CANNES, France (AP) -- Who needs a red carpet?
The megawatt cast of "Expendables 3" made a spectacular debut at Cannes on Sunday, rolling down the famous Croisette in tanks as a throng of onlookers and media jostled for a better view of its cargo: Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, and Jason Statham. And that was just part one of the entourage.
Banderas was hardly exaggerating in the subsequent press conference when he called it the "hall of fame" of action heroes.
"The chance to work with all these guys is very very rare," said Stallone, the film's original star and creator, sitting between Schwarzenegger and Gibson.
Since the first "Expendables" in 2010, the cast has ballooned to seemingly include almost every star that's flexed a muscle on film: The third edition includes younger stars such as Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey (the only woman in the cast), as well as Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammer.
Ford called joining the cast "a lot of fun," and that was clear from the camaraderie at the press conference (which needed two rows of seats to fit everyone).
There were plenty of compliments: Schwarzenegger called Stallone one of his "great inspirations, while Stallone gushed about the former California governor's great mind; Banderas said he was honored, as a Spaniard, to be included.
The cast also cracked jokes at the expense of each other, and themselves: Age was a natural target, given the advanced age of most of it's top-billed stars.
"I think Lincoln was in the White House when we first met," quipped Stallone, 67, about Ford, 71.
Later, when asked when the stars when know when it was time to retire, Stallone said: "When you're ass falls off, it's time to retire," before adding: "We're children with arthritis! We're young forever!"
Though much of the cast are senior citizens, Stallone, is hoping to reach a younger generation with the next film with a PG-13 rating instead of the R-rating of the others to expand its reach.
Stallone also said the franchise would return to its action roots; the second one delved "too far" into the comic realm, he said.
"I realized we should get back into dramatic. When the action starts, I don't like to do joke action," Stallone said. "I feel like we finally got it right on the third one -- kind of like a marriage."
Follow Nekesa Mumbi Moody at http://www.twitter.com/nekesamumbi