If THE EXPENDABLES franchise is going to be able to get past the nostalgia factor surrounding it, it could probably be a good idea for Sly to actually utilize the recent or upcoming actionstars to their fullest potential, instead of casting them in pointless fillout-roles as he previously have done.
Seriously,who remember the great Gary Daniels from the first one? I had to watch the movie three times to actually notice him. Scott Adkins fared better in the sequel, the confrontation with Statham was a bit on the short side, but apparently they had very little time to shoot that scene so it did end up quite good considering.
THE EXPENDABLES cannot rely on the old guys forever. What I like about the franchise is that it takes the larger-than-life old school DIRTY DOZEN approach with a bunch of wellknown weathered badasses on an impossible mission. With bringing on new people with each installment they become known to the public and after awhile considered just as much as veterans as the Sly,Dolphs or Stathams of the current bunch of legendary mercenaries.
Just don´t cast people like Liam Hemsworth. I liked him in EX2, but he is not one dedicated to action, for him it is just a springboard to "better films", so stick with guys known for their dedication and loyalty to the genre. The physicality of doing action requires certain individuals with a certain mindset. It cannot be about career-egos, or else the genre will most certainly die. A guy like Darren Shahlavi could really boost a franchise with his skills. He has a villain face like no other and can perform the shit out of a movie. Watch BLOODMOON or TAI CHI BOXER to see him at his best. He is chewing up the scenery,spitting it out and roundhouse kick it to the dumpster and walks away.
We also have guys like Cung Le from DRAGON EYES, Andrei "Pitbull" Arlovsky from the UniSol-franchise, Thailands wonderboy Tony Jaa or THE RAIDs Iko Uwais and Yayan "Mad Dog" Ruhian. If these peole can get more iconic performances it can inspire other people to take up the reign just like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan inspired aforementioned acrobats.
There is absolutely no reason to stick with the metafictive,tongue-in-cheek postmodern references in a franchise when you have plenty of people battling to take a prestigous place among gods of action. It will only lead to stagnation hanging on to the past.
Action does not need to die, it just need people to inspire further.