Manly men like action movies. And steak. And watching oiled-up gym rats wrestle until one is pinned down and submits to the other's brawny powers. (We'd say that men "love" these things, but manly men find that word too submissive.)
So, when Sylvester Stallone gathered some of the biggest names (and biceps) of the action star pantheon together for an epic ensemble piece entitled "The Expendables" back in 2010, he forged the manliest merger since the X chromosome collided with the Y. And on the heels of that triumph, "The Expendables 2" will be flooding theaters with testosterone yet again on Aug. 17.
However, lest they get too big for their camouflaged britches, we'd like to point out that these seemingly stoic statues of resolve and fortitude have some, how shall we say, "sissy" moments in their cinematic closets. How about we take a once-over of their most unmanly moments, just for funsies?
Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Junior' (1994)
In this Ivan Reitman comedy that asks us to believe the wholly implausible — and downright scary — notion that Schwarzenegger could actually be a doctor, the film also plays out the only slightly less believable idea that the Governator could become preggers. Now, I don't mean to be heavy-handed in assigning gender roles, but I think we can all agree that this is not the manliest of states to find one's self in. And box office receipts revealed that audiences on both sides of the Roe v. Wade debate could come together on opting out of this cinematic answer to a question no one asked.
Sylvester Stallone in 'Spy Kids 3-D' (2003)
While Stallone seemed more like the fifth Golden Girl than an Italian Stallion as he incessantly whined "Maaaa!" at Estelle Getty in "Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot!" (1992), at least he was shooting his police snub-nose at adult bad guys. But as The Toy Maker in this third — and most headache-inducing — of the three "Spy Kids" films, Rambo traded in his camo for a foppish leather suit, strutted around like a dandy and tried to kill a couple of children. Not very gentlemanly, sir.
Dolph Lundgren in 'Masters of the Universe' (1987)
Dolph is so much man that even his least manly role's name is made up of two words that each mean "man." With his cold dead eyes, rudimentary command of English and a physique that seems molded from plastic, Lundgren was the perfect Ivan Drago, the Russian villain/stereotype of "Rocky IV." And when the makers of the He-Man action figures were looking for a star to play the mulleted Arian hero of their movie, Lundgren must have seemed like the obvious choice. Then again, sometimes two rights can make a wrong.
Jason Statham in 'Gnomeo and Juliet' (2011)
Although Statham is known for spectacular acts of physical feats, this daringly hands-on action star reportedly didn't perform a single stunt of his own playing Tybalt, content instead on letting an unknown gnome stunt double do all the heavy lifting. Perhaps Jason was out of shape. Or maybe he just wasn't comfortable doing Shakespeare. Whatever his excuse, it breaks one's heart to think about all those kids that loved him so much in "Snatch" crying their eyes out in the theater, asking "Where's Statham, mommy? You said there'd be Statham..."
Chuck Norris in 'Top Dog' (1995)
Jumping atop the long-since abandoned and dilapidated bandwagon of the cop/dog buddy craze of the late '80s ("Turner and Hooch," "K-9"), Chuck Norris and Reno, the police dog, found one final nail and pounded it into said genre's coffin with this action movie/comedy that was reportedly neither. Clearly, what happened was that the script was written as a buddy cop film, but no human co-star could be found that was willing to have his own manliness diminished by standing in such close proximity to Norris, the manliest of all men. So they had to make Reno a dog and claim it was "a comedy."
Jet Li in 'Unleashed' (2005)
This dazzlingly dexterous martial artist adds a much-needed Eastern flavor to the Western meaty man bowl of muscle that is the "The Expendables" cast. And what he lacks in height (he's 5'6"), he more than makes up in stature, having ruled the Chinese box office since the early '80s. But unlike his bulky co-stars, Li has never felt the need to soften up his image with a token kids' film. If he can't kick someone in the face, he's not interested. The only remotely non-manly film he's starred in would be "Unleashed" (2005), in which he's sort of ... dogly, playing a rabid killer on a collar.
Jean-Claude Van Damme in 'The Exam' (2006)
Although his birth certificate calls him Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, this former bodybuilder has successfully overcome the wussy designation bestowed upon him when he was born and is now known the world over simply as JCVD: Belgian badass. And as a champion of the kickboxing world of the late '70s, he's the real deal. But in the Turkish comedy "The Exam," in which he plays a hit man hired by some students to steal the answers to their exam, the worst threat that the "Muscles From Brussels" is liable to receive is death by a thousand paper cuts.
Bruce Willis in 'Look Who's Talking' (1989)
He took out a crew of international thieves single-handedly in "Die Hard." He was unbreakable in ..."Unbreakable." And he died so that we may live in "Armageddon. " But there's just something less-than-virile about the guy who played John McClane gazing up at John Travolta and saying "I want you to be my daddy" through the mouth of a baby. But maybe that's just me.
Terry Crews in 'Bridesmaids' (2011)
After hanging up his shoulder pads, this NFL defensive end — with an artistic bent — was cast in a slew of films, always as the hard-as-nails brute. His elbow has more muscle in it than most dudes have in their entire bodies, so it's a challenge to find him ever playing anything less than the manliest guy in the room. But his mere brief association with the chick flick comedy "Bridesmaids," playing the trainer in the park who whips weekend Bellatrixes' abs into shape, sprinkles a hint of estrogen fairy dust on this otherwise mountain of petrified testosterone.
Randy Couture in ... Nothing (2003 - present)
Seeing as how this three-time UFC Heavyweight Champion appears to have killed someone with his bare hands in every artistic endeavor he's lent his visage to, it's a challenge to point out his least manly movie role. Nor would we want to, on the off chance he might ... you know ... savagely beat us within an inch of our life. Whether playing a ripped killer in the film with the refreshingly straightforward title "Today You Die" (2005) or playing a ripped killer in the bargain bin favorite "The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior" (2008), Couture always manages to make killing look easy.
Liam Hemsworth in 'The Last Song' (2010)
This up-and-coming leading man's big break was playing opposite Miley Cyrus in Nicholas Sparks' recent film adaptation about, ya know, stuff girls think is interesting (there's some father/daughter conflict and Liam and Miley bonding over protecting some sea turtle eggs). Hemsworth is in good company, seeing as how respected thespian Ryan Gosling found his star-making vehicle in Sparks' box office hit, "The Notebook." Still, one assumes that Liam hopes his "Expendables" co-stars haven't accidentally Netflixed this delicate tearjerker. Then again, if any did, they'd never admit it.