EXPENDA4LES returns to its Rated R roots.
“Expend4bles” marks the return of the action-packed franchise to its R-rated roots, but unfortunately, it also marks a significant dip in quality compared to its predecessors. While the film delivers on the promise of explosive action and bloodshed, it falls short in several key areas that have made the franchise a fan favorite. Check out our interview with producer Les Weldon!
One of the few saving graces of “Expend4bles” is Jason Statham, who once again proves himself as a reliable action star. Statham’s charisma and physicality shine through in his performance, making him the standout actor in the film. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast cannot say the same. Many of the other actors come across as amateurs, failing to deliver the same level of intensity and presence that fans have come to expect from these films.
One of the most glaring issues with “Expend4bles” is the absence of Legacy Action Stars, a staple of the series that has featured iconic figures from the action genre in previous installments. This absence leaves a void not adequately filled by the new additions to the cast. It is disappointing for fans who have enjoyed the nostalgia and camaraderie of seeing classic action stars on screen together. Previously, this franchise featured Arnold Schanrneger, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mel Gibson, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas, and Chuck Norris.
The film’s special effects also leave much to be desired.
The digital blood, in particular, stands out as a jarring and distracting element that looks like it was lifted from a dated video game. The CGI work generally appears outdated and lacks the polish and realism that modern audiences expect. It starkly contrasts the practical effects and gritty realism that characterized the earlier entries in the series. However, there are plenty of gruesome kills and bloodshed to make up for all that.
Stallone is the backbone of these films but manages to be sidelined.
Sylvester Stallone, the driving force behind the franchise, is beginning to show his age, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to imagine the series continuing without the participation of classic action stars. The absence of these iconic figures is a glaring weakness in “Expend4bles,” and it raises questions about the franchise’s future. One casting choice that left many fans scratching their heads was the inclusion of Andy Garcia, who felt out of place in a film known for its action-packed ensemble. While Garcia is undoubtedly a talented actor, he didn’t fit the mold of what fans have come to expect from an “Expendables” film.
Adding Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais to the “Expendables” cast undoubtedly injected a fresh burst of adrenaline into the franchise. Their martial arts prowess and on-screen charisma elevated the action sequences to a new level, reminding fans why they fell in love with action movies in the first place. Jaa and Uwais seamlessly blended into the ensemble, earning their place alongside the established action legends. On the flip side, including 50 Cent and Megan Fox felt like a missed opportunity. While they may have their fan bases, their performances failed to match the caliber of the franchise’s veterans. It serves as a reminder that casting choices in an ensemble action film can either enhance or reduce the overall impact and “Expend4bles” experienced a mix of both in its quest to revitalize the series.
I give Expend4bles 3.5 out of 5 stars. Despite its shortcomings, “Expend4bles” still has moments of mindless enjoyment, particularly for those with a strong attachment to the franchise. For many fans, the film’s redeeming quality lies in the opportunity it provides for bonding experiences, like the one I experienced with my Dad, who I took to see it. In the end, “Expend4bles” may not live up to the high standards set by its predecessors, but it still provides some nostalgic fun for those willing to overlook its flaws.