A.V. Club reported this. The Playlist reported this. Even Deadline reported this, but I won’t link to *them* out of flimsy anti-Nikki Finke principles. The proposed Expendables 3, a second sequel to a series I’ve never seen, has reached its apex of tongue-in-cheek absurdity and cast the master of tongue-in-cheek absurdity, Caaaaaage.
I’m not going to run out and watch the first two installments — not anytime soon, at least. But I will most definitely be catching this in theaters. Why? As I said, I can claim no legitimate fandom here. I groaned at most of the ‘I’m gettin’ too old for this shit’ moments from those Expendables 2 TV spots. (Actually, I may be violently allergic to most sequels.) But this news got me excited, not ironically because of Nicolas Cage’s acquired status as a hammy scene-chewer; but maybe ironically in that my own cataloguing of his oeuvre has birthed a fondness for his… multicolored goodness.
Cage has never had difficulty finding work. That’s become the har-de-har-har running joke these days anyway. It’s the ensuing success from those choices that often eludes him. Whether it’s from the current remission of the National Treasure films to the downward trajectory of Ghost Rider into lunacy, I sincerely want this man attached to a successful (potentially long-term) Hollywood brand. Dismiss this as sniffling condescension all you want. I don’t care. But I do have one request.
Please make Nicolas Cage one of the bad guys.
This is my lowly missive to Stallone, auxiliary producers, and whoever the hell ends up directing this bloated, age-spotted beast: THE CAGE has to be a villain. I mentioned my utter lack of Expendables knowledge, but it’s my understanding that the ubiquitous cultural annoyance of one, Chuck Norris, poked his head in for Expendables 2 as a rogue vigilante fighter and then cashed his check. For a guy pushing 75 (yes, really), I get that. But Nicolas Cage isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Just imagine The Cage as a high-strung corporate assassin for hire (shut up it could work) teaming with Mickey Rourke and setting the screen on fire as a numb-lipped Stallone looks on with an expression somewhere between ‘Tone it down, man’ and ‘Dear God what have I done?’ Perfection.
We’ve already got plenty of Nic Cage’s heroic ham fests. Really, apart from his ‘Fu-Manchu’ cameo and Castor Troy on a technicality every one of his roles could be filed under Blase Everyman or Heroic Nutjob — usually a combination of the two. You don’t even have to kill him. In fact, you shouldn’t. These movies make enough money, especially in foreign markets where a combined worldwide gross exceeds $560MM. Why ruin a good thing? If you’re going to sign the man, use him. A lot.
It’s too rare these days when one can claim the addition of The Amazing Receding Hairline to anything adds some freshness and youth. But this is an exception. Let’s not fuck up the goldenest of golden opportunities, m’kay?