Like most action film buffs, I loved the first Expendables movie and the second wasn’t too bad either. When Expendables 3 rolled around back in 2014, you could tell the spark was missing – and having a series famous for its violence and brutality reduced to a PG-13 rating didn’t help either.
Nearly ten years later the gang is (mostly) back for another, and possibly final, adventure in The Expendables 4 (also known as Expend4bles). It’s not their best outing, but any movie with this much machismo has just enough fun to be a nice time killer.
The story blasts into action with our villain named Rahmat (played viciously by Iko Uwais of The Raid fame and nicely in Triple Threat) stealing some nuclear weapons so he can raise tensions between the United States and Russia to lead them to war. Naturally, the only ones that can stop him and save the world are (you guessed it) our ragtag group of aging heroes known as the Expendables.
This time our roster consists of Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), Toll (Randy Couture), with newcomers Easy Day (50 Cent) and Galan (Jacob Scipio) playing the son of Antonio Banderas’ character Galgo from the previous film. There’s also some others that join later such as Megan Fox playing Lee’s lady friend, as well as Tony Jaa who makes an appearance.
Despite not being as fun or as action-packed as the first two films, I still managed to have a decent time with this one. I won’t say too much as to not spoil the film, but you can tell they tried to shift focus onto Jason Statham and his character this time around. While he does pretty well working with what he has, you can still tell the so-so writing, pacing and “special” effects get in the way of what should’ve been a return to form for the series.
Also as with the previous entry, it feels like no one is really enjoying themselves, except for a few having a good time and being funny, like Dolph Lundgren’s Gunner putting on glasses in the middle of using his sniper rifle as his eyes aren’t what they used to be. Perhaps if everyone was on board like them, the movie would be more enjoyable to watch just to see what fun they’d have next. But for the most part everyone seems to be there only for the paycheck while going through the motions.
As long as you’re not expecting too much and can turn your brain off before watching, you might enjoy The Expendables 4. I wish things could’ve been better with the writing, pacing, effects, and the cast overall. Despite those issues, however, it delivers just enough action thrills to be a decent time killer at the movies and, inevitably, a solid home rental as well.