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Expend4bles (2023) - Movie Review

Movies & TV

By Jenny Young

- Oct 4, 2023

The Expendables series, renowned for amalgamating icons of the '80s action genre such as Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis, has returned with "Expend4bles," almost a decade after the third film. The first movie, appealing through its raw, retro charm, had surprisingly proven a hit, birthing two sequels in 2012 and 2014. These additions, though lacking the original's charisma, still served as entertaining spectacles and nostalgic journeys for aging action stars.

However, "Expend4bles," the latest installment, disappoints with its lack of zeal and appears as a mere husk of its predecessors. It mirrors a perfunctory attempt at film-making, devoid of the passion synonymous with the franchise. This edition sees veterans like Barney (Stallone) and Christmas (Statham). They are joined by new faces for a clandestine mission overseen by a covert CIA agent, Marsh (Andy Garcia).

They seek to thwart Rahmat (Iko Uwais), an arms dealer, and his minions, who've infiltrated a Libyan chemical plant to purloin nuclear detonators. A twist sees the mission compromised, leading to internal conflicts within the group. However, the impending threat forces them to reconcile their differences and unite against a common foe, determined to induce chaos between powerful nations.

The issue with "Expend4bles" isn’t merely its cliché action narrative. The blatant disinterest and apathy from the cast and crew reverberate through each scene. The narrative, penned by Kurt Wimmer, Max Adams, and Tad Daggerhart, resembles a hastily concocted and inconsistent tale. It is further marred by Scott Waugh's uninspired direction and shoddy CGI, making the movie seem more like a rejected TV pilot than a blockbuster sequel.

A crucial misstep is the film’s neglect of the franchise’s essence: the reassembling of past action legends. The movie, with limited appearances from the original cast and a vague focus on newer faces, loses its nostalgic charm. The few moments of excitement are attributed to martial arts experts Jaa and Uwais. Other newcomers fail to evoke the stardom or action-icon status of their predecessors. Megan Fox's portrayal appears particularly lackluster. It serves merely as a reminder of the potential all-female “Expendabelles” spinoff and fails to match her male counterparts in screen presence.

"Expend4bles" is essentially a debacle. It seemingly signals the end of a franchise that seems to have lost its allure and relevance. Despite this bleak portrayal, the series' inherent concept had immense potential. The original Expendables, although not a cinematic masterpiece, struck a chord by resuscitating the glory of '80s action cinema. It combines renowned faces for an enthralling old-school adventure.

The subsequent sequels, despite not reaching the expectations set by the first, still served their roles as entertaining reminiscences for veteran actors. They blend nostalgia with action-packed B-movie escapades. The films stood as tributes to the golden age of action cinema. They allow audiences to relive the excitement of seeing their favorite stars sharing the screen.

"Expend4bles," however, fails to capture the essence and the charm of its forebearers. Its lack of enthusiasm and dispassionate execution make it a regrettable addition to the franchise. It potentially buries the series' potential for any future endeavors. In summary, what could have been a triumphant return and a revitalization of a beloved series instead serves as its potential epitaph, marking the downfall of a once-revered action franchise.


2 / 10

The Expendables series, renowned for amalgamating icons of the '80s action genre has returned with "Expend4bles," almost a decade later.