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Guess Whose Back and Smoking Cigars

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This summer has already been a banner year for blockbuster movies, particularly if you are a fan of action films.  But none of the movies released this year has as great a pedigree of action stars as The Expendables 2, the sequel to the hit 2010 film.  Relative newcomers to the genre like Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Liam Hemsworth are being paired up with six legendary actors.  These are amongst the greatest swaggering heroes of action films past, and, like the macho men they depict, they are all fans of cigars.  Let’s take a look at these heroes and their storied careers.


  • Sylvester Stallone (Barney Ross)—The leader of the Expendables, Sylvester Stallone has had a film career that has spanned five decades and includes the iconic roles of Rocky Balboa and Rambo.  He has also been a long fan of cigars, preferring the Fuente line and particularly the Opus X when he lights up.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger (Trench)—Bodybuilder, Conan, Terminator, and Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger has literally done it all.  Following an uncredited bit part in the first Expendables, Schwarzenegger is back for more in the sequel.  In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, Schwarzenegger credit his former father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, with introducing him to cigars in 1977.  He doesn’t have one specific favorite cigar, having been a fan of Cohiba, Davidoffs, Hoyo de Monterrey, Punch Punch, and Romeo y Julietas.
  • Bruce Willis (Church)—One of Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s former partners in the Planet Hollywood franchise, Bruce Willis used to be a mainstay at Schwarzenegger’s cigar dinners.  He is better known for being a part of the blockbuster Die Hard movies.  The fifth film of that series is currently in production giving fans a chance to watch John McClaine, the cop who is forever having a bad day.  As a trivia bonus, Willis’ ex-wife, actress Demi Moore, has also been known to enjoy a good cigar from time-to-time.
  • Dolph Lundgren (Gunnar Jensen)—One of the pleasant surprises of the Expendables was the return of action star Dolph Lundgren to the silver screen.  Best known as Ivan Drago, Stallone’s Russian nemesis in Rocky IV, Lundgren is also an avid cigar smoker who hopefully will be able to launch a career revival with this series.
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme (Jean Vilain)—The “muscles from Brussels” is a new addition to the cast of the Expendables but is not a newcomer to cigar smoking, having enjoyed them for years.  Van Damme is also looking for a career resurgence after peaking in the 1990s with films such as Bloodsport.
  • Chuck Norris (Booker)—This newcomer to the film is hardly new.  Chuck Norris has become legendary through his martial arts films and his stint on Walker, Texas Ranger.  In recent years, he has become known as the toughest man on the planet following a series of internet jokes proclaiming him as such.  Many of his most iconic roles also feature him with a cigar planted firmly in his mouth, making him another cigar icon.

Talk has already begun about the potential casting for Expendables 3, with icons from Nicolas Cage, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, and even Clint Eastwood being tossed around for the next outing.  Regardless of who joins the cast, this is definitely the must-see action film of the summer of 2012.

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