Having followed The Expendables franchise from the start in 2020 to its proposed (and hopefully last after watchihng it) finale with its fourth instalment Expend4bles we have to ask why make this one.
The corniness is strong with this movie, which has basically been a showcase for beloved long-in-the-tooth action legends. As preposterous as the plot invariably is, a movie that brings together Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and – my favourite – muay thai hero Tony Jaa of Ong Bak fame, and sets them to work as good guy mercenaries slaughtering bad guys in the bloodiest and most explosive ways, at least has goodwill going for it, but thats about all it has.. good will because it just isnt good at all.
The tender brothers/sisters-in-arms relationships we’re supposed to embrace consist mainly of bluster and bruises. Even ostensible lovers Christmas (Statham) and fellow Expendible Gina (Megan Fox) are introduced with her having a screaming fit and breaking things. Later, they have a knock-down, drag-out fight prior to lovemaking. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ve got to fight ‘em.
The relationship between Christmas and team leader Barney (Stallone) is similarly based, their first scene together being a bar fight.
Anyway, there is a plot in Expend4bles, thin and predictable though it may be. A military plant in Libya dating back to Gaddafi, is invaded by well-trained bad guys, led by a secret character nicknamed Ocelot (are they taking their names from some sort of random name generator here). They invade and kill at will, stealing nuclear detonators with geopolitical ill-intent.
But the real plot is revenge. The Expendables lose one of their own while failing to foil Ocelot’s plan. And Christmas is disgraced and fired as a result.
Which is how the movie ends up in the North Pacific, on a freighter with an armed nuclear bomb, and a plot that, for a while, becomes Die Hard (see, there is a rat amongst them, and the whole gang ends up captured – with the exception of Christmas, who’s tracked down the ship and sets about surreptitiously killing everyone with as much splatter as they can get out of the cgi).
There are moments of self-aware humour, including Christmas punching out a misogynistic YouTube influencer on livestream, and the realization that newly-sober Gunner (Lundgren) can only shoot accurately when he’s drunk.
Otherwise, Expend4bles is an endless pyro/bang-bang show, with actors not mainly known for their acting (also including 50 Cent and UFC champion Randy Couture), sticking to the story as well as they can.
Overall the plot is thin, the acting wooden, the effects such as they are are highly laughable with CGI planes and explosions, truly stupid splatter making up the most of it. It would take an absolute stoned person not to tell this is majority filmed on a stage rather than the rolling sea and the boat at the end, someone want to tell these film makers that the sea actually rolls especially when you see.. oh what are those things called again… oh yeah WAVES! Come on its not rocket science that boats move. As for the bad guys wanting to make a tanker look like an aircraft carrier with a wooden ramp and some tiny wooden plaines WTF!
All in all this is a crap movie, crap script, ludicrous effects that would fool no one, no real big names this time other than the couple of main characters, overall making this just an excuse to see a Jason Statham and Megan Fox a few times even though they try hard they fail to be endearing.
Please oh please, dont make any more of this crap and dont support it, chalk this one up to they were bored and had a free studio stage for a weekend.
for this the score is 1/5 the best thing about this movie, it made a good trailer.