SAN DIEGO - The "Expendables" panel at Comic-Con this afternoon was anything but.
Though only five of the upcoming sequel's main cast members - Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren - came out for the event, the Hall H crowd ate up every moment of the boisterous 45-minute Q&A, which was brought to life mainly thanks to Sly and the former Governator's incredible chemistry on stage (footage of a super-bloody airport shootout featured in the film was also on offer). From irresistibly bad puns and one-liners to anecdotes from early in their careers (did you know Stallone and Schwarzenegger met for the first time at the 1977 Golden Globes?), following are the top ten highlights from what will certainly go down as one of Comic-Con 2012's most memorable panels.
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger takes the stage
Following a kick-ass video montage of the "Terminator" star's incredible body of work and a warm introduction by Stallone ("one of my fellow brothers in the hard-R business," he quipped), Schwarzenegger was greeted to a standing ovation from a packed Hall H. His first words to the adoring crowd? "I'm back."
2. Schwarzenegger highlights his action-star rivalry with Stallone
"We've always been competing," said Schwarzenegger. "Over the last three decades, he's always like, 'Who killed more people? Who did the most brutal killing? Who was shooting more people? Who has more muscles? Who has more oil on their muscles?'" Ok, I'm pretty sure he was joking. Pretty sure.
3. Terry Crews and Schwarzenegger share a tender moment
After mentioning that he and Crews previously acted together in the 2000 sci-fi action film "The 6th Day," Schwarzenegger proceeded to fawn over the former NFL linebacker's muscular physique. Why yes, it was unintentionally homoerotic. "You have gained such unbelievable muscle size," began Schwarzenegger. "I walked into the gym in Bulgaria [during the filming of 'Expendables 2'] where you working out, and I saw the muscles that you have and the definition that you have, and you have very little body fat." To which Crews replied: "I can die now! Arnold liked my muscles!" And then - there is a God - Schwarzenegger reached over and gave Crews' cheek a gentle pinch. Oh yes, there will be blushing.
"That's what I heard, I don't know," grinned the Swedish actor, who played the formidable Ivan Drago in the 1985 sequel. "He was my boss. He said 'hit me,' and I did." Quipped Stallone: "It's true, I thought 'let's go for some realism. For the first 30 seconds, just try to knock me out.' And he did...he hit me so hard that I went to a hospital and they thought I was in a car accident."
5. Stallone and Schwarzenegger recount the first time they met, at the 1977 Golden Globes
"I said 'who is this guy?' Like as big as that whole table...raining on my parade," said Stallone. "So 'Rocky' wins Best Picture...and then finally [the presenter] goes, 'Best Newcomer, Arnold Schwarzenegger!' And I go, 'Come on, he's a joke! No one has a name like that!'...[he's a] flash in the pan!...Then 'Rocky' won Best Picture...and I jumped up like an idiot, and I'll never forget, there was a bowl of flowers...I had to do something to get...a reaction out of this guy, and I throw the flowers up in the air and they land on his shoulders. ...So that's how we met the first time." Responded Schwarzenegger: "I remember that you threw the flowers. The only other reason why I remembered is because your mother came over to me, and she said to me: 'You look like a piano mover!'"
6. After talking about why he loves doing comedy, Schwarzenegger recalls one of the greatest line readings of his career
"It's not a toomah!!"
7. "If all five of you right now got in a fight, who would win?"
That question came courtesy of a clearly-brilliant member of the Hall H audience, and it prompted the following response from Stallone: "Who has the best lawyer?" And then, seriously: "What do you think? I think it's the guy with the...huge fists, and the trophies and the world belt," he went on, referencing co-star/former UFC champ Randy Couture. "It was amazing, when I would watch Randy in action, we were picking up stuntmen with blotters...he was air-mailing guys to the brick wall six feet off the ground...I wouldn't want to tangle with him at all!"
8. Stallone tells the audience what his favorite Schwarzenegger movie is
"'Junior'," he joked, to a roar of laughter. "And he loves 'Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.'" But in all seriousness: "He's done so many great ones, but I thought when he did 'Terminator 2'...it set the standard for years and years to come, really." So what's Schwarzenegger's favorite Stallone movie? Like a true politician, his answer definitively...um, lacked specificity. "There's no one [else] that has come out with that many franchises and movies that each time, the sequels come out and [they get] better and better and better and better," he said. Oh, I agree Arnie. "Rocky V" is a masterpiece!
9. Schwarzenegger outs Stallone as a sensitive painter
"It doesn't get enough play, but Sly is an extraordinary artist," said Schwarzenegger. "You should see his paintings...I have one of his paintings that he gave me for my birthday, I think it was two years ago, and it's a really terrific work. I myself, I paint every so often...mostly for my kids and my family, so I can really appreciate how difficult it is." Chimed in Stallone: "It's so funny because here we are, we've killed thousands of guys, but we're really painters. We're misunderstood! [feigns a crying fit] 'I always liked to paint!'"
10. Stallone reveals the key ingredient that determines whether a film sinks or swims at the box-office - grievous bodily injury
"I've always thought it was good luck," said Stallone, replying to a question about on-set injuries. "The more injured I get on a film, the better it does. So hopefully I get beheaded in the next movie."
"The Expendables 2" hits theaters on August 17.
Everything: Comic-Con 2013
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