‘Expend4bles’ Review – Another Franchise Pushes Out Sylvester Stallone And Dies

Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross in Expend4bles. Photo Credit: Yana Blajeva © 2023 Lionsgate

The idea behind creating a franchise around the Sylvester Stallone-directed action-packed The Expendables was pretty simple. What if we took all of the 1980s action stars and put them in a movie that was essentially a superhero mashup? There was indeed an audience for this film when it first released.

Sylvester Stallone character poster for Expend4bles (2023), Lionsgate

The Expendables was the last call for action heroes, and its success led to an additional box office hit. An online leak that occurred a few weeks before the third movie was released, however, hurt its financial gains at the box office; costing the studio tens of millions of dollars.

As a result, the financial damage ended up putting the franchise on ice for almost a decade. Which action stars could they possibly bring back to keep people interested in a new film?

Lionsgate decided to spice up the dynamic by bringing in Megan Fox and rapper 50 Cent to reinvigorate the lineup. An idea that may have sounded good on paper but was terribly executed.

Making matters worse, Stallone initially departed the film over creative reasons, before changing his mind and teasing a return on social media. To make a long story short, the fourth entry in the series is probably a film that didn’t need to exist.

Sylvester Stallone teases his return to The Expendables via Instagram

Expend4bles begins with the team being sent to Libya to keep mercenary Rahmat (Iko Uwais) from stealing nuclear warheads along with the detonator needed to create a major international incident. Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team join the fight to stop the violent mercenaries from maintaining nuclear power.

The situation goes belly up when Ross is shot out of the air and killed during the mission that ultimately fails to stop Rahmat’s plans. Ross’s death sends Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), his best friend and colleague, thirsty for revenge but the CIA will not allow him a second chance at Rahmat, as he violated direct orders in the last mission.

Megan Fox as Gina, Andy Garcia as Marsh and Jacob Scipio as Galan in The Expendables 4. Photo Credit: Yana Blajeva

Rahmat plans on using the bomb to stage an attack against Russia making it look like it was the United States that was responsible. The new team has to go in and prevent Rahmat from succeeding in his mission and bringing about World War III.

Expend4bles is a movie for audiences in dire need of entertainment amid the Hollywood strikes, which has seen studios rapidly pulling their theatrical releases. If you’ve seen one film in the series, you’ve seen them all; this movie, however, is arguably the worst of the franchise thus far.

50 Cent as Easy Day, Megan Fox as Gina, Dolph Lundgren as Gunner, Jacob Scipio as Galan and Andy Garcia as Marsh in Expend4bles. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate.

Squeezing out Stallone as its main star and favoring Megan Fox, under the guise that she would lead the franchise into the future, has to be one of the dumbest creative decisions ever. Even if she hadn’t turned into a crazy witch-lady dressing her sons up as girls, Fox has the charisma of a fence post — making her on-screen presence non-existent.

The addition of 50 Cent did not help as he does his best Mr. T impersonation, showing little emotion and having no lines of dialogue to make him stand out. Jacob Scipio is also in the film, playing the son of Antonio Banderas’s character in the last movie — spending the majority of his screen time doing a cheap impersonation of Banderas as Puss in Boots.

Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson as ‘Easy Day,’ in Expend4bles. Photo Credit: Yana Blajeva © 2023 Lionsgate

There’s not a single inspiring performance from anyone in Expend4bles. It’s clear that the creators didn’t have a good plan on how to proceed with a fourth movie and Sylvester Stallone stepping in and out of the role fundamentally hurt what was already a thin idea.

The last two efforts of The Expendables franchise prove that this series should have gotten out while it was ahead instead of bastardizing what little good will it had with audiences to begin with.

NEXT: ‘The Equalizer 3’ Review: Antoine Fuqua Takes The Franchise Back To Its Roots