Review of 'Expend4bles (Expendables 4)'

expendables4.jpg The latest instalment in the “Expendables” franchise which brings together a bunch of past-their-prime 20th century action stars as mercenaries. It start very much with it's tongue firmly planted in it's cheek but in recent outings it has started to take itself WAY to seriously.

The Expendables, headed by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), are sent to Libya by CIA operative Marsh (Andy García) to prevent mercenary Suarto Rahmat (Iko Uwais) from obtaining the detonators for a nuclear device. The operation goes badly with Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) choosig to led the bad guy get away in order to try to save Barney's plane from crashing. This fails and the team find a charred body in the wreckage wearing Barney's ring. The team struggles to cope with Barney's loss but Marsh sends them out again in pursuit of Rahmat and Ocelot, a mysterious terrorist that Barney failed to find years earlier. They head out without Christmas who jeopardized the Libya mission but he quickly finds his own way to meet the team after they are captured trying to storm an ship disguised to look like a US carrier heading into Russian waters containing the now fully armed nuclear bomb…

I very much enjoyed the first few Expendables film and have watched the subsequent instalments in the hope the wit and fun would return but have been disappointed. This really does seem like the cast are simply cashing in and half-heartedly putting in their time as aged mercenaries. The effects seem quite unimpressive, particularly those on the deck of the ship which is so obviously a stage it is not funny (the scenes inside are a bit better) and later big action sequences are not much better. After the PG-13 of the third instalment, here we return to copious amounts of gratuitous head explosions and blood splattering which does little to help the film. The action is good but very lots of guns and many, many, deaths (just how many bad guys does the ship have?) which, of course, very much harkens back to the heydays of these aging action stars. It was refreshing to see the introduction of Tony Jaa as former Expendable “Decha”, who at least at first, introduces a bit of kung-fu action to the proceedings before giving up and grabbing a gun to wipe out the baddies alongside the rest of the group.

The acting is adequate with the best performances given by Statham and Stallone which alone should be a bit of a bad sign. These two are the heart of the story which is not bad thing with the only other familiar action star Dolph Lundgren as Gunner Jensen never could do much more than look mean and kill loads of people with big guns. There are some new faces on the team including rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as “Easy Day” and Jacob Scipio as “Galan” who are later joined by Christmas' former lover Megan Fox as “Gina”.

Still a bit of the charm of the first films but no where near as good, “Expendables 4” is a sad instalment in what was a surprisingly good franchise.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2024-06-02

Directed by: Scott Waugh

Studio: Campbell Grobman Films

Year: 2023

Length: 103 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure