Posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 by Hunter Stephenson
A few days ago when Forest Whitaker was replaced by a rapper, I stopped caring about The Expendables. Even though he’s been papercut twice (or something), 50 Cent is just too much the chump to be cast in this PG-13 movie that’s ostensibly a 24-pack of ’80s, ’90s and ’00s action staples. And however one characterizes co-star Eric Roberts when sober. Sylvester Stallone pays close attention to the Web, so he quickly ditched Fiddy for Terry Crews, a smart decision, though subbing in The Thing’s Keith David or Mike Tyson (The Hangover) would have ignited big geek fireworks.
But still the question remained: where the hell was Kurt Russell, the guy who made Steven Seagal his marquee bitch (Executive Decision) and once referred to Stallone as “Armani with a badge”? Slashfilm previously requested Russell’s participation, and today Stallone called him out on, yep, Stallone Zone…
I know that many people on the site have asked for Kurt Russell. I asked for him too. Actually, I was taken aback when asked to put the request in a letter and send it to his agent. Subsequently, I was called back by the agent several days later after refusing to send a letter and he said Kurt Russell is not interested in ‘ensemble acting’ at this time.
So, People, I came, I saw, I failed.
I’m not too surprised at this. In recent interviews, Russell has seemed especially over Hollywood and the fame-game. Not only was Poseidon the definition of an event movie flop, but I actually think Russell would have benefited by not starring in Death Proof. It was one of the rare instances–surpassed only by Michael Keaton’s severely under-used performance in Jackie Brown–where Quentin Tarantino’s midas touch was reserved for other participants (and tits and ass). Bittersweet, much.
So is Russell opting out here for the best? Regarding The Expendables, Devin at CHUD seems to think that Stallone is due for another characteristic giant miss after the successes of Rocky Balboa and Rambo. He also refers to the cast as “gimmicky.” A funny cloud of killjoy. Well, the PG-13 rating certainly lowers expectations for another carnage-fueled mind-sizzler, but the recent blockbuster success of Taken, a PG-13 film, shows that audiences are craving traditional actioners. Meanwhile, the plot set amidst violence in South America follows the headline-ripped settings and gung-ho pseudo-political themes that defined that latter film and the Rambo franchise. And, hey, not including rappers is half the battle.