FILM REVIEW: Expend4bles
Fails to live up to the original premise of the franchise
After a nine-year hiatus, the Expendables franchise comes out of retirement with Expend4bles, and what should be continuing the genius gimmick of a bunch of action stars from the 80s and 90s teaming up in one film to kick arse now feels more like a throwaway Christmas special (quite literally in the fact that Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas is now leading the charge). When a mission to take down a terrorist who is after nuclear weapons goes awry, Christmas sets out on a quest for revenge alongside a new team of Expendables.
The action here is serviceable, often performed in camera by professionals such as Statham and Tony Jaa, the latter of whom steals the show with his psychotic glee at being brought back into the fold. That said, while it is performed in camera, that camera is often too up close, overly shaky and accompanied by really poor CGI. What saves the day (to some degree) is the banter between the cast, consisting of ego-maniac macho-men acting tough and trading cheesy lines. It’s lamely entertaining.
The problem here is that Expend4bles seems to have forgotten the whole gimmick that brought this franchise to life. Gone are the hard-hitters like Willis, Schwarzenegger and even Stallone who is reduced to a minor role, and in their place are the likes of 50 Cent, Levy Tran and Megan Fox, all of whom have decent enough chemistry with each other, but they have hardly earned the right to join the calibre of cast that these films are used to. The team dynamic is gone and, more than anything, Expend4bles winds up feeling like a straight-to-DVD revenge flick starring Statham.
For what it is, Expend4bles is entertaining enough, a disposable bit of fun that offers less the more you think about it. But for what it is meant to be, that being a coming together of action heroes from your childhood dreams, Expend4bles is not that.