Over the years, Hollywood has made some very bad movies on a huge budget but Director Scott Waugh has topped all that. Expendables 4 (known as “Expend4bles“) has a $100 million budget but as you start watching the film you begin to realize that the movie has a predictable story, action that looks fake, CGI that is bad and actors who are just going through the motions of making a film and collecting a paycheck. So, then the question anyone would ask is how expensive can a movie like this be? There is a huge mismatch as a $100 million budget movie should be way better in terms of quality. Expend4bles is the kind of movie that leaves a bad taste in your mouth and you hope against hope that a 5th film never gets made.
The first few Expendables movies had its appeal as it brought together A-list action stars from the ’80s and 90’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger for example) and the films were a fun watch albeit popcorn entertainment nonetheless. The Expendables 3, the 3rd film in the franchise brought back only a few members of the original cast but a slew of new actors like Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, Wesley Snipes and Mel Gibson joined the franchise. Now, after almost 10 years, the 4th film is here with a cast that feels like the franchise is going backward to the point where I hope they don’t make another one.
We are introduced to Megan Fox who plays Jason Statham‘s girlfriend and who also happens to be an Expendable. They are all living their lives in hiding only revealing themselves when needed to save the world. The world needs saving again as Rahmat (Iko Uwais) is going around collecting parts to build a nuclear bomb. CIA agent Marsh (Andy Garcia) wants Barney (Sylvester Stallone) and his team to help with the mission. He also enlists Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson, Randy Couture and Jacob Scipio (who happens to be Antonio Banderas’s character’s son). The problem with the franchise is that it is built on actors who are aging out and the young blood coming in no one cares to watch them on the big screen. Unless they roped in a current action star like Chris Hemsworth or Chris Evans, I don’t see this franchise surviving I believe the box office numbers will be so bad that it would be hard to justify another movie. Tony Jaa shows up after a while and shares some decent moments with the team but it is not good enough for someone of his pedigree.
The creative process behind this movie is non-existent. I am not sure how the writers who came up with this story and screenplay have a job after this mess of a movie. Zero thinking of how to utilize the existing crop of good action stars to create something worthwhile for the audience. After seeing heavy action movies like Extraction, Extraction 2, the John Wick series and the Mission Impossible series, it is hard to like this Expendables movie. Director Scott Waugh has made some decent action movies before with Need for Speed being his best one. As a studio or a producer, how can anyone trust him to make an action movie that will at least break even at the box office?
I would not recommend this movie to anyone which is truly disappointing. Stallone needs to be part of the creative team like he was in the first 3 movies, only then will this franchise take off again. You cannot have people running the show who have no clue what they are doing. You cannot cast aging action stars and expect every movie they are a part of to do well at the box office. Worst of all, you cannot have a budget of $100 million and make bad movies. Christopher Nolan had a budget of $100 million for Oppenheimer and that is on its way to making close to $1 billion dollars. Maybe it is the studio execs who need a reality check. Expendables 4 was a wasted opportunity and it might very well be the film that puts this franchise to bed once and for all.