Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham reunite with a new crew after nearly a decade to kick more old-man ass with knives and guns blazing in Expendables 4! The old action hero Suicide Squad is back with a fresh rotation and even more obscure talent to do the job few could accomplish. What’s remarkable is that even after almost another decade, The Expendables is still largely enjoyable if you’re willing to turn your brain off and overlook some glaring green screen effects. Once you’re past the early 2000’s CGI the over-done blood and kills really satisfy in that perfectly “movie cheesy” way (meaning it’s ridiculous as a concept, but seeing the execution was sort of impressive).
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) are largely out of the mercenary game until a chance to bag an undercover operation from Barney’s past arises. The Expendables must once again face small armies to retrieve nuclear launch detonators that could prevent World War 3. With new faces on the team (Megan Fox, 50 Cent, Tony Jaa) joining Gunner (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture), the Expendables will face their greatest foe yet in arms dealer Rahmat (Iko Uwais), a master of weapons and combat.
Unlike the previous Expendables entries, this fourth go-around smartly focuses much of its attention on Jason Statham, who’s a one-man action movie machine and a total blast to watch. As absurd as this film and franchise can feel at times, there are many terrific action sequences throughout that involve a lot of stealth, quick-scoping, and impressive knife play. Statham’s Christmas is as charming as ever in his knitted sweaters and beret, cracking wise before he starts cracking skulls in effective fashion. Following Meg 2: The Trench, Statham continues to win over audiences and to keep ships from sinking.
Expendables 4 is at its best when it’s unconcerned with story and more singularly focused on close quarters combat. While there are several stylish and awesome kills aided by guns, the best bits of the film revolve around Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais, two masters of combat and martial arts from Thailand and Indonesia. Bringing these two stunt-masters into the Expendables world was exactly the breath of fresh air this franchise needed for a revival, as they’re capable of performing on levels most people couldn’t comprehend (watch The Raid/Raid2 and the Ong-Bak films). Watching the two of them using blades and wooden spiked clubs to defeat waves of enemies was nothing short of glorious and certainly makes the whole experience worthwhile.
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