Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Expend4bles.
The Big Picture
- Expend4bles is the worst film in The Expendables series, with a predictable plot, lackluster twists, and unfunny jokes.
- The true identity of Ocelot is revealed to be Marsh, but the betrayal lacks depth or surprise, leading to more fighting and a mediocre climax.
- The ending suggests the possibility of a sequel, despite the dull and derivative nature of Expend4bles, leaving audiences hoping for the series to finally end.
The dire new action film that is mostly a drag to sit through, Expend4bles, is now upon us and has proven to be the worst film in The Expendables series by far. While this may not come as a shock, there is much that the film treats as being a surprise even as you can see it all coming from a mile away. There is a “stunning” betrayal, a reversal of a key death, and a punchline that calls back to a joke that wasn’t funny the first time it happened. That’s right, in case it wasn’t already clear, this piece is going to spoil the entire film from start to finish. If you haven’t yet seen it and still want to for some reason, best bookmark this page then come back after. Other than that, let’s dive in.
This all begins with a mission that goes terribly wrong. It involves Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), Easy (50 Cent), Galan (Jacob Scipio), and Toll (Randy Couture), who are all overseen by their toothpick-chewing handler Marsh (Andy García) that brought this operation to them in the first place. They are trying to take down Suarto Rahmat (Iko Uwais) who has stolen nuclear weapons that he is going to use to cause a war between the United States and Russia. While trying to do so, Barney dies in a fiery explosion after his plane is shot down. The rest of them, with Christmas’ girlfriend Gina (Megan Fox) joining the fight, must then try to finish the job without him. They must do so all while trying to figure out who the mysterious Ocelot is that is the true one pulling the strings behind the nuclear plot. As it turns out, he was right under their noses the whole time.
Who Is Secretly Ocelot in ‘Expend4bles’?
Surprise surprise, Marsh was actually Ocelot. When the film culminates in an extended fight on an ocean liner with the nuclear bomb ticking down, this is revealed and more fighting ensues. His betrayal is both abundantly obvious and half-baked, playing more as an obligatory twist that doesn’t have any life behind it. Garcia hams up the performance a bit, but there is nothing really to it. Instead, the film carries on with Statham doing his best Die Hard impression and zooming around the boat while snarkily taking down all the baddies. When most everyone is gone, Marsh tries to flee only for Christmas to blow up his escape vehicle. He is obviously less than thrilled about this and more fighting ensues. This culminates in the rest of the squad escaping onto a smaller boat, but Christmas decides to stay behind to turn the ship around while confronting Marsh. He manages to succeed at the first part to ensure the ship will go back towards waters that won’t cause a war. However, he needs an assist from an old friend to take down Marsh and escape without being blown to pieces himself.
Flying in on a helicopter and completely obliterating Marsh is none other than Barney. The fiery explosion that killed him at the beginning of the movie? He actually orchestrated that and had been in hiding. Apparently, in doing so, a secret file was opened that would then set everything in motion to flush out Ocelot and was necessary for the mission to succeed. He also apparently had impeccable timing to take out the ultimate baddie before Christmas got hurt, but also was just waiting the entire time to make his appearance while they almost got killed. With the remains of Ocelot splattered all over the ship, Christmas then leaps on board the helicopter and they quickly fly away to escape the nuclear blast that goes off shortly after they depart. There is no thrill to any of this, no deeper meaning, as it is just a relief that it is all over. If anything, the biggest impact it has is that the banter between Stallone and Statham serves as a reminder of the more fun buddy comedy that could have been rather than the superficial spy thriller it was sort of going for. There is just nothing that sticks out in the mind save for the brief moment of machine gun motorcycle jousting that lasts all of one minute. The rest is just a wash, leaving you wishing for a drink along with the characters back at the bar.
Does ‘Expend4bles’ Set up for a Sequel? (Please No)
With the mission over, everyone ends up back at their favorite bar for drinks and jokes. Considering everyone is still very much alive, there is the potential that everyone could theoretically come back as it seems like everyone just had a jolly good time even as the experience of watching their adventure was mostly dull. There is nothing explicit about a new mission, but it certainly seems like they’re willing to keep pumping them out as long as people keep showing up. Regardless of how inert and derivative the final product is, this final bar scene seems to carry with it a threat that they’ll keep going as long as they can. There is the potential that it is meant to be a farewell (please God let this be the end of it), but the use of the song “The Boys Are Back in Town” also leaves a bit of a door open. There is no joy to this as this entry in the series represents a closed loop of nostalgia, bringing back classic action heroes to go through the motions of a plot that is familiarly cheesy though without any real care or craft to be found in any of it. The drunken celebratory tone of the ending only reveals just how delusional the entire thing is with the characters toasting a job well done despite doing nothing worthwhile. It is hard to imagine it could be worse than this, but never say never.
Expend4ables is in theaters now.