As the world’s media crank up the excitement level for the Cannes Film Festival, reports are that Sylvester Stallone and his “Expendables” brought the main thoroughfare to a standstill as this geriatric action-man Peter Pan and his lost boys rode tanks down the Croisette to an appreciative crowd. While Stallone’s film The Expendables 3 is not a Cannes entry, the “boys,” and one girl were there to hype their latest and provide some publicity in terms of photos and banter.
At two years past traditional retirement age, the 67 year-old Rambo star has turned old age into a respected and, seemingly, fun time of life. Stallone is the oldest member of the core group, being one year older than Arnold Schwarzenegger, and co-star Jason Statham is not quite the baby of the group at a mere 46, instead, Terry Crews is the youngest at 45. The rest of the “regulars” are in their 50’s and despite the use of stunt men in the films very active for their age set.
Stallone has slowed down a little in terms of production on the Expendables films. In the first, he directed the feature on top of starring in and co-wroting the screenplay. Sly soon figured out that this was way too much of a commitment on his time and for the next two films, he stepped back and allowed others to direct his work.
Even relinquishing the driver’s seat, Sylvester Stallone, with his, almost geriatric, Expendables, fills the fictional shoes of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and the lost boys. This older group of former action hero stars are expending more energy than men half their age. They could be blamed for Hollywood’s new mind set that all leading men must be lean, mean, muscle bound, six-pack toting action men. This group of beefed up seniors have probably done more to increase sales of creatine and steroids than Arnold Schwarzenegger did in his Mr Universe days.
On a side note, looking at all the pictures taken of the “boys” at Cannes it is amazing to realize that compared to his co-stars, Antonio Banderas looks tiny at his 5 foot 8 and one half inch height. Of course Wesley Snipes is only 5.9, so perhaps the two should stand nearer each other rather than too closely to the likes of Schwarzenegger or Dolph Lundgren. (Lundgren stands at 6 foot 5 in his stocking feet)
The grand tank run in Cannes on Sunday was a great chance for team Expendable to show their solidarity, their good natured banter and to show a lot of self depreciating humor. Stallone’s quip at knowing when it’s time to quit, agewise, which dealt with losing one’s buttocks suddenly in mid-movement, was received very well.
There was a lot of mutual “verbal” backslapping going on, with the former governor of California Schwarzenegger and Stallone building each other up in front of the crowd. Banderas and Harrison Ford, soon to be in the newest Star Wars, both added to the mutual admiration society.
With all this bonhomie and esprit des corps going on, it is easy to forget just how quickly things can change. When Bruce Willis, a regular in both 1 and 2 wanted more money for his increased screen time in The Expendables 3, both Stallone and the other producers screamed like raped panthers and gave Brucie babes the boot. Not only did Sly unceremoniously dump Willis, but he talked bad about the man on Twitter afterward.
Still, Sylvester Stallone, and his gang of Expendables have all admitted to being arthritic children who are forever young. In other words the geriatric Peter Pan and his Lost Boys will continue to have fun playing soldiers, or guns, or a variation of cops and robbers until its time for the wheelchairs. Of course one thing about acting like children is that sometimes this can come across as childish. Just ask Bruce Willis, the lost boy who got the boot.
By Michael Smith
The Washington Post