EXPEND4BLES is the story of a group of mercenaries avenging their friend’s death. The Expendables get a new mission from Marsh (Andy Garcia) of CIA. They are told to head to Libya and prevent a mercenary, Rahmat (Iko Uwais), from stealing a nuclear detonator, which the latter plans to give to the mysterious Ocelot. While the Expendables try to land at an airstrip in Libya, they are attacked by Rahmat’s army. Almost all of them get down from the plane and attack Rahmat’s men. Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), however, keeps flying the aeroplane and indulges in aerial aggression. Sadly, the plane is shot down. Barney is believed to be dead. The Expendables is devastated. On top of it, Marsh asks them to go after Ocelot and Rahmat, but without Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) since he jeopardized the mission while trying to save Barney. But Christmas is not ready to lie down while his friend died a brutal death. He manages to track and follow his group members. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Spenser Cohen, Kurt Wimmer and Tad Daggerhart’s story is just okay. Kurt Wimmer, Tad Daggerhart and Max Adams’ screenplay is not up to the mark. We have seen far more exciting moments in the previous films of the franchise. The dialogues are just fine.
Scott Waugh’s direction is decent. To give credit where it’s due, he has handled the grandeur and action like a pro. Some scenes are too good like Barney and Christmas’s fight in the bar in the beginning, Christmas and Gina’s (Megan Fox) playful face-off before hitting the bed, The Expendables being ambushed on the ship etc. The finale is also arresting.
On the flipside, though the team tries its best, the action moments fail to compel viewers to break into applause or whistles. The villain is weak. The intention of a positive character to turn antagonist is not convincing enough. The bromance is also an important aspect of THE EXPENDABLES franchise and even that is lacking in adequate doses. Lastly, the absence of subtitles makes it difficult to decipher certain dialogues, especially those of Jason Statham.
Speaking of performances, Sylvester Stallone is quite good but his screen time is limited. He’s like the face of the franchise. Hence, fans will be disappointed to see that he is in an extended guest appearance. Jason Statham gets the maximum screen time and he’s superb as always. Megan Fox is sizzling and puts up a very good act. 50 Cent (Easy Day), Dolph Lundgren (Gunner), Randy Couture (Toll Road), Jacob Scipio (Galan) and Levy Tran (Lash) don’t get much scope. Iko Uwais has an arresting screen presence but again, gets side-lined after a point. Andy Garcia is okay. Tony Jaa (Decha) leaves a huge mark.
Guillaume Roussel’s music is fine and in sync with the film’s genre and theme. Tim Maurice-Jones’ cinematography is neat. The production design is apt. Neil McClean’s costumes are stylish and make the characters look cool. VFX is shockingly tacky in a few scenes. The action is a bit violent, as expected, and works. Michael J Duthie’s editing is slick.
On the whole, EXPEND4BLES is a poor show due to the weak storyline, unexciting action and limited screen time of Sylvester Stallone.