'Expendables': Who's the biggest badass in the cast?

ExpendablesImage Credit: Karen BallardLast week in the magazine, I put together a smackdown bracket game to try to figure out who was the biggest real-life badass in the cast of The Expendables. Round one consisted of a dozen he-men from the action flick, round two narrowed it down to six, then down to two, and then one final winner. The winner that I picked was Mickey Rourke. I was pretty clear about my criteria — I knew that guys like mixed martial artist Randy Couture could eat his lunch — but there’s something about Rourke’s crazy-eyed, unpredictable, wild card loco-ness that gave him the edge in a bar fight. Plus, he’d also been a professional boxer, so my choice wasn’t totally out of left field. At least to me. But ever since I put this game together, I’ve heard nothing but bellyaching from action movie fans: How can you say Rourke is more of a badass than Jason Statham? Or Stallone? Or Schwarzenegger? I even got a call from a guy at Ultimate Fighting who was ticked off that Couture wasn’t our biggest badass, as if this was somehow real science we were dealing in.

Anyway, all of this has made me think that it’s time to get the EW.com community involved in the debate. Below you will find the 12 toughest guys from The Expendables with a few words about each. Give them all a quick look-see, then at the end in the comments section tell us who you think is the biggest badass in the cast. Just to clarify: do not vote for who was the biggest badass in the film, vote for who in the cast would beat all the others in a no-rules bar fight in real life. Got it? Good.

1. Sylvester Stallone: Sure he’s 64, but the ringleader of The Expendables was also Rocky Balboa and Rambo — two of the biggest badasses in cinema history. Guys who not only knew how to dish it out, but also knew how to get beaten to a bloody pulp in the ring or tortured in a jungle camp and come back for more. Plus, do you know any other 64 year old who’s got muscles like his? The dude’s ripped! Bonus item to consider: in high school he was voted the student most likely to end up in the electric chair. That’s pretty badass!

2. Jason Statham: In his Crank and Transporter films, the chrome-domed Cockney does a lot of his own stunts — especially the driving ones. And you have to admit, he sort of looks a bit like Bruce Willis back in his baddest of badass days: the first Die Hard era. But does the fact that Statham worked as a male model before he got into movies hurt his chances in this contest? Just something to think about.

3. Jet Li: I’ll be honest, I’ve never been the biggest Jet Li fan; I’m more of a Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan guy. But this isn’t about me, it’s about who you think is the biggest badass. The martial arts maestro could kick the snot out of just about any one in the world, but there’s some pretty big guys in this cast.

4. Dolph Lundgren: Or as I like to call him “The Swede Who’ll Make You Bleed.” Everybody remembers Lundgren as Ivan Drago from Rocky IV (“I must break you!”) and he was equally menacing in 1992’s Universal Soldier and any number of more recent straight-to-DVD action cheapies. He’s big, he’s got a black belt, he put Stallone in the hospital for 9 days when they were making Rocky IV, and then there’s this story: Last summer, a pair of burglars reportedly broke into Lundgren’s mansion in Marbella, Spain. As they were looting the place they saw a photo of him in one of the bedrooms and got so scared when they realized who they were robbing that they dropped their loot and hightailed it out of there. Classic.

5. Eric Roberts: He’s crazy (on screen at least) and he’s a loose cannon (ditto), but let’s face it, while Eric Roberts could definitely beat me up, he doesn’t really belong in this field. Save your vote.

6. Randy Couture: Okay, now here’s the guy I’ve gotten the most heat about not naming the biggest badass in The Expendables. He’s huge, he’s got a creepy cauliflower ear, he looks like a cross between Bob Hoskins and Thing from Fantastic Four, and he’s one of the world’s most lethal mixed martial artists. Overlook him at your own peril.

7. Steve Austin: a.k.a. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Pro Wrestler, all-around tough guy, looks like a human steamroller. Not the kind of guy you want to walk up to in a bar and tell that you think wrestling is fake.

8. Gary Daniels: This guy’s a dark horse, a sleeper. But he’s pretty badass. If you don’t know Daniels, he’s a British kickboxer who segued into a career of mostly straight-to-video action flicks in the ’90s. I’ve seen many of these movies and I’m here to tell you that as an actor he’s not gonna make DeNiro give up his day job, but as a guy who kicks the stuffing out of people for a living, he’s legit.

9. Terry Crews: A former NFL star who looks like a wall of muscles — his muscles have muscles. If you haven’t seen The Expendables yet, you’re gonna crack up when you see the gun that this guy uses in the film. It makes a bazooka look like a water pistol.

10. Mickey Rourke: See the intro to this blog post. What can I say? I like the guy in a bar fight against anyone. That’s just me.

11. Bruce Willis: It’s John McClane…yippee kay yay, motherf—-er!

12. Arnold Schwarzenegger: If you need me to tell you who this fella is, then I say this: Welcome to earth, I hope you enjoy our planet.

Okay, now time to vote. Let’s hear it…who is your biggest badass in the cast of the The Expendables?

Comments (119 total) Add your comment
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  • JMB

    Bruce Willis, baby. Tough and clever, wins every time. Yippee Ki Yay!

    • will

      Bruce Willis FTW…why isn’t this a poll?

      • MCS

        I agree, I definitely wanted a poll

      • Em

        Yes, agreed, poll please!

    • Tajah

      Bruce Willis!!!! Hot and tough. Yum!

    • RealCheck

      Only one who went up with the best of the best in MMA, is Randy!!!

  • daisyj

    See, to me this is really a two-part question: Who is the biggest real-life, fight-winning badass, and who is the best at playing one in his film career? For part one Coture is a no-brainer; even on the downslope of his fighting career he is still a serious threat in a fight– I don’t care how crazy the other guy is. For the movie side, I say it comes down to Arnie and Willis, with John McClane here getting the edge because he managed to kick ass all over the place while still seeming like a real person (just a very badass one.)

    Mickey Rourke? Yeah, no. Sure, he’s probably unnerving to interview, but just because a guy is loopy enough to believe that he can really be a boxer because he played a tough guy in a movie does not a supreme badass make.

    • daisyj

      Sorry, that should be Couture. Bet nobody calls him “Juicy.”

    • Jason

      I like your take on this – it really is a fact vs. fiction question. On film, you need to give props to Stallone and Arnold. One was Rambo and the other was the Terminator. They both took a lot of abuse and kept on fighting.

  • pastafarian

    Dolph, for all the reasons stated in that other article. He’s big, he’s smart, he’s got a black belt, and he’s intimidating even when he’s not even in the room.

    • Jennifer

      As much as I love the Statham, I gotta agree with you on this one, Dolph for the win.

      • Steve

        Thirded – Dolph’s not only a third-degree black belt, he’s also got a degree from MIT! Meaning, he’ll kick your butt then make a dissertation about it afterwards…

  • Lauren

    #13 Charisma Carpenter…did you see her on Angel? :P

    • Jake

      I second that! I heard Stallone picked her after having seen her performance in her last episode of Angel. Pretty badass indeed!

      • Ryan

        Agreed, Charisma rules… here’s hoping they do that sequel and she gets to have a gun and a fight scene like she has been hoping for ;)

      • Liz

        As someone who was a long time Angel fan and still watches episodes from time to time I have to disagree. Charisma is eye candy that was taught to wield a weapon and she doesn’t do it well. I can’t see her ever competeing with any of these guys or even a majority of other female bad@sses. PS Angel was way better after she was gone.

      • Kate

        An Angel fan who thinks it was better when Charisma left, you are in a minority there!

        I think she should be included as well, she became pretty badass during her time on Angel!

  • Germán

    Top five list:

    1)Dolph Lundgren
    2)Mickey Rourke
    3)Steve Austin
    4)Jason Statham
    5)Terry Crews

    • poop

      2)Bruce Willis
      3)Sylvester Stallone
      4)Jason Statham
      5)Jet Li
      6)Mickey Rourke
      7)Dolph Lundgren
      8)Terry Crews
      9)Randy Couture
      10)Steve Austin
      11)Eric Roberts
      12)Gary Daniels

  • D

    In real life my money is on Jet Li. In a movie my money is on Arnie

  • Kiki

    Bruce Willis…because he’s the one I’d most like to make out with!

  • Jason

    DOLPH LUNDGREN without a doubt!!!!

  • Sean S.

    Jason Statham. Never underestimate the pretty ones. He’s the kind of guy who charms and seduces you into submission but will gladly kick your a** if that doesn’t get him what he needs.

    • Liz

      I agree. I had some trouble seeing him as a badass until I saw The Expendables. Then it was kind of like yea this man is sexy, armed, and dangerous.

    • Ayn

      I’m with you… I’m putting my money on Statham. My second choice is Bruce Willis, only because I’ve had a crush on him since his Moonlighting Days… I even forgave him for that horrible “Husdon Hawk” flick. :) (Now that’s fan love!)

  • Mea

    Bruce Willis. Stallone would kick your a$$ for you, sure. But once you were a puddle, he’d stop. Bruce would blow you away and walk without looking back.

  • rey

    5x ufc champion. capt america randy “the natural” couture.

  • Nikki

    Over all badass I am undecided. I saw the movie last night and it was great! But in this movie the badass was Jason Statham by far! He rocked that sh*t! Him and Stalone were the main body of the movie. But all were a part, it was great!

  • Noneya Biz

    mickey rourke, as a badass, I DON’T THINK SO!!! It looks the way it does because it has been beat down bad & often and the plastic work did not help! It has crazy eyes because his eye’s have been just about pounded out of his head! I saw one of it’s fights and his name should have been changed to, The Bleeding Human Punching Bag.

  • darclyte

    In real life? (1) Jet Li. He may be getting old but he’s a master at martial arts and incredibly fast. In his prime against any of these guys in their prime it wouldn’t even be a contest. (2) Randy Couture. The guy is a world class MMA fighter. Most of the rest of these guys are action movie actors. See the difference? (3) Gary Daniels. Former pro kickboxer. Again, the other guys are ACTORS. (4) Stone Cold Steve Austin. Yes, he was a wrestler with faked outcomes, but the training and the execution of moves was real. So were the injuries due to really doing the various stunts/bumps. (5) Mikey Rourke. Big, tough, strong, crazy and trained as a semi-pro boxer. After those 5, it doesn’t really matter. They may be strong and maybe can bar fight, but these first 5 guys have been professionally TRAINED to fight for real life fighting situations.

    • Greg

      I agree completely with your list because the last sentence says it all.

    • shamrock

      totally agree.

    • April

      I totally agree except maybe I’d switch Austin with Rourke. But definitely Li first. I would’t want to corner him in a bar and i’m sure he’s make his way out.

      • Steve

        Personally, I’d swap out Mickey Rourke for Dolph – I’d rather have a third-degree black belt in karate watching my back then a crazy semi-pro boxer.

    • Blake

      I gotta disagree about Li. Yeah is a master of Martial arts but he is like 150lbs soaken wet and Couture is 240 on a light day. Not good odds for any little guy.

  • Jake

    seriously? Scwarzenegger is THE action hero, and a body building legend. He could kill a man with both arms tied behind his back, while sleeping. It’s not even a question.

    • Bubba

      Exactly! Then Mickey Rourke is second

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