Feature: Mercenaries and the Fate of the Expendabelles

Slipping out just as The Expendables 3 limped into cinemas, The Asylum's (notable for such cheapies as Titanic II and Mega Piranha) Mercenaries features a who's who of the B-Movie female action stars working today. Vivica A. Fox, Kristanna Loken and Zoe Bell lead Mercenaries which is directed by Christopher Olen Ray (son of schlock-king Fred).

Whilst the focus appears to be on the younger action heroines - the veterans are represented by the ever-watchable Brigitte Nielsen (Red Sonja, Cobra, Rocky IV) and Cynthia Rothrock (Undefeatable, Above the Law).

These five stars would be welcome additions to the (supposedly) upcoming Expendabelles - however, the fate of the all-female spin-off is looking shaky after the poor performance of The Expendables 3. Not to mention the fact that Sigourney Weaver has officially turned the project down and is unlikely to make an appearance - surely a big blow to producers Avi Lerner and Sylvester Stallone, not to mention director Robert Luketic. Without Weaver the project is certainly less appealing - but fortunately there is a wealth of iconic female action stars to choose from in her absence: Pam Grier, Linda Hamilton, Sybil Danning, Grace Jones, Lucy Liu, Tia Carrere, Pamela Anderson and Sharon Stone for instance.

Mercenaries seems to have the upper hand on Expendabelles narrative-wise. Olen Ray's film sees a team of female special forces agents sent into a tough prison to release a diplomat's daughter. Expendabelles appears to be taking a more 'comic' approach (perhaps not confident about presenting a batch of female action heroes in a serious light?) - instead opting for the angle that female special forces agents infiltrate a dictator's island base in the guise of high-class call girls.

We will be eager to see how the Expendabelles progresses (if it does so, that is), but in the meantime we have Mercenaries to keep us entertained. Mercenaries is available in the US now. No UK release details as of yet.

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