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Expend4bles (Subtitled) (15)

Cast: 50 Cent, Megan Fox, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren
Genre: Action
Author(s): Kurt Wimmer, Max Adams, Tad Daggerhart
Director: Scott Waugh
Release Date: 22/09/2023
Running Time: 103mins
Country: US
Year: 2023

Barney Ross and the team square off against arms dealer Suarto Rahmat and his private army, who are planning to inflame global tensions with stolen nuclear detonators. The terrorists intend to launch the deadly payload from a cargo ship off the coast of Russia, triggering war with America. Ross, second-in-command Lee Christmas, his girlfriend Gina, sniper Gunner Jensen, demolitions expert Toll Road and new recruit Easy Day must storm the vessel to prevent Rahmat from enacting his plan.


LondonNet Film Review

Expend4bles (15) Film Review from LondonNet

Realism and plausibility are both expendable in a bombastic fourth instalment of the action-packed franchise, which has changed directors for each deadly mission in the company of testosterone-fuelled mercenaries led by Sylvester Stallone’s cigar-chomping Barney Ross. The Rocky star helmed the initial foray back in 2010 and the baton passes here to Scott Waugh via Simon West and Patrick Hughes. Waugh orchestrates destruction on land, sea and in the air, working from a ramshackle script penned by Kurt Wimmer, Max Adams and Tad Daggerhart which thumbs its bloodied nose at naturally flowing dialogue and deep characterisation…

A proficient, pyrotechnic-laden opening set piece is oddly truncated by the Expend4bles title card a few minutes before a cacophonous, fiery crescendo provides the obvious place to draw breath and survey the devastation. Three female characters are permitted to trade barbs with returning cast including Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture, and only Megan Fox’s sharp-shooter makes a discernible impact in figure-hugging attire that seems better suited to a gym than a battle royale with gun-toting terrorists intent on starting a third world war.

Slickly choreographed hand-to-hand combat between Jason Statham and Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais clearly has only one logical outcome but Waugh’s sweat-drenched picture begs and pleads with us to suspend disbelief and consider their frenetic fisticuffs an evenly matched encounter. During another overblown sequence, a two-dimensional villain likens one member of the eponymous crew to a sexually transmitted infection: “Always showing up where you’re not wanted and refusing to go away.” The franchise is equally guilty of outstaying its welcome.

Non-nonsense CIA agent Marsh (Andy Garcia) recruits Ross (Stallone) and his team to prevent Suarto Rahmat (Iko Uwais) from forcibly acquiring a consignment of nuclear detonators concealed in Colonel Gaddafi’s old chemical plant in Libya. Regrettably, the terrorists steal the deadly payload and prepare to trigger war between America and Russia by detonating a bomb on a cargo ship situated off the coast of Vladivostok. The team including second-in-command Lee Christmas (Statham), his on-off girlfriend Gina (Fox), sniper Gunner Jensen (Lundgren), demolitions expert Toll Road (Couture) and new recruits Easy Day (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), Galan (Jacob Scipio) and Lash (Levy Tran) prepare to storm the vessel to thwart Rahmat and unmask the plot’s diabolical and glaringly obvious mastermind, codename Ocelot.

Expend4bles is a joyless slog that makes surprisingly heavy work of neutralising the terrorist threat and averting nuclear armageddon. A heavily sexualised Fox summarises her character’s combat skills in one line of dialogue to justify a high-profile role in a final mission assignment that is literally all at sea. Abandon ship.

– Jo Planter


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