Millennium Films, the Israeli-born production company behind all three EXPENDABLES movies, is apparently bankrolling THE EXPENDABELLES, which is exactly what it sounds like: an all-lady version of the star-wrangling action franchise. One would think I in particular would be a champion of this idea, but one would need to read the extended pitch first. Here it is, via Deadline:
When America’s Navy SEALs are wiped out trying to penetrate the island lair of a deadly despot who has captured one of the world’s top nuclear scientists, it becomes clear that there is no such thing as the right man for the job and that this is a mission so impossible that only women can handle it. The only way in: some of the world’s deadliest female operatives must pose as high-class call-girls shipped in by private plane to satisfy a dictator – and instead save the scientist and the day.
Yeah. That’s atrocious. First of all, what do they have against the cast of ACT OF VALOR? Also, you know, phenomenally sexist. Here’s a must-read reaction to that news, from a writer who pulls no punches. I’ll try to be just a little bit friendlier, since due to the immediate disgust having greeted that premise online, Millenium Films has since revised their pitch. Let’s try that again:
The Expendables universe has a new team. An elite group of highly trained female mercenaries are brought together for a covert hostage rescue mission. Once they are behind enemy lines, the women discover that they will also need to topple an evil dictator bent on world domination. It becomes clear there there is no such thing as the right man for the job. The Expendabelles is the ultimate story of female empowerment and kick-ass teamwork.
Still a big ugh. And it doesn’t stop there. The writers are Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah, who provided scripts for LEGALLY BLONDE and THE UGLY TRUTH. The director is Robert Luketic, who called the shots on both of those movies. The closest this goofus has gotten to the action genre is KILLERS, which paired Katherine Heigl with the deadly (box-office-wise) Ashton Kutcher. Not saying a romantic-comedy-for-airplanes filmmaker can’t bring a fresh take to action and blossom in a new genre; only that this guy probably can’t.
Somehow, Sylvester Stallone has his name on this thing as a co-producer. He’s not a dumb guy. He needs to make a decision: Is this going to be the bad-ass gender-flip genre classic it ought to be, or is it a lame joke (which nobody will attend)? There’s no reason an all-woman cast can’t lead up a shitkicking action movie. In fact, it’s high time. But trust me: Angelina, Sigourney, Michelle Rodriguez, anyone else who the internet is dying to see in a movie like this one — these ladies ain’t going near this version of this material.
The other option, of course, is to find the modern-day Andy Sidaris. If art and progressive gender politics and sincerity and gravity are out the window, go all-out and embrace the piggishness. But do not go the fuck halfway. It’d be better to give that money to charity than to make this movie, because throwing it away would be wrong.
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