'Expend4bles' review: Probably the worst movie you’ll see all year
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Are you that surprised to hear “Expend4bles,” the fourth entry in a D-level franchise that’s been on life support for the last decade, is absolute trash? On one hand, you almost want to admire how director Scott Waugh and writers Kurt Wimmer, Ted Daggerhart, and Max Adams are unabashedly committed to making a colossal piece of shit and hoping audiences are content with being along for the ride. I’ve seen enough movies that didn’t understand their identity or what they were trying to accomplish.
In the case of “Expend4bles” it’s obvious early on, when Jason Statham’s character, angry that he’s been inconvenienced, tells someone: “next time, take me for a pony ride,” exactly the type of bargain bin slop it wants to peddle. If that wasn’t enough, how about PlayStation 1 graphics and the world’s most deepfake CGI which makes the visuals from such cinematic classics “Spy Kids 3D” or “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” look like Oscar contenders.
Somehow this movie makes basic sequences of Staham driving a Jeep appear as they were shot on a soundstage in 1974, which might be the most impressive thing in this entire movie. Made even more hilarious when you find out the film’s jaw dropping $100 million dollar budget. Lionsgate, show me the receipts.
Even by the already low standards set forth by 2014’s “The Expendables 3,” which made the odd choice of neutering itself with a PG13 rating, “Expend4bles,” which goes back to its R-rated roots if only to drop a few F-bombs, never stacks up despite the introduction of new characters played by Megan Fox and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson who amount to nothing-burgers in a movie that has no idea how to mesh them with the veterans. Makes you wonder why they decided to cast them in the first place. But like many decisions made in this inept action picture, it’s best not to ask questions or risk losing your sanity.
You can tell from the opening moments as the film brandishes an on-screen text saying “Gaddafi’s old chemical plant” that no fucks were given in the writers room. I didn’t know this at the time, but it also served as a subtextual warning to hit up the box office for a refund. You’d think I know better by now.
Anyway, I digress. Where were we? Oh yes, the plot!
Now here’s where things get spoilery, so if you’re hellbent on knowing what happens with these discounted, disregarded, and geriatric G.I: Joes, I’d stop reading.
For those who dare take the plunge, the mission to the chemical plant, which involves a backwards ass plot to stop a terrorist named Rahmat (Iko Uwais who you should watch in “The Raid: Redemption” instead) who plans to blow up a Russian satellite and start World War III, ends in bloodshed and not all of the Expendables crew make it out alive. Including fearless leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone). But at least his death conveniently declassified government intel that’ll help fellow Expend4bles Christmas (Statham), Gina (Fox), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren) Toll (Randy Couture), and, uh, Easy Day (Jackson) track down the culprits and hopefully destroy a massive crime regime in the process. Don’t worry though, Barney definitely didn’t create an elaborate ruse to fake his own death to unseal the intel. And he surely won’t come back in the final moments in what is probably the most jarring fake-out this franchise has ever mustered.
At least the earlier films had an infectious energy to them, partially because it had a roster of bankable stars (remember Jet Li, Steve Austin, Chuck Norris, and Bruce Willis?) but mainly, it was an homage to the glory days of Stallone’s “Rambo” or Schwarzenegger’s “Predator:” Macho-action flicks that had a sense of humor while also kicking a boatload of ass. Now, four movies into the “Expendables," the wind is out of the sails, nobody wants to be here, and the level of craftsmanship is in the toilet.
I had a feeling this was going to be bad, but “Expend4bles” still found a way to exceed my wildest expectations.
EXPEND4BLES is now playing in theaters.