After a decade-long hiatus, ‘The Expendables 4‘ returns to the big screen but falls short of expectations due to its outdated storyline and underutilization of its star-studded cast.
A decade in the making, ‘The Expendables 4‘ officially marks its comeback to the silver screen. Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his team of mercenaries embark on a perilous mission to confront arms dealer Suarto Rahmat (Iko Uwais) and prevent him from unleashing nuclear devastation upon the world. The battle of these battle-hardened warriors is fraught with challenges and unexpected secrets.
The ‘Expendables’ franchise once held a strong allure in the early 2010s with its three successful films before taking a backseat to the wave of superhero movies.
Spectacular Action Can’t Mask the Stale Plot
Returning after a decade, ‘The Expendables 4‘ fails to bring anything new to the table in terms of plot. The film follows the tried-and-true formula of heroes facing off against a villain who masterminds global disruption.
The rare shining moments in the film continue to be its action sequences. The movie invests heavily in meticulously choreographed gunfights, explosions, car chases, hand-to-hand combat,…
Especially noteworthy are the intense close combat scenes in ‘The Expendables 4,’ where Jason Statham’s character, the assassin Lee Christmas, wields a blade against Rahmat.
The two adversaries showcase their equal prowess, delivering powerful punches relentlessly.
These sequences effectively highlight their combat skills, the thirst for defeating their enemy, and elevate the brutality of the battle, all while injecting a suspenseful rhythm into the narrative.
‘The Expendables 4’ incorporates elements of humor and satire to add depth to its action-packed moments. However, these comedic elements mostly fall short of leaving a lasting impression.
Bringing together an ensemble of Hollywood’s standout stars such as Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Megan Fox, the film’s character development lacks depth, preventing the director from fully harnessing the talents at his disposal.
The movie gives the impression that Jason Statham is the driving force behind the entire narrative, with other characters appearing lackluster and providing limited support to the main character’s world-saving journey.
Binz’s rap, featured briefly as an introduction in a scene where Lee Christmas arrives in Thailand, adds a touch of amusement but does not significantly impact the film.
The New Faces Joining ‘The Expendables’ After Nearly a Decade
The renowned Hollywood action franchise, ‘The Expendables,’ is set to make a triumphant return after nearly a decade with its fourth installment. With the tagline ‘Old School Meets New Blood,’ this new installment is a fusion of familiar faces that contributed to the franchise’s past success and some of Hollywood’s hottest newcomers.
Global superstar Jason Statham, known for his extensive portfolio of heavyweight action films, takes the spotlight in ‘The Expendables 4.’ As the central character in this installment, his character, Lee Christmas, will lead the entire team in tackling challenging new missions, this time chasing down the arms smuggler Rahmat. Lee Christmas has been a pivotal character throughout the entire Expendables series, making his debut in the first film. Christmas, a former SAS elite soldier, excels in close combat and masterfully wields a blade.
Sharing his thoughts on his character Lee Christmas in the new film, Statham remarked, ‘Initially, we felt that Lee Christmas had a somewhat meandering storyline. For various reasons, Lee feels responsible for certain past events, and he believes he needs to make amends. And so, we take Lee on this journey.’
Whether Lee Christmas will officially replace Barney Ross as the leader of ‘The Expendables’ remains a mystery. However, it’s clear that Lee’s role in this film is substantial. Statham reveals that the new installment will heavily focus on camaraderie and interactions among the cast. Lee is expected to serve as the ‘bridge’ that connects all the characters in the movie. From the trailer, it’s evident that Lee appears in most scenes, raising anticipation among audiences for the extraordinary action sequences this seasoned mercenary will bring to the film.
Barney Ross, the seasoned leader of the squad and the driving force behind the success of ‘The Expendables’ series, Sylvester Stallone, is set to return in a special role in the upcoming installment. Ambitious to craft an intensely action-packed film centered around iconic action stars from the ’80s, Stallone not only directed the first ‘Expendables’ film but also penned the scripts for the first two installments.
The battle-hardened Barney Ross has spent numerous years in the thick of life-or-death combat situations. His enemies span the globe, and his allies hold him in the highest regard. He’s renowned as the fastest trigger and the sharpest shooter in ‘The Expendables.’ But above all, he’s a venerable team leader, an elder brother figure, and an unwavering pillar of support for generations of mercenaries.
Speaking of Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham remarked, “Sylvester Stallone is ‘The Expendables,’ and without him, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. He represents every aspect of this franchise, and without his presence, his creativity, and his backbone, none of us would be much in this series.” The importance and influence of Stallone on this iconic film series are undeniable. Die-hard fans of ‘The Expendables’ will once again have the opportunity to see him in the new installment, promising unexpected and emotionally charged moments.
Joining ‘The Expendables’ as a “rookie” is none other than the “hip-hop icon” 50 Cent. The male rapper is widely regarded as one of the most prominent artists of his era, boasting a slew of prestigious awards. He currently holds a Grammy and has been nominated for this award a remarkable 14 times. Some of 50 Cent’s career-defining hits include “In da Club” and “P.I.M.P.”
In ‘The Expendables,’ 50 Cent takes on the role of Easy Day, a marine infantryman and the team’s new recruit. 50 Cent shares, “This is an intriguing character. There were some hiccups in his relationship with his wife that led to their separation. Ultimately, he now has nothing left to lose: no children, no family, and nothing holding him back from diving into danger.”
Renowned for her roles in the ‘Transformers’ franchise, Megan Fox is considered one of Hollywood’s sexiest icons. At 37, she not only boasts a portfolio of blockbuster films but also possesses an angelic face and a sizzling physique that continue to make her one of the most sought-after female actresses.
Megan Fox is also making her debut in ‘The Expendables’ in its fourth installment. She portrays Gina, a CIA agent and the former girlfriend of Lee Christmas. They had once separated due to competition, a “no one backs down” situation, as both Lee and Gina are masterful warriors. However, in the new film, Gina will join ‘The Expendables,’ where her ex-boyfriend plays a pivotal role, and she will help reveal the most authentic and perhaps vulnerable sides of Lee on screen. Megan Fox hints that her character, Gina, might even become the “leader” of ‘The Expendables.’ This promises a romantic and competitive dynamic between Jason Statham and Megan Fox on screen.
Tony Jaa is one of Thailand’s renowned martial arts superstars. He is proficient in disciplines such as Muay Thai, Muay Boran, Wushu, Judo, and Taekwondo. Starting as a stunt performer in martial arts films, Tony Jaa quickly rose to fame with leading roles on the big screen. In 2013, he collaborated with Jason Statham in ‘Fast and Furious 7.’
In the new ‘Expendables’ film, Tony Jaa portrays Decha, a master of speed and strength, wielding deadly techniques. He and Jason Statham will form a “superpower duo” capable of taking down any adversary.
Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture
Two familiar faces from ‘The Expendables,’ who have been beloved by audiences since the early installments, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture, are both returning to reprise their iconic roles: Gunner and Toll Road.
Gunner, as depicted by Lundgren in the new film, is an exceptionally intriguing character: a wild Scandinavian mercenary with a penchant for revelry and attempting to date social media influencers. This humorous character will provide some relief from the film’s tension. Meanwhile, Toll Road, the explosives expert, will have explosive moments in the new installment, making him stand out prominently in the star-studded cast of the film.
Another fresh face in ‘The Expendables’ is Vietnamese-American actress Levy Tran. Born in 1983 in California, Levy Tran has appeared in several major films such as ‘Fast and Furious 7,’ ‘Shameless,’ and ‘The Haunting of Hill House.’
In ‘The Expendables,’ Levy Tran takes on the role of Lash, a newcomer introduced to the team by Gina. She is quick-witted, intelligent, and possesses unique skills that audiences have never seen in mercenaries before. Notably, she will have a line of dialogue in Vietnamese in the film, bringing an exciting and unexpected moment for the audience.
Indonesian martial arts sensation Iko Uwais is also joining ‘The Expendables’ as the antagonist Rahmat. He began training in Pencak Silat at the age of 10 and has been part of numerous acclaimed works, including ‘The Raid,’ ‘Mile 22,’ and ‘Wu Assassins.’
Iko Uwais’ character, Rahmat, is a former military man turned cunning arms smuggler with a scheme to steal a nuclear warhead for his mysterious client, Ocelot. Rahmat’s craftiness, cunning, and impressive combat skills make him a formidable adversary for ‘The Expendables.’
The final addition to the star-studded cast of ‘The Expendables 4’ is the seasoned actor, Andy Garcia. Throughout the past decades, the actor from ‘The Godfather Part III’ has consistently been one of the most respected names in Hollywood, boasting an extensive filmography. Not only has Andy Garcia achieved stardom in acting, but he has also enjoyed notable success from the director’s chair.
In ‘The Expendables 4,’ Andy Garcia takes on the role of Marsh, a CIA official tasked with assembling the entire ‘Expendables’ team to hunt down the arms smuggler Rahmat. In some aspects, Marsh is also considered a member of ‘The Expendables’ in this mission.
Explaining the Ending of ‘The Expendables 4’: How did Sylvester Stallone’s character survive?
“Expend4bles” brings some surprises and mysteries in the film’s conclusion, with the revelation of the antagonist Ocelot’s identity and the return of a major character.
The ending of “The Expendables 4” includes a reversal of death, a surprising villain reveal, and many other plot twists, laying the groundwork for the future of the film series. The fourth installment shifts the story’s focus entirely to the character Lee Christmas (played by Jason Statham), while Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) plays an unexpected role compared to the previous films.
The storyline revolves around The Expendables attempting to eliminate Rahmat (Iko Uwais) and prevent a nuclear bomb from detonating, which could lead to World War III. They are driven to do so after Rahmat kills Barney Ross in the team’s first mission, leading to Christmas being ousted from the team.
The entire film’s climax takes place on an aircraft carrier carrying the nuclear bomb. Gina (Megan Fox) leads The Expendables onto the carrier, only to become prisoners awaiting Christmas to rescue them and help uncover the true identity of Ocelot – a mysterious villain that Barney had tried to expose 25 years ago. The way “The Expendables 4” concludes allows the film to tie up all the major plot points by revealing the truth about Barney’s death, who Ocelot is, the villain’s plan, and much more. This also means leaving the door open for the film series to continue evolving.
Barney Ross is Alive and How He Faked His Death
The pivotal moment at the end of “The Expendables 4” confirms that Barney Ross’s death was a ruse. Audiences might have had doubts about the gruesome fate of Sylvester Stallone’s character, especially as it occurred early in the film, but the evidence of his demise is abundant. The aircraft carrying The Expendables crashes with no sign of Barney escaping, and the film clearly shows a charred corpse wearing Barney’s lucky ring. However, Barney makes a dramatic return to save his team, personally killing Ocelot and rescuing Christmas.
The questions about how Barney Ross faked his own death are directly addressed in the final moments. He reveals to Christmas that the deceased body used as a decoy was that of Jumbo Shrimp – the man who won Barney’s ring in a bet at the bar early in the film. Barney discloses that he kidnapped him and stowed him aboard the aircraft. Jumbo Shrimp was dressed in The Expendables’ attire and wearing Barney’s ring when he woke up on the plane about to crash. Barney parachuted out of the plane before it exploded and disappeared from all surveillance to make his staged death believable.
Identity, Villain’s Plan, and History of Ocelot Explained
Another major mystery in “The Expendables 4” is finally unraveled, shedding light on who Ocelot truly is and what his intentions are. The revelation unveils that Marsh (Andy Garcia) is the real antagonist. Marsh is a CIA operative who once worked with Barney many years ago and invited The Expendables to eliminate Rahmat.
Marsh and Barney undertook a mission 25 years ago to uncover the true identity of Ocelot, which ultimately led to the death of Barney’s entire team. He hired The Expendables and accompanied them on their final mission to eliminate Rahmat, intending to blame them for sparking World War III.
Marsh’s motives in “The Expendables 4” as Ocelot are quite clear. He believes that World War III is inevitable and knows that someone will benefit from it starting. That’s why he eagerly seeks to detonate a nuclear bomb in Russia and blame it on the United States. Marsh assumes the persona of Ocelot after Barney’s apparent death because this opens up situations related to the identity of the only person who knows who Ocelot truly is.
Marsh pretends to be Rahmat’s hostage to free the prisoner from CIA control and kills him in hopes of keeping his villainous identity a secret forever. This plan would have succeeded if not for Barney faking his own death.
Why Lee Christmas Didn’t Jump Off the Ship with His Team
Before Barney returned and Ocelot died, Lee Christmas made a rather surprising decision to stay on the ship after the entire team of The Expendables had safely disembarked. He intended to be the last one to board Decha’s (Tony Jaa) boat but then deliberately cut the rope as a self-sacrificial act. Jason Statham’s character chose to remain on the aircraft carrier to give it a transition before heading to Russia for the detonation. He wanted his sacrifice to have meaning, much like he believed Barney did at the beginning of the film. Christmas might have perished on the ship if it weren’t for Barney’s intervention.
What Happened to Rahmat?
The villain Rahmat, portrayed by Iko Uwais, was severely injured during his fight with Lee Christmas. However, Rahmat abruptly escaped when Christmas temporarily ignored the wounded villain to get closer to Gina. “The Expendables 4” doesn’t address how Rahmat managed to evade Christmas, but his fate may have been predetermined regardless.
Decha’s boat was the only way to escape the aircraft carrier before Barney sank it with the nuclear bomb. This means Rahmat likely perished unless there was an unexpected twist in “The Expendables 5.”
Does Anyone Know About Barney’s Faked Death Plan?
The entire story in “The Expendables 4” is filled with mysteries and twists, making the final plan somewhat unclear regarding who knew the truth about what was happening. While Gina was aware of the tracking device in Christmas’s knife and orchestrated his appearance, it remains unclear if anyone else knew about Barney’s faked death plan.
Clearly, Lee Christmas and Marsh were unaware, as were Toll Road (Randy Couture), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), and others. If someone else did know about Barney’s plan, it might have been Gina, considering she had worked with him for some time before the events unfolded.
Teasing the Potential for a Fifth Installment
The film concludes with the group returning to the bar to celebrate the fact that Barney is still alive and the relationship between Gina and Christmas is back on track. This straightforward truth hints at the possibility of a sequel. As long as Stallone’s or Statham’s characters are still around, future films could certainly happen, depending on the box office performance of “The Expendables 4.” Megan Fox might even return as Gina for a spin-off if the studio and audience interest align.
If “The Expendables 5” were to materialize, it seems that the team is already set and ready. Barney could continue in his leadership role, with Christmas stepping up in his absence. Toll Road and Gunner are still in the mix and could contribute, alongside new members like Easy Day (50 Cent), Galan (Jacob Scipio), and Lash (Levy Tran).
There’s also room for Decha to rejoin the team once again. Of course, the ending of “The Expendables 4” doesn’t preclude the introduction of new characters.