review by Bobby Blakey
In 2010 Sylvester Stallone pulled off the impossible bringing together some of the biggest action stars for one fun flick with the Expendables. As expected the film delivered and did well enough to warrant two sequels in 2012 and 2014. It seemed like the action party was over, but now we are joining the action icons once again with the latest chapter Expen4bles. This latest chapter brings back originals Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, and Sylvester Stallone along with new editions Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy Garcia with Act of Valor director Scott Waugh at the helm.
Expend4bles reunites the team of elite mercenaries armed with every weapon they can get their hands on and the skills to use them. The Expendables are the world’s last line of defense and the team that gets called when all other options are off the table. But new team members with new styles and tactics are going to give “new blood” a whole new meaning.
For those that do not know it was originally announced that they were doing a spin-off film focusing on Statham’s character Lee Christmas. This was shifted into the next chapter of The Expendables instead and knowing this makes it make more sense since this is essentially Statham’s film. Stallone made it clear he was ready to pass the torch prior to this film and his appearance this time around is more of a cameo than full on team leader allowing Statham to take point for a new team which is part of the issue for me.
I love the idea of all the different members of the Expendables and possibilities of bringing so many old and new action stars in on the action, but this time around it just didn’t have the same punch. None of the new additions outside of Jaa and Uwais are really action stars so didn’t have the same mark like the previous films. They all carry the action fine, but this franchise has always been about bringing the action heavies to the mix and this time around felt like it was more just trying to bring in new blood and
not even bother with any more icons. Thankfully Jaa and Uwais are here to pick up the slack and kick some major ass.
The story is similar to the previous outings with Christmas on more of a solo mission and the other Expendables doing their own thing before obviously bringing them back together. It might have worked better as a lone Statham flick going this route, but still manages to find its action footing and bring the pain when necessary. The action is plenty and well done complete with numerous martial arts action fights that worth the price of admission alone. They do give all the Expendables time to shine giving you that feel of what makes this franchise fun, but still just didn’t have that same feel.
Thankfully they chose to go back to the R rating and let the blood fly this time around, but its is often times bogged down by some bad CGI in numerous places. For me I just shook my head and it and let the action bring me back the fun of it all. The big twist isn’t all that hard to figure out and wasn’t happy with the ending of it all because it felt like it negated what we had been watching in the first place, but I get it.
In the end it is my least favorite of the franchise, but thanks to the Statham, Jaa, Uwais triple threat, the nostalgia fun of the action and my love of this franchise I still had a good time. Decide for yourself and check out Expend4bles in theaters now.