As it turns out, the Expendables franchise isn’t expendable at all. The running joke of the durable action franchise happens to be that the classic silver-screen legends are going to live through a guns-blazing thriller, but that some of them might not make it to the end credits. As The Expendables found a larger audience, however, franchise shepherd Sylvester Stallone kept recruiting ridiculously famous friends to co-star, to the point where Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, and Harrison Ford appeared in The Expendables 3. Some of the gang is going to get back together for the just-confirmed fourth Expendables movie, which doesn’t have a title, but now reveals its director and cast.
Lionsgate revealed today that frequent Expendables stars Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Sylvester Stallone will lead the team for The Expendables 4, reprising their roles as Lee Christmas, Gunner Jensen, Toll Road, and Barney Ross respectively. They have all been part of the franchise since the original The Expendables, and at this moment, they are the only holdovers from the other Expendables films. In addition to these four core cast members, The Expendables 4 (not the official title) will feature Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, and Tony Jaa, who have been tapped to join the franchise in new roles.
The press release announcing the fourth The Expendables movie reveals that Scott Waugh will direct the feature, taking over the reins from Patrick Hughes, who helmed The Expendables 3 back in 2014. Waugh cut his teeth on the two action thrillers Act of Valor and Need for Speed, though his most recent film, Snafu, stars John Cena and Jackie Chan. And now I am wondering why the hell those two can’t show up on screen for the fourth The Expendables.
How do we feel about the newcomers to the series? Tony Jaa makes the most sense, on paper. Tony Jaa is a tremendous badass who has cracked numerous skulls in films like the Ong-Bak trilogy, Furious 7, and the recent cult hit Monster Hunter. Here he is fighting Paul Walker, which -- with all due respect to the late Fast & Furious star -- would not go down this way, or last quite as long as it does:
But 50 Cent and Megan Fox are unusual picks, even by The Expendables standards. Usually, the franchise will try to involve actors who have some form of an action background. They can be founding fathers of the action genre, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. Or they could be newcomers trying their hand, with Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz and Ronda Rousey showing up in The Expendables 3. Fox and Cent have done action before, but I don’t think they are known for it, so I’ll be curious to see how they fit into the overall story.
The release states that The Expendables 4 will begin filming in the fall, so we may find out about a title soon enough. I'm not sure if I want a few more major, Planet Hollywood icons to sign on to the movie, or if Sylvester Stallone should strip away the artifice and get back, a little bit, to the lean core of the original movie. We'll see how this all shakes out.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.