The Expendables 4 is finally coming to theaters, with a fall 2023 release date. Here’s everything we know about the sequel.
While critics may not love them, audiences love the adventures of Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross, Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas, and the rest of the gang.The Expendables 4 (which is actually called Expend4bles) recently got it’s first full, official trailer (embedded above), which is pretty last minute considering the movie is set for a September 22, 2023 release date. Given how soon it’s coming out, we figured it’s time to try to assemble everything we know about the fourth movie in the Expendables series.
The Release Date
The fourth film, created and produced by Millennium Media and Campbell Grobman Films, as well as being distributed by Lionsgate, has been through quite a bit of development hell over the past decade. As previously stated, the last movie was released in 2014 with the sequel being released in 2012 and the original premiering back in 2010. Following this pattern, the fourth movie should have arrived nearly seven years ago.
Luckily, despite the behind-the-scenes drama (as well as the Covid-pandemic) that caused the film to be pushed back several times, the studio finally announced that the fourth film will be releasing in the United States on September 22 of this year. While fans can absolutely look forward to seeing the new film, it should be noted that the three prior movies all premiered in August, so don’t be surprised if the studio makes a one-month jump-up for the release date to coincide with how the other three were released (it all depends on how post-production goes).
Lionsgate has finally released the full, official synopsis giving up more insight into the movie:
A new generation of stars joins the world’s top action stars for an adrenaline-fueled adventure in The Expendables 4.
Reuniting as the team of elite mercenaries, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, and Sylvester Stallone are joined for the first time by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Iwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy Garcia. Armed with every weapon they can get their hands on and the skills to use them, The Expendables are the world’s last line of defense and the team that gets called when all other options are off the table. But new team members with new styles and tactics are going to give “new blood” a whole new meaning.
Despite some off-screen complications since the last film, Sylvester Stallone will be reprising his main role as Barney Ross, albeit in a much smaller capacity given his billing in the Expend4bles trailer. He will be joined by actors Jason Statham (Lee Christmas), Dolph Lundgren (Gunner Jensen), and Randy Couture (Toll Road) who will all be reprising their roles from the prior three films.
New members of the cast include names such as Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, Eddie Hall, Iko Uwais, and Andy Garcia. Fox seems to be playing a deadly ex-flame of Statham’s Lee, who joins him in his new mission as a quasi-member of the team.Andy Garcia also seems to be a member, which is kinda cool as the guy has his own 1980s/90s action bonafides, including the great Black Rain, Internal Affairs and more.
Even though Stallone, Statham, Lundgren, and Couture will be returning to the franchise, Arnold Schwarzenegger recently confirmed that he won’t be back for Expend4bles.
The Rating: Good news! Expend4bles has officially been rated-R by the MPAA for “for strong/bloody violence throughout, language and sexual material.” Hooray! It sounds like an ultra-violent return to form for the franchise after the third film wound up with a PG-13. Hack, even the second film was shot as PG-13, only for them to add CGI blood after the MPAA gave it an R anyway.
New Director, New Writers – one of the biggest takeaways from the fourth film is that it will have a new director and new writers at the helm. The original movie was directed by Stallone and written by David Callaham; the second was directed by Simon West, written by Richard Wenk, and a story by Ken Kauffman and David Agosto; the third followed being directed by Patrick Hughes and was written by Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger. It’s also worth noting that Stallone had a hand in the writing or story for all three of these films.
But now, for the fourth outing, the film will be directed by Scott Waugh (Need for Speed, Act of Valor and the John Cena/ Jackie Chan movie Hidden Strike) and written by Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium) & Tad Daggerhart and Max Adams, meaning that this will be the first film in the franchise where Stallone will just be an actor and not have any credit as a director or writer.
Who Is Iko Uwais Playing? – while details about the plot are still being kept under wraps, it has been confirmed that one of the new cast members, Iko Uwais, will be portraying the Expend4bles‘s main antagonist. While not much is known about the character, it can be assumed that Uwais will be playing the “arms dealer” mentioned in the plot description from IMDb. Just from that information alone, we know that Uwais will have a massive army at his disposal and that The Expendables will be squaring off against said army in order to stop him.
Is Barney Ross Going to Die? – as stated, Stallone will be returning as the main character of Barney Ross. But also stated, there was a lot of off-screen drama in-between the third and fourth film that eventually caused Stallone to step away from the franchise completely in 2017. Luckily, Stallone’s fellow castmastes came to his aid and advocated for his return, prompting Stallone to do just that back in 2018.
However, since we also stated that this was the first film the Stallone had no hand in directing or writing (combined with his willingness to walk away from the franchise) it might not be the craziest thing to assume that Barney Ross will be given a satisfactory ending in the upcoming movie, allowing the franchise and the studio to move on to new things. Stallone himself has said that the movie is more focused on Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas, with him originally even calling it a spin-off. I’d say the chances of Ross dying in Expend4bles are pretty high, but expect him to go out in a blaze of glory.