Expend4bles is the fourth movie in the Expendables franchise, which began in 2010 with the idea of casting 80s throwback actors in an 80s throwback plotted film; it’s 2023, and the bit has run its course. Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Megan Fox, and a coterie of heavily muscled men, grunt their way through the dialogue. The plot, as thin as it is, involves the group of mercenaries pursuing a terrorist group that has assembled a nuclear weapon.
Expend4bles attempts to cater to the most toxic hyper-masculine stereotypes. It is filled with loud explosions, scantily clad women, and the mass murder of other human beings all for entertainment. The villains and most – but not all – of the victims of the mass murder are almost always people of color. The first major action beat features the near-total destruction of a group of Arab terrorists, and the lion’s share of the violence depicts people of color or face/raceless bodies spraying blood. Expend4bles glorifies that kind of violence, explicitly tying it to masculinity and American hegemony.
All of that might not bother many in the film’s audience, but brushing all that aside, Expend4bles is stultifyingly boring. There is not a single moment that isn’t predictable, and all of the characters are running around with plot armor. Expend4bles is not the kind of movie to kill its heroes, so there’s no suspense that their violence will return any real consequences.
Action films are in the post-Mission: Impossible, post-John Wick era when audiences need more than guys grunting while shooting big weapons with big explosions in the background. There’s not a single creative choice, a single creative sequence, a single jaw-dropping moment; even people jumping out of the plane is somehow boring.
I won’t even get into how paper-thin the characters are. It isn’t worth commenting upon.
Expend4bles is not just expendable; it’s the kind of offensive, boring nonsense that could make one lose a love for movies.