Some of these "Expendables" cast members have skeletons in their closets. Credit: Phil Bray
The Expendables are back, which is to say the third one has about two-thirds of them. Some have left (chiefly Bruce Willis) and still more AARP-aged badasses (and some young-uns) have joined the ranks. These are men (and in one single, solitary case women) with long, colorful careers, on-screen — and in some cases off. Here’s some ways these guys are sometimes crazier in real life than in the movies:
Sylvester Stallone Merits: As an improbable Oscar-winning screenwriter (never forget), Sly's a ringleader for aging asskickers everywhere. Sins: Stallone has few major scandals to his name. But he has plenty of questionable (and much, much worse) films on his CV. There’s no need to mention them (OK, just one: “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot”). But far more egregious is his habit of calling others — notably Willis, last year — greedy, considering no one has more unnecessary sequels to his name than the onetime (and probably future) Rambo.
Wesley Snipes Merits: A reliable action god, Snipes is also a very good dramatic actor when he does it (see: “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Jungle Fever”). Sins: There’s a reason Snipes hasn’t been on-screen since 2009’s “Brooklyn’s Finest”: He was in jail. In 2006 it was revealed Snipes had been not filing his federal income tax returns for years, on top of a pile of other charges that didn’t pan out in court. He was convicted and sentenced to three years. This is his comeback movie.
Dolph Lundgren would rather save a fake world in a movie than the real world through science. Credit: Phil Bray
Dolph Lundgren Merits: On top of playing He-Man (in 1987’s amusing cost-cutting “Masters of the Universe”), he also starred in “Red Scorpion,” produced by Jack Abramoff. And he boxed Rocky. Sins: This isn’t really a sin, but Lundgren chose what turned out to be a career as a second-rate action star over a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT, after finishing top of his class in chemical engineering at the University of Sydney. He was about to leave for America when he was spotted by Grace Jones, who made him her boy-toy and dragged him into the movies. And now he’s doing movies with titles like “Puncture Wounds” and “Blood of Redemption.”
Kelsey Grammer Merits: He scored back-to-back undying sitcom hits with “Cheers” and “Frasier,” and has since reinvented himself as a growling sociopath on “Boss.” Sins: You wouldn’t know it from the neurotic, button-up characters he tends to play (or his conservative politics), but Grammer has suffered substance abuse problems — which also isn’t really a sin. He is also the alleged star of a sex tape, though the footage has never surfaced. He also once voted for Michele Bachmann.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Merits: He’s one of many actors who’ve appeared in the films of Robert Altman (namely 1973’s “The Long Goodbye,” where he has a mustache and no lines). Sins: He was a shockingly sometimes almost-semi-liberal governor of California for many years, which arrived right when his mega-movie stardom was on the wane (and which has yet to return now that he’s free). While he was campaigning for his first term, allegations emerged about sexual misconduct when he was a young gym rat, as well as shocking comments about women. He also confessed to using steroids early in his career, but when they were legal and only to maintain, not expand, muscle size.
The Terminator and the guy from "The Mosquito Coast": together at last! (With director Patrick Hughes on the left.) Credit: Phil Bray
Mel Gibson Merits: One of Hollywood’s finest actors, Gibson can do intense and charming and much in between, and he’s responsible for a number of iconic screen characters. Sins: He has some issues.
Harrison Ford Merits: He’s Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan and that slimy guy from “The Conversation” who steals the movie whenever he’s in it. Sins: He’s a notorious crank — or at least that’s his persona. It’s not unearned: He understandably doesn’t like dumb “Star Wars” questions, but he always seems intimidatingly irritated, even if that’s part of his odd charm. If you ask him good questions — say, about his friendship with legendary French filmmakers Jacques Demy and Agnes Varda — he’s a peach.
Robert Davi Merits: One of the ’80s and ’90s most oily baddies, Davi haunts “The Goonies” and plays one of the more intense Bond villains in “License to Kill.” Sins: This guy’s pretty clean (unless you count writing the occasional right-wing column, which seems harmless enough). But we’ll bet a guy this interesting has gotten himself into all manner of amazing trouble.
Antonio Banderas (with Sylvester Stallone) doesn't really have any scandals. Credit: Phil Bray
Jason Statham Merits: Probably the last classical action hero, this bulletheaded god cranks out one fun genre movie after another, just like it was the 1980s, only with funnier movies (notably the “Crank” pictures). Sins: When he was younger he was forced by his father to be a street seller, peddling fake perfume and jewelry to make ends meet. He was even doing this when he was a model, even though he didn’t want to. But he got over that pretty quickly.
Good boys (and girl): Antonio Banderas has a recent (amicable) divorce, but he’s otherwise just a nice-seeming guy who likes being a ham. Jet Li is too busy perfecting his martial arts to get in much trouble. Kellan Lutz was in some terrible vampire movies, and a dreadful Hercules movie, but his real life seems fine. Real-life MMA star Ronda Rousey, as the youngest of the cast, and has nothing on her rap sheet except trash-talking — as if no fighter had ever done that.