SDCC 2014: Mercenaries Debuts the All-Female Expendables

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SDCC 2014: Mercenaries Debuts the All-Female Expendables

Classic action heroines go to war in all-new feature

SDCC has become the place where fans assemble to watch blockbuster trailers, but it's also occasionally a place to debut whole movies. Infamous low-budget studio The Asylum kept up that tradition this year by premiering their new feature Mercenaries, an all-female takeoff on the Expendables franchise.

While the producers of Expendables are still supposedly assembling a team for their own "official" gender-swapped companion piece, The Expendabelles, Aslyum went ahead and scored Grindhouse: Death Proof breakout-star and Raze headliner Zoe Bell for a lead role, backed up by a cast of tough-girl mainstays of the 80s and 90s.

Onhand for the mayhem are martial-arts legend Cynthia Rothrock (China O'Brien, Rage & Honor I & II,) former Terminatrix Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3, Bloodrayne, Mortal Kombat: Conquest,) Brigitte Nielsen (Red Sonja, Rocky IV,) Vivica A. Fox (ID4, Kill Bill I & II) and Nicole Bilderback (Buffy, Dark Angel.) The film's plot concerns a rescue operation that involves infiltrating a women-only foriegn prison to rescue the kidnapped First Daughter, thus necessitating an all-female commando team. The film held its world premiere at Comic-Con on July 25th, with an August 5 release date currently slated.

Source: The Asylum

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I am so in that it's not even funny anymore. Just, bring it to me now, please.

I feel like Uma Thurman should be on this list. And Michelle Rodriguez.

Or maybe not, this is still The Asylum after all and star power can't fix everything.

These are always the best kind of movies, insane premises with no regard to sensibility. Of course being the Asylum with all Female characters, I wouldn't be surprised if it's all female fan service. That reminds me, need to watch Sharknado 2 on the DVR.

Beyond that, if this is as insane and awesome as I think it will be count me in. Seeing a bunch of Women kick some ass is a plus in my book.

This could actually be a really cool mo--

Oh, the Asylum? No, it's going to be terrible.

Also, you can't just say someone's from Buffy when they had an unnamed role in a single episode, particularly if you're trying to show that the person's a badass and they were essentially just one of Cordelia's groupies.

Okay, that's a pretty badass trailer!
I'm so fired up for this film!! Even if it's mediocre, I wouldn't care, I would go see it!!

Why call it Mercenaries, when they are all prison inmates?

WashAran:
Why call it Mercenaries, when they are all prison inmates?

It's an action movie. They could call it "Deliverance: Women Break In, Bad Guys Don't Check Out"

Deliverance being trying to deliver the hostage to their "employers"

Action movie titles don't need to make any sense. They just need to sound awesome.

And Mercenaries sounds awesome for an action movie so there you go.

Ok, the movie is likely to be crap, but still, pay them for giving it a go.

Still going to be better than The Expendabellies (really? Is that the best they could do.) which is being written and directted by the amazing team behind Legally Blond. Yeah. That sounds like its not going to be about shopping and high heels (not to mention the fact that XXbendables will be disguising themselves as Call Girls for their mission.. Just urgh.) At least this looks to be a decent action flick with women kicking ass. Even if the studio isn't the best around.

CrazyBlaze:
Still going to be better than The Expendabellies (really? Is that the best they could do.) which is being written and directted by the amazing team behind Legally Blond. Yeah. That sounds like its not going to be about shopping and high heels (not to mention the fact that XXbendables will be disguising themselves as Call Girls for their mission.. Just urgh.) At least this looks to be a decent action flick with women kicking ass. Even if the studio isn't the best around.

What was wrong with legally blonde?

Im genuinely curious since you're using this to set the bar for how bad the writers are. I mean it wasnt to my taste, but I've seen the rundowns of why it was a clever film, and the points in its favour are decent.

I don't know. Good for them for giving it a go, but The Expendables as a franchise is run entirely on nostalgic star power. If Red Sonya is the best they could get, I don't think this movie is going to make it.

Why Zoe why? You could've been in the original big-budget film and instead you went for the cheap knockoff cash-in. Ah well. I will bet money that there will be a lesbian subplot in this film, because this is Asylum pictures and they simply cannot help themselves, especially with the "ooh, women in prison" plot they're going for. So who do you think drops the soap in this picture?

I really appreciated the dialogue and back story of each character presented. I am interested to see how they deal with their inner demons and conquer social injustice. Also, someone kicks someone in the face a lot.

Well, it's from Asylum. The creative masterminds who brought us Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, Sharknado and Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls. So surely it won't be a shoddily-written knock-off with horrible directing, choreography and cinematography. Surely.

/sarcasm.

AwesomeDave:
Well, it's from Asylum. The creative masterminds who brought us Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, Sharknado and Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls. So surely it won't be a shoddily-written knock-off with horrible directing, choreography and cinematography. Surely.

/sarcasm.

Hey, Sharknado was a masterpiece, along other great works as the Mega Shark movies, Piranhaconda, Sharktopus, and Super Shark. It was mindless fun with sharks flying all over the place. I await the day I can watch the sequel when I get home. Well, they aren't movies that make you question things or will be writing about the amazing plot, but the terrible CGI along with the terrible writing with the ridiculous premises, is great fun to watch. If this movie is as ridiculous as those others, it will be great.

UberPubert:
I feel like Uma Thurman should be on this list. And Michelle Rodriguez.

Or maybe not, this is still The Asylum after all and star power can't fix everything.

Isn't Zoe Bell Uma's stunt double in a bunch of movies? If so, it's like you are getting her doppelganger!

CrazyBlaze:
Still going to be better than The Expendabellies (really? Is that the best they could do.) which is being written and directted by the amazing team behind Legally Blond. Yeah. That sounds like its not going to be about shopping and high heels (not to mention the fact that XXbendables will be disguising themselves as Call Girls for their mission.. Just urgh.) At least this looks to be a decent action flick with women kicking ass. Even if the studio isn't the best around.

Expendabellies or Expendabelles? Either way...sounds...unfortunate...and the other title sounds like a bad porn.

In all fairness, the sexploitation angle might work if presented in a "Grindhouse" (and sarcastically unapologetic) manner...much like the movie "Bitch Slap," which had half of Hercules/Xena's cast in cameos haha! If you haven't seen Bitch Slap, do so. I went in expecting utter garbage; but my friends sat me down, and I ended up liking it despite my better judgement!

Is it just me, or did the trailer look really "cheap"? I think I've seen short films on YouTube with a higher production value...

OT - I'm still not sold on the Expendables let alone this.

I recently had the chance to watch RAZE. Overall I was pretty impressed. I figured it would just be garbage torture porn but but the acting really carried it into a higher zone of quality. Zoe bell wasn't on my periphery until now but I look forward to seeing more of her films.

I found Charlie's angels pretty unwatchable because of how dumbed down the female characters were. Oddly if you want to see true intelligent mercenary female empowerment these days anime is the way to go. In fact the new Appleseed film just came out earlier this year. I could definitely go for more films like the long kiss goodnight, hanna and haywire. I didn't acre for kill Bill. It was ok. The thing with tarentino is that he can hide beind being avante garde when making shallow films. Pulp Fiction was quite good in that he wrote a decent interconnected story but the rest has been pretty meh.

This looks awful, like a bad made for TV movie.
I can't believe it is going to be in cinemas.
I presume it isn't getting an international release though?

Should I see this movie? I'll weigh the biggest pro and con:

Pro: the cast, featuring Zoe Bell (who I loved in Death Proof and Angel of Death), Vivica A. Fox (loved her in Kill Bill, Idle Hands, and Independence Day), and Kristanna Loken (serviceable in T3 and In the Name of the King). Also Brigette Nielsen but I've never really been a fan.

Con: it's The Asylum, they're incapable of producing a good film. The best one can hope for is "so bad it's good".

Man, I'm still split. I'll see it if I can get a hold of it but I won't hunt it down.

Operations:
This looks awful, like a bad made for TV movie.
I can't believe it is going to be in cinemas.
I presume it isn't getting an international release though?

Well this is Asylum. I've never seen them make a good movie. Most of their films aren't even so-bad-it's-good, and I've been a MSTie my whole life. But they've made bank on word of mouth for things like "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus" (and other movies in the "Mega Shark vs." series.) and more recently "Sharknado".

They're also known for their "mockbusters", low-budget movies with similar sounding names that come out on video around the time a big blockbuster is making the rounds. Example: When the first Transformers movie hit theaters in 2007 Asylum put out "Transmorphers" on DVD. It's a lot like those cheap knock off toys that you see in dollar stores designed to rip off confused, apathetic or just cheap old people buying gifts.

This wouldn't be the first time one of their "mockbusters" preceded the film it's meant to capitalize on by a few years.
Asylum came out with their own version of Edgar Rice Burrough's public domain story "A Princess of Mars" 3 years before disney did it with "John Carter".

No doubt this "Mercenaries" movie will get a fresh DVD release whenever "The Expendebelles" comes out.

If they were going for female Expendables, as in using actors from the 80's, where's Grace Jones?

MovieBob:
The film's plot concerns a rescue operation that involves infiltrating a women-only foriegn prison to rescue the kidnapped First Daughter, thus necessitating an all-female commando team.

Ugh. Just ... ugh.
I'd love to see Stallone do it (he seems to have the 80s action film down, after all) but this ...

This looks like shit to me. perhaps the Expendabelles will be better?

Man, if those frail pencil thin arms say anything to me, it's badass strength that can punch a 275lb man through a wall and can totally fire two desert eagles at the same time without incurring any injury... [/sarcasm]

Seriously, I wish they would use actually strong females in these kickass movie roles and not merely in-shape people.

UberPubert:
I feel like Uma Thurman should be on this list. And Michelle Rodriguez.

Or maybe not, this is still The Asylum after all and star power can't fix everything.

Rodriguez, Weaver, Foster, Lee-Curtis, Jovovich, Thurman, Carano and Davis, THE MEN WERE EXPENDABLE

Ahem, fair play to the Asylum for getting there first, but that's the cast I'd pay money to see.

fix-the-spade:

UberPubert:
I feel like Uma Thurman should be on this list. And Michelle Rodriguez.

Or maybe not, this is still The Asylum after all and star power can't fix everything.

Rodriguez, Weaver, Foster, Lee-Curtis, Jovovich, Thurman, Carano and Davis, THE MEN WERE EXPENDABLE

Ahem, fair play to the Asylum for getting there first, but that's the cast I'd pay money to see.

Jovovich will be in Expendables 3 I believe.

They could copy the Expendables script entirely and Bob will say it is the greatest movie ever.

But The Expendables SUCKS, anything that tries to ape it will suck just as much, though anything made by Asylum does to begin with.

The whole "Ironic Movie" fad is just a bad. This is so bad it's wrong... it's badong!

Elijin:

CrazyBlaze:
Still going to be better than The Expendabellies (really? Is that the best they could do.) which is being written and directted by the amazing team behind Legally Blond. Yeah. That sounds like its not going to be about shopping and high heels (not to mention the fact that XXbendables will be disguising themselves as Call Girls for their mission.. Just urgh.) At least this looks to be a decent action flick with women kicking ass. Even if the studio isn't the best around.

What was wrong with legally blonde?

Im genuinely curious since you're using this to set the bar for how bad the writers are. I mean it wasnt to my taste, but I've seen the rundowns of why it was a clever film, and the points in its favour are decent.

Perhaps he means that the Legally Blonde writers have no experience writing action films so therefore its not a good sign for the movie.

Frankly, this looks like something that would have been on USA Network (heavily edited) or Cinemax at two in the morning twenty years ago, only with a lower budget. I have a little bit of affection for Cynthia Rothrock and Zoe Bell, but I wouldn't ask either of them to carry a movie I expected to be any good.

A bad movie franchise with women instead of men doesn't magically become a good movie franchise; it just becomes a bad movie franchise with a novelty bullet-point.

This reminds me of 70's blacksplotation movies, except with women. I would watch a movie with female action stars, but this seems more like a movie making fun of female action stars. This movie seems to be actively working against the ideas it purports to be supporting.

P.S. The Expendables was terrible, but not terrible enough to walk out of. I didn't see the sequel, because I saw the first one.

P.P.S. "The Asylum" makes a lot of very bad movies so it's not surprising.

So Bob, given your hatred for "The Expendables", the entire premise, and the movies that inspired this and made these guys famous, does this mean you'll be attacking this one too, or does the gender swapping of the same basic premise inherently give it a pass?

That said the team of tough girls has been done before a few times via things like "Birds Of Prey", "Charlies Angels" and the like it all comes down to the writing and directing, and I'm not sure if "The Asylum" is up to it.

I'd also say that a lot of the gals on this list don't exactly strike me as even a *former* A-list of female action heroes especially seeing as most of them seem to have had bit parts, or were just involved. Unless she did something not mentioned here Vivica Fox did exactly one fight scene that I know of (Knife Fight with Uma Thurman) in ID-4 she played an exotic dancer whom I remember mostly running away from aliens with the first lady. Bridgette Neilson I can see to some extent since other than "Red Sonja" she also played a rather tough/sadistic warden in those "Caged Heat" exploitation films if I remember correctly (I'm not sure how being Dolph's Ice Queen wife seen in Rocky 4 qualifies her for a tough guy role), Kristanna Loken has has a prolific enough career in B-movies where I guess she fits the bill.

If they wanted to do an expendables type cast they should probably be looking towards those who were really big names and did some of these back in the day. For example if I was going to go for the "Expendables" vibe I'd be looking at people like say Pamela Anderson who did both "Barb Wire", and an action/bodyguard/detective show called "VIP" that failed epically. Tia Carrera did a few B-movies as well, but also held down an action/tough girl role for four years (a decent run by any measure) on late night TV in "Relic Hunter", while she hasn't really done a whole lot of actual action, Lori Petty has been in some off the wall action movies and such (Tank Girl, Booker, Brimstone) and can play crazy really well, bring her back as an
an old(er) lady to do that would probably work (since she was apparently not young when she did a lot of her stuff, I think she was like 40 when she did Brimstone but I could be remembering wrong).

Of course then again they are on a budget, and that means they probably can't go after even former A-list talent. One of the things about the Expendables is that it's a huge payday and apparently Stallone's big recruitment speech is to call some old former A-lister action guy and say "hey, your in a slump like most of us, but if you want to make an absolute crapton of money I've got this gimmick that as you can see has been working...." or so I've heard.

Likewise part of what made the expendables work was not just the heroes, but getting guys like Eric Roberts, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and Jean Claude Van Damme to play bad guys. You fill up a movie with all these tough girls, you
need to have some iconic tough girls for them to fight (unless that is both the list of the good guys and bad guys).

Ah well, we'll see what happens. It's not surprising sometime tried it to be honest.

fix-the-spade:

UberPubert:
I feel like Uma Thurman should be on this list. And Michelle Rodriguez.

Or maybe not, this is still The Asylum after all and star power can't fix everything.

Rodriguez, Weaver, Foster, Lee-Curtis, Jovovich, Thurman, Carano and Davis

The lack of Linda Hamilton saddens me :(

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