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At 66, ‘Expendables’ creator Sylvester Stallone is still having a bang-up time

Published: August 15, 2012 | 7:11 am
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Retirement doesn’t seem to be in Sylvester Stallone’s vocabulary as the 66-year-old action star launches “Expendables 2” on Friday.

“To do a sequel at this time of my life? Amazing,” the Hollywood heavyweight said in an interview before the recent death of his eldest son Sage, 36.

“The beauty in getting this second wind is you can now apply all the knowledge and capitalize on all the mistakes that were learned the hard way and get it done,” Stallone said, adding that he’s happy with the R rating for “Expendables 2.”

“It’s like the cranky old man: You become a little more frank.”

“Expendables 2” follows his 2010 sleeper that assembled for the first time ’80s action icons Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren.

Stallone, who wrote, directed and starred in that one, said, “Considering how difficult it was to pull off, I’m beholden to all my friends who stepped up and worked for very little cash and put themselves on the line.”

Making “Expendables” was a case of: “You speak to something you know.

“In the ’70s and ’80s we were privileged to be a like one-man band — myself or Bruce, Arnold, (John) Travolta and Clint (Eastwood). That would be the whole movie.

“Today you can’t get away with that. It’s all about the ‘concept’ and who you surround yourself with, your team.

“With the last ‘Rambo’” — in 2008 — “I realized I couldn’t go in there like I did in the ’80s. Times had changed. With ‘Expendables’ we surrounded ourselves with people as well known as I but in their particular professions. We’ve always had the buddy movie (in Hollywood), this was just a different approach to it.

“Now I’d like to think we’ve come up with something that can surpass the first. That’s the challenge with sequels: We’ve found a few nuggets, now can we find the mother lode?”

Back in ‘2’ is his original crew, including Jason Statham, Terry Crews and Randy Couture with the addition of Jean-Claude Van Damme.

“We had to amp up the villainy and get some opposition out there,” Stallone said of Van Damme, “but I think we’ve done better.”

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