Sequels often find themselves trapped in a web of familiarity, struggling to carve out their own identity. “Expendables 4,” aptly marketed as “Expend4bles,” falls into this pattern by recycling elements from its predecessors and borrowing heavily from recent films. The result is a jokey, action-packed, and visually effects-driven finale that treads a well-worn path.
The film reunites an ensemble cast of action legends, including Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, and others, who have been a part of this mercenary-based action series since its inception in 2010. While the initial entries were successful, the quality waned with the third installment in 2014, which was thought to be the end of the franchise.
However, when Sylvester Stallone returned for “Expendables 4,” it rekindled interest, and the film boasts a solid cast led by Statham. The movie kicks off with a sense of nostalgia as these familiar faces gather in a barroom setting, exuding camaraderie and humor. The aged yet still formidable stars bring a certain charm to their characters, making it feel like a class reunion with a touch of action.
Despite poking fun at their own aging, these actors prove they can still deliver thrilling action sequences. The banter among them adds moments of levity to the proceedings, offering a sense of familiarity and comfort to fans.
The plot revolves around a nuclear bomb on a ship headed for the China Sea, a giant sea creature reminiscent of “Meg 2,” and a battle that feels eerily similar to a showdown from that recent film. The lack of fresh ideas and action sequences is a letdown, as viewers are essentially served a reheated version of something they saw just a month ago.
“Expendables 4” suffers from its inability to innovate or make better use of its talented cast. While it offers some entertainment, it ultimately falls short due to its lack of originality. The film reminds us that it’s time to move on to new adventures, leaving “Meg 3” off the agenda for now.
In a landscape where age is just a number, these action stars still have plenty of fight left in them. However, it’s time for them to explore new horizons and leave the past behind.
Title: Expendables 4
Release date: September 22, 2023
Director: Scott Waugh
Screenwriter: Kurt Wimmer & Tad Daggerhart and Max Adams
Cast: Jason Statham, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Dolph Lundgren,
Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Randy Couture, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, Andy Garcia,
Running time: 1 hr 43 min