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Expend4bles
Benefits from the return to an R-rating, but the franchise has now moved well past its original concept of being an 80s action star mashup.

Expend4bles

Release Date: September 22, 2023
Runtime: 01:43
Synopsis:
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.

The elite team of mercenaries fight to prevent the start of World War III in . The Expendables mercenary team consisting of Barney Ross (Sylvester Stalone), Lee Christmas (), Gunner Jensen (), Toll Road (), and new members Easy Day (Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson) and Galan () are assigned by their CIA contact Marsh (Andy García) to travel to Libya and stop terrorist Suarto Rahmat () from stealing nuclear detinators for his mysterious boss Osolot. However, a fatal mistake by Christmas results in the failure of the mission and he is subsequently removed from the team. As The Expendables, joined by Marsh and CIA operators Gina () and Lash () set off to finish the job, Christmas decides to go at it alone, with the help of Taiwanese assassin Decha (Tony Jaa).

Expend4bles Synopsis

Arriving nearly a decade after the previous film, Expend4bles is the fourth big-screen adventure of this elite team of mercenaries, this time directed by Scott Waugh (Act of Valor, Need for Speed). Most of the original team returns, with the notable absence of Jet Li's Yin Yang and Terry Crews' Caesar, along with new members played by rapper 50 Cent and Jacob Scipio (Bad Boys for Life), the latter playing Galan, the son of Galgo, played by Antonio Banderas in The Expendables 3. The cast also features Iko Uwais (The Raid) as the main antagonist Suarto Rahmat and Thai action star Tony Jaa (Ong-bak) as former Expendables member Decha.

My Thoughts on Expend4bles

's original concept behind The Expendables was that it was meant to be an all-star mashup of the biggest action stars of the 1980s. This was partially realized in the 2010 original, which featured a scene that placed Stallone in the same room with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The concept was arguably fully realized with 2012's Expendables 2, which added and Chuck Norris to the mix. Despite adding Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, , and Mel Gibson to 2014's The Expendables 3, the film was affected by downgrading to a PG-13 rating and featuring a plot that involved the recruitment of a new younger team played by the likes of Glen Powell and Ronda Rousey, none of whom ended up returning in Expend4bles.

While arguably having the weakest cast of the franchise, I don't think anyone was clamouring to see Megan Fox in an action film in 2023, Expend4bles does benefit from the return to R-rated action, with the film featuring more than a few knives to the throat. While the action of Expend4bles is entertaining, it is somewhat sad to see that the franchise has devolved from an all-star action mashup to just another action film where things blow up really well.

I do have to make note of Jacob Scipio's performance as Galan, who is doing his best Antonio Banderas imitation. This actually left me wondering if the character was originally written as a returning Galgo, only to be changed to the character's son when Antonio Banderas didn't return. At least Scipio melds better with the ensemble better than 50 Cent, who has no real reason to be in the film, other than a well-timed record-drop of “P.I.M.P.” during one of the action scenes.

While it's unknown if the franchise will continue, Expend4bles is a bit of a passing of the torch film, which sees Sylvester Stallone step back, as Jason Statham takes on the lead role. With that comes the end of the original concept of The Expendables, where all the big 1980s action stars come together in one film. At least the end result is entertaining.

Trailer for Expend4bles

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.