Sometimes, movies are based on books. Sometimes, novelizations are written to promote a movie. Sometimes, no books are written at all: We're here to fill in that gap. Today, we take a closer look at the scene from The Expendables 2 in which Barney Ross flies a plane into a cave. (Possible spoilers ahead.)
Barney Ross knew the risks. As a child, Ross made a habit of flying radio-controlled airplanes into areas that a radio controlled airplane shouldn't be: wasps nests, tetherball tournaments, pudding. If a plane shouldn't be there, Barney Ross would make sure that plane found its way there.
But this was real. Lives were at stake. Glancing at Lee Christmas, Barney began to see the bells going off in Lee's head. Lee looked at Barney in disbelief: Are you really going to do this?, Lee emoted ... without actually saying a word.
Vilain was ruthless. Barney knew that by the time he completed a proper landing, an entire village would be slaughtered. Barney knew that the only proper course of action was to fly his plane directly into the cave where the villagers were being held before it was too late.
Of course, this was suicide - but to hell with logic. He worried about Lee. Lee Christmas had always been loyal, but the man had a family. True, Lee kept his personal life close to the vest. Barney remembered, once, a mention of a brother named Lloyd, but the rest of Lee's life remained a mystery.
As the cave entrance approached, Barney sensed Lee's trepidation. By this point, Barney figured, it was purely primal instincts that forced Lee to exclaim, "You're not doing what I think you're doing?"
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The truth was, Barney didn't know what the hell he was doing. After Billy's death, Barney hadn't quite felt the same. Sure, Barney had seen death before - a lot, actually. But never someone who was so eager to change careers. Never someone who was so adamant to get out. He's gone through the odds, over and over. But the astronomical chances that Billy would die -- merely days before retirement and a life happily ever after with his sweetheart - never registered as a cliché. It was unthinkable.
"Yeah, I am!" The decision was made. As Barney Ross veered his plane into what he could only assume was oblivion, he persevered. It's funny, at what could be his last moment on Earth, Barney never felt more alive. Barney knew his improbable decent would succeed. As the cave was entered, first, the left wing was torn off. Then, quickly after, the right wing. Miraculously, the plane was still flying in the intended direction.
After an even more improbable landing, Barney looked at Lee. Lee, not surprisingly at this point, was unscathed. It wasn't long before Barney saw that trademark smile. No matter: It was time to confront the matter at hand. It was time to confront Jean Vilain.
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. He wants you to remember that August will be over soon. You can contact him directly on Twitter.