The fourth instalment of Sylvester Stallone’s “geriaction” series is so bad, I honestly don’t know where to start. But I suppose the title is as good a place as any. Yes, I do know there’s a tradition of substituting numbers for letters, as in the Vin Diesel-led 2003 action sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious.
That one sort of made sense but can anyone work out the pun in “Expend4bles”?
If we are supposed to hear “expend foibles”, you’d expect Sly’s mercenary Barney to ditch at least two of his eccentricities, like riding that motorbike with the comically oversized rear tyre.
If it is “expend four balls” (the only other option that comes to mind), it could be about him undergoing surgery to rectify an intimate genetic mutation. Neither of which happens in this astonishingly stupid action movie.
It begins with what I can only assume is intended to be some light-hearted business involving Barney and his British mucker Lee Christmas (Jason Statham).
Barney lost his preposterous ring in a bar-room bet the previous night.
Now, he wants his festive friend to steal it back after beating the victor and his friends into unconsciousness with a pair of knuckle dusters.
These will be our lovable heroes for the next hour and half.
The main plot kicks off when Andy García’s CIA man hires The Expendables to foil a master-criminal who, for no reason, wants to set off stolen nukes in Russia to spark World War III.
The villain in question is played by Iko Uwais, the brilliant Indonesian martial artist from The Raid movies, whose skills are wasted in two lazily choreographed fist fights.
With all the big veteran actors sitting it out (there’s no Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes or even Frasier actor Kelsey Grammer), Sly has lined up some B- to Z-list replacements.
Megan Fox squeezes into her tight uniform to play new recruit Gina, forgotten rapper 50 Cent plays Easy Day, Levy Tran (TV’s MacGyver) gets a couple of rubbish lines as Lash, and Jacob Scipio plays the annoyingly chatty son of Antonio Banderas’s character.
The old guard includes Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), sporting a Kurt Cobain wig at the behest of a new girlfriend. “She’s into the 70s look,” he says. Nothing here makes sense.
Expend4bles, Cert 15, In cinemas now