May 28, 2017

Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables” sued for copyright infringement

By Sean O’Connell Another Sylvester Stallone hit, and another lawsuit claiming he lifted his idea from somebody else.

This time, it’s Stallone’s action ensemble “The Expendables” that’s being sued for similarities to a short story and screenplay titled “The Cordoba Caper” that was penned by Marcus Webb back in 2006. In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, according to Reuters, Webb says his script tells “the story of a team of elite, highly trained mercenaries hired to defeat General Garza, a rogue army general of a small Latin American country.”

Sounds like Stallone’s film. The “Expendables” villain, played by David Zayas, even went by the name General Garza. That can’t be good for Sly.

“There can be no dispute that Stallone and/or [screenwriter David] Callaham had access to and copied protectable elements of the screenplay,” the lawsuit says.

But can it be proven in a court of law? “The Expendables” isn’t “Inception,” which works from a truly original premise. It’s meat-and-potatoes action, and the concepts – while similar – could have come from any source. Yet Webb wants compensation, and he’d like to block Stallone’s planned “Expendables” sequel until the matter is ironed out.

Stallone’s reps declined comment on the issue.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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