- Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Megan Fox
- Scott Waugh
- Not Yet Rated
- Action, Adventure, Thriller
- Release date
- September 22, 2023
With the disappointing box office returns of Expendables 3, and the internal strife between Stallone and the producers leading up to this film, Expendables 4, or Expen4bles, just might be the last of the core franchise. Of course, an all-female spin-off series is reportedly in the works.
Expendables 4 – Expend4bles
Here’s the plot: A bad guy gets a nuke, and The Expendables blow stuff up, shoot, and stab their way to saving the day.
No one who sees an Expendables movie expects Lawrence of Arabia. They want fun one-liners, cool guns, brutal and creative fight scenes, and big explosions, and Expendables 4 has a couple of those once or twice. Unfortunately, the chemistry between the team is flat, the characters are boring, the pacing is just barely serviceable, the one-liners are forced and not at all funny, and the fighting is mundane for an action flick of this type.
Frankly, Expendables 4 offers nothing original or even over the top enough to keep viewers from scrolling through X throughout its hour and forty-three-minute runtime.
Most of the action centers on Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas, and while in films as recent as The Meg 2, we were praising his signature fighting prowess, in Expendables 4, Statham’s fight scenes seem slowed down to Ahsoka 3/4 speeds.
Combine that with Stallone, Lundgren, and even Randy Couture being too old to engage in virtually any of the film’s action, and this installment of The Expendables feels more like The Dependables (like adult diapers – get it?).
Even Megan Fox (not yet 40), best known for her arched back in Transformers, has traded in the luster that made her famous for the artificial and waxy pre-cat lady look to which so many aging starlets graduate (painfully looking at you, Courtney Cox). That said, she does offer what is the only thing this film has in the way of a standout performance when she very believably portrays a completely unreasonable and unhinged sniping girlfriend who only gets away with talking to a man the way she does because she knows that he’s not going to hit her.
Emblematic of the lackluster action, in one “key” action scene, Statham’s Christmas hops on a dirt bike fitted with machine guns (a perfectly acceptable over-the-top and ridiculous idea). He then proceeds on a merry chase as several other machine gun dirt bike riders tale after him. Sounds like the makings of a fun and silly sequence, right? The problem is that the entire chase takes place in the short and narrow corridors of a cargo ship, so the bikes are never able to go over 10 mph, and any time they begin to pick up speed, the riders have to slow down to a virtual stop to make a 90° turn.
Sadly, with mediocre special effects and a twist with all the curves of an arrow, Expend4bles is a meh burger on barely passable toast. When this chapter joins its brothers on Netflix, Tubi, etc., it might be worth putting on as background noise, but not much else.
- Megan Fox and some other actress whose character’s name I forgot before it was said are artificially inserted into the movie for a single reason, and it’s not because either seems like a physical threat or has any command presence. Instead, it is to plant the seeds for an all-female spin-off series.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.