- The idea behind The Expendables was to dust off former action stars
- Over time, it was decided to update the formula
- Unfortunately, the fourth part of the series is cheap in terms of scenario and acting
- There’s not much of Stallone here, Uwais and Jaa don’t have a chance to shine and only Statham shines.
- The film has flashes of creativity, but overall, maybe it’s time to retire
The idea of the nostalgic, ironic series, whose Polish title was inexcusably distorted – about the most perishable old nerds from the era of cassette tape rentals whose use for cinema has long since passed – is a million-dollar idea that seems possible. Exploit it as long as the faithful are still breathing. As long as Stallone, the project’s overall leader, and other decision-makers stuck to this program line, everything held together: the movies made money, and a very large audience enjoyed the kisses.
But there was a desire for more, and in order to reach a mass audience, which could not be demanded, the winning team was replaced, young people were recruited, stars not necessarily associated with mainstream action cinema were selected, and the violence was toned down. Below, the digital bloodstains were erased and flipped onto their faces. That’s why the fourth part of “The Expendables” was supposed to be a return to the old and proven formula, proof that no one’s muscles have been loosened yet and the guns are still oiled. But this is nonsense, or in other words, inflationary cinema, because since Dolph Lundgren personally guarantees that the production budget will be at the same level as before, it means that for dollars you can only buy plastic houses from “Monopoly”.
Dolph Lundgren in “The Expendables 4”
The poverty, both in acting and script, could not be covered up by bringing the stars of the Asian scene, Tony Jaa and Echo Uwais, to Bulgaria, where filming took place, because the shaky camera and fragmented editing make it impossible to appreciate their considerable skills. There’s probably not much to say about the plot – where the mercenaries must avoid a nuclear crisis that will inevitably lead to World War III – because it was never a bargaining chip for the series, but the same goes for the cast, and that was always its goal and reason.. However, The group chose faces that were either completely unknown or completely unrelated to the genre.
both. Stallone, who has always carried the series’ banner, probably has fifteen minutes of screen time here, and these are by no means energetic action scenes; Most of the time, he’s either giving a speech from his seat or joking around with Statham, to whom he’s clearly handed the baton. The British mining and shooting specialist is at the forefront here and he doesn’t even need the rest of his buddies to have fun, because they’re just getting in the way anyway.
In that light, “The Expendables 4” seems more like a favor done by a friend of a friend than a team effort executed with varying degrees of success, but three times over. Such a return is even more disappointing after nearly a decade of absence from screens, and perhaps we finally need to face the truth and accept what is unacceptable: that it is indeed time to let go.
Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, 50 Cent, Levi Tran and Jacob Scipio in “The Expendables 4”
Because this recycling of simple, old-fashioned action cinema without pretensions and compromises can only be successful if it adheres to the rules it established, and the series stops following them, without having any idea of a new direction.
But there are some really good moments here. The chase through Gaddafi’s former chemical complex is a first-rate spectacle, making use of the stunt crew’s talent and, at times, practical special effects. Statham’s duel with Uwais, accompanied by Knives playing metallic choruses on the gratings and railings, might also be fun. However, these are just glimpses of above-average creativity in a bland, mediocre, and, above all, lazy film.
Perhaps the biggest sin of “The Expendables” is that it has become too modern. The whole idea of the series was to go back to the past, bring back the fun of playing war, breathe a reactionary spirit into a digital body, and finally lay down the weapon and join the enemy, standing still. One row with all those who play today, somewhere under the capital, Sofia, an activist without imagination or heart. I think, unfortunately, the last shot has been fired.
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