“The Expendables 2” hit theaters this weekend, giving us another serving of classic action heroes. And in addition to a full plate of Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews, they’ve topped it off with iconic tough guys like Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and (cough, cough) Liam Hemsworth.
These legends of bad-assery have kicked the crap out of robots, Predators, Communist boxers, Skeletors, kung-fu masters, secret underground fighting rings, inter-dimensional duplicates, terrorists, the Yakuza, the Triad, the Mafia, Riggs and Murtaugh. With a body count totaling in the thousands, you can see why it’s a challenge to find the absolute best, toughest, most memorable fight scene for each star. But if the Expendables can invade a hostile country, overthrow a corrupt dictator and put a stop to a maniacal rogue CIA agent, then putting a little list together should be a walk in the park for us.
So without further adieu, here’s our not-so-scientific (because who needs science when you’re crushing skulls?) ranking of the best fight scenes from every star of “The Expendables 2.” (WARNING: Some of these fights are NSFW)
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Sylvester Stallone, “Rocky”
You want inspiration? You want to learn how to tough it out? Then watch this fight — possibly the greatest boxing fight in the history of cinema — and you’ll want to go the distance. <em>Yo Adrian! </em>
Arnold Schwarzengger, “Terminator 2”
Schwarzenegger is a friggin’ superhuman, so it takes a special effects budget in the ballpark of $ 100 million to do justice to his ass-kicking skills. The battle between Arnie’s T800 and the liquid-metal T1000 features guns, explosions, trucks, factories and robotic body parts getting ripped to shreds. <em>This fight is totally metal!</em>
Bruce Willis, “Die Hard”
Yeah, Hans Gruber is the lead terrorist, but the balls-out gnarliest fight for John McClane comes from Hans’ right-hand man, Karl. With the clock racing and hostages at risk on the rooftop, Bruce has to wrap up the hard-hitting scene with a heavy chain that leaves Karl hanging.
Jason Statham, “The Transporter”
Jet Li, “Fist of Legend”
It’s almost not fair to include the unbelievable Wushu master that is Jet Li. He makes all these old white guys look silly with their slow-moving “hi-ya!” battle cries. But we have to give props to “Fist of Legend” for having the guts to remake a Bruce Lee film and pull it off,<em> and</em> for giving American audiences their first taste of genius fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (“The Matrix,” “Kill Bill,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”).
Dolph Lundgren, “Showdown in Little Tokyo”
Haha, wow! As this scene goes on, it just gets more ridiculous… <em>ly awesome</em>. A sword fight in the middle of a parade, between “He-Man” and the guy that played “Shang Tsung” from “Mortal Kombat”? Sure, why not. They really know how to go out on a high note.
Terry Crews, “The Expendables”
Randy Couture, “The King of Queens”
Randy Couture is a legit badass with one of the most legendary UFC fighting records, but his acting career has been mainly direct-to-DVD. Fortunately Randy doesn’t have to try too hard in this goofy scene from “The King of Queens” — marking the first crossover between Kevin James and Mixed Martial Arts, a relationship considered to be “the chocolate and peanut butter” of human achievements.
Chuck Norris, “Way of the Dragon”
Long before he turned into a played-out Internet meme, ol’ Chuck was going toe-to-toe with Bruce Lee. Lee may have been a gifted competitor, wise philosopher, cultural ambassador and influential role model… but he doesn’t have a glorious mane of chest hair like Norris. <em>Keep that thing away from an open flame! </em>
Jean-Claude Van Damme, “Bloodsport”
It’s a pretty good scene, but you know what it could use? <em> More yelling. </em>
Liam Hemsworth, “The Last Song”
If Sly, Arnie, Dolph or Jason want to push this kid around, they better think twice. Cause if you’re gonna step up to “Will Blakelee,” you best come correct.