Expendables 2
The new poster for the Expendables 2 recreates the last Supper (Lionsgate)

The Expendables 2 promises levels of bloodshed verging on the biblical if its new poster is anything to go by.

Clearly assuming that any self-respecting lover of art is also a fan of cinematic violence, the poster sees the film's stars re-enact Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper, with Sylvester Stallone taking the role of Jesus.

Surrounding Stallone are his 12 'apostles', represented by the most ambitious action cast ever assembled.

Stallone's co-stars are Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Terry Crews, Scott Adkins, Nan Yu... and, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Interestingly Lundgren's character, Gunnar Jensen, is sat in the position of Judas, in reference to his traitorous actions in the previous film.

Also Nan Yu, a newcomer to the team and the only female action star in the film, is sat in the seat that would be filled by the apostle John - perhaps a sly nod to theories that Da Vinci actually painted a woman in that seat.

Considering the financial success of the first Expendables film and the scale of the cast drawn together for the sequel, it would be a surpirse if it really did represent their last outing, although several key members of the cast must be close to retirement.

The choice of poster may court controversy in some quarters, but for a film that positively revels in excess and a bombastic lack of self-regard, a biblical allusion seems only fitting.

One of the film's key draws will be the image of Arnold Schwarzenegger returning to action cinema after a lengthy political hiatus. The image of Stallone, Willis and the huge Austrian on camera together is sure to please fans of nineties action cinema.

The Expendables 2 will be released on August 16. See the trailer below: