Expendables 2 Offers An All Star Cast
One of the most action packed movies of 2012 is undoubtably Expendables 2, which offers a mouth-watering action cast of some of the greatest action heroes of all time.
In celebration of its release we thought we would take a closer look at the martial arts credentials of the cast, to see how close to action heroes they really are.
With countless action films to his name (Rambo, Rocky etc) Sly Stallone is one of the all-time greats.
Although Sylvester Stallone has no formal martial arts training that we know of, we must presume that filming 6 Rocky films would have included a lot of boxing training, and that shows in the movies where he does a great job as Rocky Balboa.
English hardman Jason Statham has a credible list of action films to his name, including Transporter, The Mechanic and Safe.
His early career included football (he grew up with Vinnie Jones) and diving (he was a member of Britain's National Diving Squad for 10 years).
Statham is responsible for most of his own stunts, and to his credit he has had martial arts training - he's studied Wing Chung Kung Fu, Karate and Kickboxing.
In terms of martial arts credentials Jet Li easily tops the list in Expendables 2, and in pretty much every movie he has ever appeared in.
Li started training in Wushu in Beijing at the age of 8, and by the age of 12 was national champion (in the adult's championship!) He was 5-time champion by the end of his competing career, retiring at the humble age of 19 to concentrate on his acting career.
He has been the evil Russian boxer in Rocky IV, he has been He-Man, and Dolph has played a vast number of other action roles over the years.
Dolph has an impressive martial arts record as well as film career. He would have had boxing training for Rocky IV, he is a keen body builder, but it is his Karate career that has caught our eye.
He is a 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin in 1978, and captained the Swedish Kyokushin karate team. Dolph was a formidable challenger at the 1979 World Open Tournament (arranged by the Kyokushin Karate Organization) when he was only a green belt. He won the European championships in 1980 and 1981, and a heavyweight tournament in Australia in 1982.
Not only is he an internet sensation (if you don't know what we mean Google the words "Chuck Norris facts" and be prepared to lose a few hours of your life) Chuck Norris has had many action roles, but more importantly to us is a martial arts expert several times over.
In the 1960's Chuck Norris competed in the International Karate Championships, where after a few years of doing "okay", he became world champion, and held that title for 6 years.
Add to that he starred alongside Bruce Lee in Way of the Dragon, he is the only Westerner in the history of Tae Kwon Do to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master, and that he now has his own martial arts school "Chun Kuk Do" and its clear that Chuck Norris lives up to the countless "facts" about him that are circling the internet.
Jean-Claude Van Damme
"The Muscles from Brussels" has a long and distinguished film career, with his name dominating action films in the 1980's and 1990's. These include Bloodsport, Universal Soldier and Time Cop. Which is why it's great to see Van Damme back in an action role, instead of doing snow angels in a beer TV ad.
Van Damme has been studying martial arts since the age of 10, and had before acting competed in many tournaments in Karate and Kickboxing. He competed in semi-contact Karate, kickboxing and full-contact Karate tournaments in the 1970's and 1980's. He has a long history of competing, and to learn more about his fighting career go here.
As well as martial arts, Van Damme is a keen bodybuilder, and was Mr Belgium back in the 1980's.
Another action hero legend, Bruce Willis has starred in classics such as the Die Hard series, Pulp Fiction, Hudson Hawk, Armageddon and The Fifth Element.
Although Willis has no martial arts training that we know of, there is no doubting his hard man image, and the countless number of action films he has starred in.
How many men can claim to have been Mr Universe, the Governor of California and The Terminator? Add to that films such as Total Recall, True Lies, and Predator, and you can see that Arnold Schwarzenegger has had quite an amazing career.
As with Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone, Arnie has had no martial arts career that we can find, but when you are The Terminator who needs Kung Fu?