August 20, 2014

What We Want From Expendables 4

*Minor Spoilers for Expendables 3 Ahead*

I’m pretty bored of talking about The Expendables movies now so this is going to be my last blog about the series unless we get a Part 4, which at this stage looks increasingly unlikely.

So unsurprisingly The Expendables 3 pretty much crashed and burned at the box office last weekend but final international figures have yet to come in, so the jury is still out on whether the franchise is dead or not.

The reason for the failure could be due to either the illegal downloads (most likely) or the PG-13 rating, which was meant to appeal to the invisible teenagers that care about this franchise.

Simply, it could just be that the public are getting bored of the franchise which hasn’t yet quite delivered what we’ve been promised.

Sure, all three are hugely enjoyable and have plenty to entertain us die hard action fans but they just aren’t as good as they should be with all the talent involved. But this isn’t another rant about what’s wrong with the series; this is what I personally want to see if we ever get The Expendables 4.

I love the idea of having Dwayne Johnson come in as a bad guy who literally kills several of the team. Have him play someone who is physically strong, where the team are overwhelmed and when some of them are killed, we can bring in some real new recruits. I want a genuine sense of threat where the villain is truly intimidating and practically unstoppable; his physicality should make him arrogant where we have several of the guys fight him at the end.


I was hoping that they would take a risk with Part 3 and actually kill some of them off and they nearly did with Crews but sadly he survived and not a single risk was taken.  They haven’t earned the name “Expendables” yet because none of them actually die; at least none of the major characters, therefore removing any emotional engagement.

I want to see more of the team fighting with each other and frankly behaving like real humans do instead of laughing at jokes nobody finds funny.

I actually liked the idea that Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) used to be a part of the team, but it would have been cooler if we actually got to see him fall out with Barney and the guys in a flashback, creating a bit more conflict. Movies are always about constant conflict as that is what drives the story forward.

Have John McTiernan direct it; I think it’s great giving a new-ish director like Patrick Hughes a shot that the series as he did  good job but let’s face it, we really need a seasoned pro who has made REALLY great action movies like Die Hard and Predator. He understands how to work with an ensemble cast which is why Predator still stands out as a classic actioner today.


Bring in Shane Black to write a script; yes I know Iron Man 3 sucked but that was not the genre Black is comfortable with. This is the man who wrote The Last Boy Scout, Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang to name but a few. He knows old-school action so let someone who helped create the genre have a crack at reinventing it!

The one thing I’ve always wanted from this series is to see the guys in the jungle, not some miserable Eastern European looking hole. Thankfully in Part 3 we got different locations, like the Somalian docks, which was a nice nod to the old school actioners…

The Expendables 3 improved the script and got rid of a lot of the annoying self-reverential humour and I would like that trend to continue with a more serious tone. Sure, still have some humour, but just have some decent lines; that’s where Shane Back comes in. He’s the master of the one-liner which can be genuinely funny but also super-cool.

Make the action smaller; I know this may sound like a strange request, but CGI has no place in this genre. It’s fine for Superheroes and Transformers movies but I would rather see real explosions and blood squibs. I want more hand-to-hand combat with the final fight scene lasting longer than 15 seconds. Stallone and Arnold are hardly box office draws these days either, so everyone should have to take a smaller salary and do what they can to make the budget lower.

Cannon films made cheesy (yet awesome) action movies for about $5 million dollars a pop; that’s never going to happen with today’s movies and especially with a cast like The Expendables, but surely there has to be a way to keep the costs down and make the action more real. If the budget is lower then the profits don’t need to be as high for it to be considered a success.


And most of all? I want Steven Seagal! I don’t care whether you’re a fan of his or not, the man is more an action star than Kelsey Grammer ever was and he NEEDS to be in this franchise before it dies. So whatever the deal is with old beefs with producers or co-stars, swallow your egos and work together to make the best damn Action movie of all time.

This is the last time I’m going to say this sentence in any post, I promise! But for the love of God make it rated R. The plan to bring in the kiddies failed miserably for Part 3 but also alienated fans of the genre who wanted something more adult-oriented. This isn’t Bourne and it isn’t James Bond; it’s meant to pay homage to the old-school movies like Rambo and Predator. I want exploding heads, gratuitous nudity and bone-crunching fight scenes.

No disrespect to Kellan Lutz and the younger cast; they did the best they could and some of them may even find a career as action stars yet, but there are other guys I’d like to see in Expendables 4 first.

Michael Jai White, Tony Jaa, Darren Shalavi, Donnie Yen, Michael Dudikoff, Jeff Wincott and how about Karl Urban too? He’s proven himself a man of action with Dredd, RED, Riddick and more. I’d love to see Clint Eastwood in a small cameo role too as I said before; he could be Barney’s mentor or something.

We do need to lose some dead weight though as the cast was far too big for part 3, so characters like Dolph and Jet Li were barely more than cameos. I’d probably kill off some of the younger guys, Randy Couture and Terry Crews. But who said the new guys all have to be on The Expendables team?

I want the bad guys to have an equally deadly team so every Expendables member has their moment, rather than just Stallone having the limelight.

One of my friends Ajay suggested a cool idea about turning it into a TV series; if you have it on something like HBO, then you could have episodes focusing on individual characters (which is sort of like Milos Misic’s idea from a few weeks back); then we can have all the cursing, bewbs and violence imaginable.

No box office required and in each episode you could have special guest stars like Seagal, Jaa, etc with different guest directors/writers for every episode.  An there you have it, then we get to see everything we’ve wanted from the series and can all all move on with our lives.

Will we ever see an Expendables 4? It’s pretty unlikely now and for me that’s a damn shame as we may never have seen how great this franchise could have been.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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