Last Supper
The cumulative body count of the Expendables 2 cast is in the thousands (Lionsgate)

The release of The Expendables 2 comes amid an apparent resurgence in ridiculous, old-fashioned action films.

Sylvester Stallone has assembled one of the most impressive casts in action cinema history, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris and Bruce Willis.

Throughout their careers, these action cinema titans have shot, stabbed or dropkicked enough bad guys to fill a small country and in bringing them all together, Stallone has achieved the dreams of many teenage 90s action fans.

However, with every action classic comes a straight-to-video misfire.

IBTimes UK presents the best and the worst from the cream of the Expendables 2 cast:

Sylvester Stallone

Winner: First Blood (1982)

First blood
First Blood: Don't bump into Rambo in the woods. He spooks easily.

One of the most iconic action films of all time, the original Rambo was actually a tight mixture of gritty action and a thoughtful treatise on the effects of combat on a soldier's mental state.

Stallone gives a fantastic performance, peaking with an emotional breakdown in the film's closing scene. Most people will remember the movie for the headband and the self-surgery.

Runner-up: Cliffhanger (1993)

Climbing: A fun, relaxing hobby.

Cliffhanger is an underrated classic, only let down by a somewhat unthreatening villain (John Lithgow does not usually inspire fear). The action is brutal and original, especially the opening scene, which remains as tense and powerful as ever. And any film that features death-by-stalactite is a winner.

Avoid: Judge Dredd (1995)

Judge Dredd
Judge Dredd: Tough on crime, keen on shoulder pads.

The big-budget attempt to adapt the classic 2001AD comic character goes wrong on just about every level. The decision to water down the titular character, who takes his helmet off (a cardinal sin), is capped off with the presence of the spectacularly punchable Rob Schneider.

Jason Statham

Winner: The Transporter (2002)

Jason Statham: So bored with killing he doesn't even need to look at where he's shooting.

The film that made Statham's name as an action hero is endlessly entertaining. Statham shows off some spectacular martial arts skills, including a blistering and original fight scene in a puddle of oil.

Runner-up: The Mechanic (2011)

The mechanic
Jason Statham: Protest against high fuel prices

A remake, but one handled well, The Mechanic is a short sharp punch to the neck. Statham plays the hitman who is double-crossed and trains his replacement, Ben Foster. The fight scenes have the right mixture of violence and spectacle. And Donald Sutherland is in it, which makes everyone happy.

Avoid: War (2007)

Jet Li and Statham: A gentleman's disagreement

Statham stars with Jet Li and gets the sharp end of the stick. His character requires some heavy-duty emoting, something Statham struggles with, and not helped by a ridiculous accent. His agent needs to tell him he can't do American.

Jean-Claude Van Damme

Winner: Hard Target (1993)

Hard Target
Jean-Claude Van Damme: How real men clean their teeth.

Hard Target is the ridiculous result of John Woo, the master of the slow motion "bullet ballet", a Hollywood budget and Van Damme sporting an elaborate mullet. Needless to say the results are absolute gold and at one point Van Damme punches a snake.

Runner-up: Timecop (1994)

Van Damme does not take kindly to intruders while cooking in his pants.

Van Damme was at his peak in the mid-90s and Timecop represents the perfect mixture of time travel, explosions and people being kicked in the face by an angry Belgian. He also electrocutes a man while doing the splits in his pants. Show-off.

Avoid: Double Team

Double team
A partnership made in heaven...

Sometimes mismatched buddy action films work and sometimes you hire Dennis Rodman. This falls into the latter camp. Terrible acting, an awful script and no discernible plot make this a dud. Although the end does feature a fight in a colosseum amid landmines ... with a tiger ... actually, maybe it is quite good.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Winner: Predator (1987)

Predator: These guys use napalm to shave.

Predator is the ultimate testosterone film. Every character in Arnie's team looks like he could kill an army. The handshakes alone could shatter a person's elbow. Then they all come face to face with an alien hunter and really should "get to the chopper". Perfect.

Runner-up: Terminator 2: Judgement day (1991)

Terminator 2
Schwarzenegger: He'll be back

One of the finest action blockbusters of all time, Judgement Day has it all. The effects were state-of-the-art, the direction was spot-on and Schwarzenegger actually manages to draw a tear from all but the stoniest of viewers. He also reloads a shotgun one-handed while riding a Harley Davidson.

Avoid: Batman & Robin (1996)

Mr freeze
Mr Freeze: Overdressed if anything.

Wow! Show a teenager this film after they've watched the Dark Knight Rises and they will assume it's some kind of cruel prank. Regularly classed as the worst film ever, Arnie's Mr Freeze spouts lines so hammy he could set up business as a butcher.

Dolph Lundgren

Winner: Universal Soldier (1992)

Universal Soldier: Dolph Lundgren enjoys a jaunt in the rain.

A cult classic for obvious reasons, as Lundgren and Van Damme play a pair of indescructible super soldiers in a triumph of ultra-violence. Lundgren wears a necklace of ears. You just don't see that enough.

Runner-up: The Expendables (2010)

The Expendables play pass the bullet.

The Expendables is fairly ridiculous, but no-one is having more fun than Lundgren. The bad egg betrays his team, beats up Jet Li and waves around a knife the size of his head. None of his dialogue makes much sense and somehow that makes it more entertaining.

Avoid: The Punisher (1989)

The Punisher
The Punisher: Surprisingly casual.

The Punisher is a classic comic and this adaptation misses the target by a distance. To play the grizzled Frank Castle, Lundgren bathes in hair dye and fake stubble and appears a bit confused rather than angry. During one funfair shoot-out, the bad guys all come down the slides, supposedly to have a moment of fun before being shot 45 times in the face.

Bruce Willis

Winner: Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard
Die Hard: You'd better have a light.

Die Hard was not only a huge success, it changed the face of action cinema irreversibly. The character of John McClane was the perfect mixture of indestructible and fallible, while Alan Rickman is the best villain ever.

Runner-up: The Last Boy Scout (1991)

Last Boy Scout
Bruce Willis kills this man for incorrectly lighting his cigarette.

One of the most underrated of Willis's rich back catalogue, The Last Boy Scout has one of the darkest and funniest scripts out there. Willis's Joe Hallenback is so cool he kills a man with one punch because he won't light his cigarette.

Avoid: Surrogates (2009)

Waxy Bruce Willis and his unnerving side parting.

Surrogates is a classic example of a good idea executed terribly. Willis plays a man in a world where everyone lives through their robot avatar. The majority of the film is spent watching a strangely rubber Willis, sporting a bad wig, jogging around like a terrifyingly advanced sex doll.

Chuck Norris

Winner: The Delta Force (1986)

Delta force
Norris and Marvin had to be painted because they kept shooting photographers.

Chuck Norris plus Lee Marvin equals a lot of dead bad guys. Make no mistake, this has terrible music, poor performances and some ridiculous pro-US propaganda. But it also has terrorists thinking they can mess with Norris and Marvin. That's like slapping a bear in the face with a live rattlesnake.

Runner-up: Missing in Action (1984)

Bath time for Chuck

Cashing in on the Rambo craze, Missing in Action decides to replace the nuance and subtlety with explosions and people falling out of look-out towers on fire. Norris basically wins the Vietnam war.

Avoid: Walker Texas Ranger (1993-2001)

Walker Texas Ranger: When Denim Attacks

This is not a film, but it's what Norris spent the majority of his time doing. He plays a Texas ranger fighting crime in Dallas. Over several years we learn that crime of all kinds can be defeated if your jeans are blue and tight and if you are able to do a slow roundhouse kick. Norris spends so much time twirling on one foot that if you sped up the footage it would look like ballet.