‘Expend4bles’ movie review: This old boys’ reunion is loud, nonsensical and no fun

Nostalgia cannot save this pulpy mess stuffed with muddled, unengaging action, silly stunts and flat one-liners  

September 22, 2023 05:33 pm | Updated 05:42 pm IST

Sylvester Stallone in a scene from ‘The Expend4bles’

Sylvester Stallone in a scene from ‘The Expend4bles’

An ocelot is a little spotted wild cat with a top weight of 15 kilograms. Wonder why the criminal mastermind who wants to profit off a nuclear war in Expend4bles chose that for a moniker. Jaguar or puma would have been more masterful — if they were looking at felines in the Central Americas for inspiration.

Director: Scott Waugh
Starring: Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Randy Couture, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, Andy García
Storyline: A nuclear warhead is stolen for the express purpose of starting World War III and it is left to Barney and his boys to save the world
Run time: 104 minutes

The fourth edition of The Expendables, about a bunch of elite mercenaries who do all the impossible things mere mortals cannot, is on the track of the Ocelot. The film starts in Libya with Rahmat (Iko Uwais) stealing nuclear warheads for Ocelot to start the war to end all wars and make much filthy lucre.

Barney (Sylvester Stallone), the leader of the Expendables, has a history with Ocelot from 25 years ago. After Barney and his second in command, Christmas (Jason Statham) gruffly throw one-liners at each other and Gina (Megan Fox), Christmas’ girlfriend, shrieks at both the men, they go to some sort of dive bar to retrieve Barney’s ring, which he lost at a bout of thumb wrestling. Then there is more pounding of tattooed low-lives before the two head out to their lair for the mission.

Megan Fox, from left, Andy Garcia, and Jacob Scipio in a scene from ‘The Expend4bles’

Megan Fox, from left, Andy Garcia, and Jacob Scipio in a scene from ‘The Expend4bles’ | Photo Credit: Yana Blajeva

Christmas and Barney are joined by the other members of the team including Gunner (Dolph Lundgren) who now has a prescription scope and a 70s rocker hairpiece, and Toll Road (Randy Couture). Easy Day (Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson) is a new member of the Expendables as is Galan (Jacob Scipio), the son of sharpshooter Galgo (Antonio Banderas) from The Expendables 3. CIA agent Marsh (Andy García) is the Expendables’ handler.

The mission goes south (naturally) and Christmas is removed from the team for failing to obey a direct order. After a brief gig as security for a social media influencer, Christmas secretly follows the team, now led by Gina, who brings in Lash (Levy Tran). Christmas is helped by former Expendable, Decha (Tony Jaa) who has eschewed violence for peace but joins in the blood-letting after the briefest of pauses.

The original Expendables was fun in the goofy way it celebrated all the action stars of the 1980s with Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and a bunch of others. The law of diminishing returns came into play with a vengeance, and by the time we reached the fourth instalment, there is nothing to prop up this pulpy mess—nostalgia can only do so much. The action is not engaging, the gaps in logic are overlaid with the loud music, the stunts are silly, and the one-liners fall flat with a soft, apologetic squelch. There is really no reason to watch this grimy mess, and it is best erased from screens and our memories in a jiffy. Sly definitely deserved better in his last outing as Barney.

Expend4bles is currently running in theatres

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