The Expend4bles

Expend4bles or The Expendables 4 is another example of a faded franchise that has long outstayed its welcome. There’s only so much zany inspiration to be found in the concept of Hollywood’s biggest tough guys of the ’80s, ’90s and even today having what they perceive to be one last hurrah of their glory days.

This fourth entry is not a classic case of too much of a good thing. Rather it’s too much of an overblown fiasco that doesn’t know when to quit. And, boy, does it not know when.

Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham return yet again with some old and new faces as they assemble the Expendables into another mission that simply involves shootouts, fight scenes and explosions with the occasional break for limp one-liners that are about as old as the idea of this series.

Okay, I guess I’ll explain the plot. The Expendables, once again, led by Stallone’s Barney Ross and Statham’s Lee Christmas, are on a mission to keep nuclear warheads from being stolen.

The team consists of Dolph Lundgren’s Gunner, Randy Couture’s Toll Road, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as a new member called Easy Day, and, oh, let’s not forget to add Megan Fox as a CIA operative and Statham’s ex-girlfriend. Except for Fox, everyone is suitably cast, but Fox is woefully miscast and unconvincing.

Also, their boss is Andy Garcia because, this time, the Expendables need a little babysitting in order to get the job done.

The villain is Suarto Rahmat (Iko Uwais), a mercenary responsible for stealing the warheads. He’s the most forgettable of the baddies in this series, but then again, his predecessors were Eric Roberts, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Mel Gibson.

I thought the first Expendables was a cheese fest, but the sequel managed to improve on its predecessor and make it absurdly fun. The third and especially fourth installments do nothing more than show actors who look like they’re in it just for the paycheck.

The action scenes are ludicrous, with some uninspiring noise that cranks it up to 11 even after the stereo stops working. The only sequence that works is when Statham rides a motorcycle on a ship and does some ridiculous stunt work. It’s the only bright spot.

As for the rest, these are simply one-dimensional characters that have nothing better to do except act as if they’re in an interminable video game. There’s no sense of tension, menace, or jeopardy.

Let’s hope that The Expendables 5 is nowhere in the cards.

Grade: D

(Rated R for strong/bloody violence throughout, language and sexual material.)

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