2 Expendables Do The Heavy Lifting

Views on BG | August 16, 2012, Thursday // 14:47|  views

from The Star

by Bruce DeMara

Residents of Flint, Mich.: brace yourselves. That goes for Bulgaria too.

Randy Couture and Terry Crews, the two lesser known and therefore more expendable members of The Expendables franchise, are on the road promoting the sequel and it's fair to say feelings may be injured.

To wit: "Here I am from Flint, Mich. . .(and) by all intents and purposes, I should be in jail if you look at statistically where my friends are and where a lot of people from Flint end up," said Crews, an ex-NFL player who has carved out a muscular niche as an actor in television and film.

"To be in Hollywood and not only in Hollywood, but in the biggest movie in the world with the biggest stars in the world, it's not lost on me. It's one of those things where you kind of go 'holy cow' all the time. I'm just very appreciative and humble," said Crews, who returns as Hale Caesar, a weapons specialist — and second fiddle to action veterans Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Dolph Lundgren.

Couture, a retired mixed martial arts fighter and member of the Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Fame, had some well-meaning but rather undiplomatic words about Bulgaria, which subbed for Albania and Russia, and where most of the film was shot.

"We basically had the run of the country for the three months we were there. We could have done whatever the hell we wanted. 'You want to blow up the airport? Sure, no problem.' It didn't matter. We could do whatever we wanted, so we just made a much bigger film shooting in Bulgaria than we would have had anywhere else," Couture said, who returns as demolition expert Toll Road.

(In fact, the Bulgarian government fined a contractor attached the film for damaging a bat habitat at the historic Devetashka Cave, where a critical battle scene was filmed, prompting a Facebook call to boycott the film.)

Despite his background in MMA and UFC, Couture acknowledged his experience in hand-to-hand combat was not put to use in the film, in part because of the large number of aging action stars — Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and Arnold Scharzenegger among them — who demanded more screen time.

"It's a juggling act to make sure everybody gets their moment. There's a lot of masters to be served in a film like this with this cast of guys. When you look at the hierarchy there, I got my moments," Couture said.

Both actors defended the film's exceedingly graphic violence, including numerous instances of spurting blood, as well as the salty language that landed the film an R rating in the U.S. (though it's 14A in Ontario).

"I think they cleaned up a little bit of the language in the second one compared to the first one. It wasn't like the first one was raunchy, it wasn't. But I think they sanitized that a little bit and that's fine by me. I don't think that gratuitous language needed to be there," Couture said.

"But I do think when you shoot somebody, you want to know he got shot. And you definitely know that in this movie," he added.

"It's a violent world," Crews said. "I've seen pictures in the paper that were crazy violent. What is our overall theme, what are we trying to say? I feel that it really goes to those archetypes of good and evil. With The Expendables, it's such a wonderful piece. I think it really is a fun adventure movie and the violence is really just to show how evil the evil guys are and how good we are and I'm with it."

"I'm more concerned about the kinds of things they put in cartoons for that age group that has more trouble distinguishing between reality and fantasy. This movie is not made for those kids. This movie is made for an adult audience," added Couture, noting he won't be letting his 9-year-old son watch the films until he's older.

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Tags: the expendables, Bulgaria, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, randy couture, Terry Crews, expendables 2


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