As a franchise, The Expendables started with a fun gimmick; An action movie with an ensemble cast comprised solely of genre legends. The third film was so bad that it almost killed any chance of a fourth movie. Yet, despite all odds, Expend4bles (or The Expendables 4), directed by Scott Waugh, premiered in September 2023. It’s a better movie than The Expendables 3, but that’s not saying much.
Where can you watch Expend4bles in the UAE?
+ Jason Statham
+ A few cool-looking explosions
– Bad CGI
– Incoherent plot
– Outdated jokes
– Not enough Sly Stallone
The narrative is comforting and familiar. We get the team of off-the-books heroes led by Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross; Jason Statham is back as the knife-yielding Lee Christmas, Dolph Lundgren is the sniper with terrible eyesight Gunner Jensen, and Randy Couture reprises his role as the demolitionist Toll Road.
New team members include the CIA agent in charge of the team, Marsh (Andy García), new guy Easy Day (Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent), Lee Christmas’s on-and-off girlfriend, Gina (Megan Fox), and the son of Galgan (played in previous movies by Antonio Banderas), Galan (Jacob Scipio).
There’s also a team of villains led by the mysterious Ocelot and his second-in-command, Rahmat (played by Iko Uwais). The bad guys want to start an international incident by blowing up a nuke, and it’s up to the Expendables to, once again, save the world.
A boring action movie
Expend4bles has everything we’ve come to expect from this franchise and more, considering it’s R rating. The movie features just over 90 minutes of bad CGI explosions, continuous gratuitous violence, and awful banter between Stallone and Statham’s characters. However, it somehow manages to be boring during the few scenes when no one’s killing anyone.
One of the film’s many issues is how exciting the trailer makes it out to be. The promotional materials sold this as a top-notch action feature. Instead, we get mediocre at best. While these types of movies are never about the plot, there’s hardly anything resembling a coherent storyline.
Stallone gets very little screen time and the final cut shows he had no hand in the writing process. Jason Statham becomes the de-facto star, and he’s the only cast member who seems to at least be trying to carry this film. Most of the actors look like they would rather be filming a soap commercial, which isn’t surprising considering the dialogue and the so-called jokes are either dated or over-the-top.
There are hints of a good action flick peppered in throughout, but there’s too much of a snooze-fest in between. While this isn’t a long movie, it does drag more than it should. The special effects look cheap, the hand-to-hand combat scenes are poorly choreographed, and the gore is overdone to the point of caricature.
It doesn’t help that the film lost what made the first The Expendables fun and worth watching; a stellar cast full of 80s and 90s action stars. The ones who did return don’t get enough screen time, and the younger stars look bored.
Overall, The Expendables franchise should have stopped after its third movie. Everything about this film, from the bad CGI to the sub-par acting, is outdated. And no, including a random scene where Jason Statham beats up an annoying social media influencer doesn’t make it “hip.”
What are other critics saying about Expend4bles (Video Reviews):
Jeremy Jahns described the film as “boring” and criticized the sub-par cast performances.
3C Films thought this was the worst film of the year. He was particularly critical of cheap-looking special effects.
JoBlo Originals gave the movie a 5/10 and described it as “passable entertainment.”
Lori C. is an entertainment writer who studied Film and Television at University. She watches and reviews films and series from most genres, but some of her favourites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and True Blood.