Starring: Jason Statham, Megan Fox, Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, Andy Garcia, and Sylvester Stallone
Director: Scott Waugh
Let’s get this out of the way… Expend4bles is the weakest entry in the franchise. It’s lacking the star power of the previous films, as well as the humour. The only thing it has going for it is the R-rated violence, but that’s always been the story with this series: only getting one piece of the puzzle right with each movie. Now, I’m not saying I need Expendable5 but… If you take the cast of the earlier films, the humour of The Expendables 2, and the R-rated carnage of this entry… MAYBE you get something that lives up to what this franchise is supposed to be.
The Expendables 4 (I refuse to use the marketing’s stylization) isn’t what I would call a “good” movie. It features atrocious green-screening, even worse editing, and maybe the most predictable story I’ve ever seen. That said, Sly Stallone hands the reins over to Jason Statham, and I’ll never not have a good time watching Statham’s five o’clock-shadowed mug engage in fisticuffs and knife fights. Sadly, though, every time Statham isn’t on screen, it’s very straight-to-VOD quality, relying on the acting chops of non-actors Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson and Randy Couture, as well as Megan Fox’s hotness. Overall, it’s watchable, but probably only for old action heads.
Long story short, Expend4bles is terrible. The return of the R-rating would have been fun, had the action not been supremely uninspired, even if it is the best part of the movie. Expend4bles turns the franchise’s model of having some meathead fun with a bunch of old action heroes on a joint mission into another bland and obvious Jason Statham movie with Sharknado-level CGI. Sylvester Stallone is as fun as always, but he’s been downgraded to a borderline cameo. Aside from some blood and guts thrown in there, this is another poorly executed and forgettable action flick.
OK, let’s start on a positive note…Expend4ables does manage to narrowly escape my involuntary and hyperbolic thrashing at its mere mention by wrapping up nicely and giving an intangible feeling that Jason Statham can now safely be added to the Hall of Fame of Lovable and Forgivable One-Liner Action Stars alongside Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Without the action-savior-buffer, my rant would include green-screening overkill, lackluster sets and props, maddening military tactics, and a dialogue that seems to flow from a rehearsing cast’s second table read. On second thought, let’s just talk about something else.
Expend4bles is one of the worst film title stylizations ever committed to the visual medium, which is appropriate for this appalling and abysmal fourth outing. Whilst it is always fun seeing Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) together again, everything else that made The Expendables and its sequel so enjoyable is completely lost. The R-rated violence is back, but there is nothing remotely fun or interesting with what they do with it. Plus, it is sorely missing the one-liner, pun-spewing ensemble cast that made this love letter to 80s and 90s action films so interesting in the first place.