce Willis responded, “You’ve been back enough times. I’ll be back!”
Schwarzenegger did come back … onstage, to get the Inkpot award for achievement in the arts.