The arrival of the fourth film took nearly a decade to happen, but this long pause has the potential to make it even better. The film has finally entered official production in 2021 after years of false starts and development struggles. The old cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture are all in a reunion, together with new characters played by 50 Cent, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, and Iko Uwais. A planned premiere day hasn’t been laid out yet, but the period of late 2022 might be feasible considering the conditions of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
2010 marks the kick-off of The Expendables franchise, a remarkable gathering of action heroes that audiences had dearly loved. The sequel, The Expendables 2, was released 2 years later due to the massive success of the first film and was widely considered to be the hit of the series, as its box office’s performance. However, the third time is not the charm as The Expendables 3 failed to harness the same amount of success. This results in the franchise taking a long break with rumors of the fourth film would not be in the realm of expectation until The Expendables 4 finally got rolling.
It can be argued that the energy of big franchises sometimes wears off to such a verge that ceasing the story might likely be the wisest choice. However, letting the dust set in and the anticipation last for a while can make a great excitement for the comeback. In another word, the eight years gap since The Expendables’ last mission could be a blessing in disguise. Let’s examine some evidence proving the latter case will fit with The Expendables 4.
A break is needed after The Expendables 3
The Expendables 3 was a considerable decline after the popularity of the previous two Expendables films. The Expendables 3 grossed $214.7 million worldwide, with only $39.3 million from North America, making it the lowest-grossing of the three films thus far. The Expendables 3’s failures have been blamed on the film’s erroneous PG-13 rating. While it is undoubtedly an influence following the previous two R-rated films, the film’s overall response did not help the series.
The Expendables 3 is widely regarded as the franchise’s lowest film, with a cast that had grown much too numerous. The failure of the film, obviously, stalled all development on the franchise’s continuation, but this turned out to be for the best. After such a precipitous decline, taking a vacation for a few years while considering the best resurrection approach was the best way to get it back on track. The Expendables 4 was also able to give itself a fresh appeal because of the extended break.
A legacy sequel for a successful franchise
There had been a lot of conjecture that it might be Stallone’s final installment in the franchise since The Expendables 4 went into production. The suspected title The Expendables: A Christmas Story, which refers to Jason Statham’s character Lee Christmas, contributed to this. Stallone later revealed that The Expendables 4 will be Barney Ross’ final film, adding that he’s “ready to hand the torch on to Jason.” The Expendables 4 is much more than just the series’ delayed fourth chapter, as it passes the reins from Barney Ross to Lee Christmas.
After the disaster of The Expendables 3, The Expendables 4 would face a considerably harder hurdle to overcome if it was merely created as the following film in the franchise. The Expendables 4’s freshly restored R-rating is a positive step in that direction, given the series’ deterioration. The Expendables 4 has a whole heel turn by being advertised as a legacy-passing sequel. Barney Ross, who makes his fourth appearance in the film, has established himself as one of Sylvester Stallone’s most lasting characters. The concept of Barney eventually retiring, along with The Expendables’ overall nostalgic element, makes The Expendables 4 a distinctive chapter in the franchise. Aside from Lee following him, a handful of the new actors are among the show’s main drawcards.
The Expendables 4 has raised the bar for Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais.
The basic premise of The Expendables has always been to assemble an all-star action cast every time. The Expendables 4 has already piqued interest with the addition of Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais. Not only are they both outstanding martial artists, but they’ve also starred in some of the best action films ever created. Uwais led The Raid movies and other Indonesia action hits like Headshot, while Jaa broke out with Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong. Both have risen to mainstream prominence in the West since then.
Tony Jaa made the leap to Hollywood with action films like Skin Trade, Furious 7, and Jiu Jitsu after rising to prominence as a martial artist in Thailand. With Beyond Skyline and the Netflix series Wu Assassins, Uwais gained a Western presence, and both were essential roles in the action ensemble Triple Threat. With Jaa and Uwais both being well-known and acclaimed action performers throughout the globe, their inclusion in The Expendables 4 elevates the film to new heights. Furthermore, as the sequel’s villain, Uwais brings a whole new dimension to the series by becoming the series’ most hands-on opponent. Set photographs show Jason Statham in a fight with Uwais’ persona, confirming the role of Iko Uwais as the Expendables 4 villain. With the likelihood of Jaa and Uwais fighting in The Expendables 4, fans have a lot to look forward to after the franchise’s extended hiatus.
The protracted wait for The Expendables 3 has ironically put the series back in the same place it was when it first started. That is, it is riding a wave of nostalgia for the glory days of action movies. With the legacy factor of Stallone passing the franchise on to Statham plus the boarding of Jaa and Uwais, The Expendables 4 has a lot going for it. Even with these assets, The Expendables 4 may have had a difficult time re-energizing the franchise if it had been released only two or three years after The Expendables 3. The Expendables 4 can significantly more aggressively capitalize on what it delivers to the franchise now that it has many years of breathing room on its side.