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Expendables 4 Taking So Long To Happen Can Make It Even Better

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Expendables 4 Taking So Long To Happen Can Make It Even Better

The Expendables 4 is on the way several years after its predecessor, but the long wait could end up being to the advantage of the upcoming sequel.

The Expendables 4 is taking a long time to happen, arriving close to a decade after the last entry in the series, but this has the potential to make it even better. Following years of false starts and development hell, The Expendables 4 finally entered production in 2021. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture are set to return, while The Expendables 4 will also add 50 Cent, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, and Iko Uwais to its roster. A release date hasn’t been set yet, but depending on the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the general release calendar, The Expendables 4 could hit theaters later in 2022.

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The Expendables franchise began with the 2010 original, which sold itself as the gathering of action heroes audiences had long been waiting for. The success of The Expendables led to its 2012 sequel The Expendables 2, which was an even bigger box office hit and widely regarded as the best of the franchise. Unfortunately, The Expendables 3 was unable to replicate the same level of success. This led to The Expendables taking a long break with rumors of a fourth installment swirling but never bearing fruit until The Expendables 4 finally got rolling.

RELATED: Why Jean-Claude Van Damme Rejected The Expendables (But Accepted The Sequel)


While it’s been eight years since The Expendables’ last mission, the long gap since The Expendables 3 could be a blessing in disguise. Big franchises sometimes lose energy to such an extent that closing the book might seem like the wisest course of action. In other cases, it might simply be best to let the dust settle for a while after an underperformance to make a comeback possible. Here’s why The Expendables 4 could prove to be an example of the latter.

The Franchise Needed A Break After The Expendables 3

After the success of the first two Expendables movies, The Expendables 3 was a significant downturn. Commercially, The Expendables 3 pulled in $214.7 million, the lowest-grossing of the three to date with just $39.3 million from North America. The film’s misguided PG-13 rating has been pointed to as the main culprit for the failings of The Expendables 3. While that’s certainly a factor after the first two R-rated installments, the movie’s overall reception did the series no favors either.


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The Expendables 3 is generally regarded as the weakest movie in the franchise with an ensemble that had grown much too large. The film’s failure understandably slowed all progress on continuing the franchise, but this ended up being for the best. After such a steep drop, giving it a break for a few years while taking the time to consider what the best revival strategy could be was the best way for it to return. The long gap also allowed The Expendables 4 to give itself a new hook.

The Expendables 4 Can Be A Legacy Sequel Now

As The Expendables 4 entered production, there was much speculation that the movie would be Stallone’s last in the series. This was partially fueled by the rumored title The Expendables: A Christmas Story, referencing Jason Statham’s character Lee Christmas. Stallone eventually confirmed that The Expendables 4 is Barney Ross’ last ride, also stating that he’s “ready to pass the baton to Jason.” By passing the reins from Barney Ross to Lee Christmas, The Expendables 4 is now much more than simply the belated fourth chapter of the series.


RELATED: Expendables 4 Theory: Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross Is Killed Off

Had The Expendables 4 simply been made as the next movie in the series, it would have a much steeper hill to climb after the failure of The Expendables 3. The series’ decline needed to incentivize audiences to return, and the newly reinstated R-rating of The Expendables 4 is a good start on that front. Being marketed as a torch-passing legacy sequel gives The Expendables 4 a whole new gimmick. With the film marking the fourth appearance of Barney Ross, he’s become one of Sylvester Stallone’s most enduring characters. The idea of Barney finally retiring alongside the general nostalgic component of The Expendables makes The Expendables 4 a unique entry in the series. However, aside from Lee succeeding him, a few of the new members of the cast are some of its biggest drawing points.


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Tony Jaa & Iko Uwais Have Upped The Anticipation For The Expendables 4

The entire basis of The Expendables has always been bringing together an action star ensemble every time. By enlisting Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais, The Expendables 4 has already driven anticipation to new levels. Not only are both incredible martial artists, each has headlined some of the best action movies ever made. Jaa broke out with Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong, while Uwais led The Raid movies and other Indonesia action hits like Headshot. Both have also since achieved mainstream popularity in the West, as well.

After his rise as a martial artist in Thailand, Tony Jaa made the transition to Hollywood with action movies like Skin Trade, Furious 7, and Jiu Jitsu. Uwais also established a Western presence with Beyond Skyline and the Netflix series Wu Assassins, and both were also key players in the action ensemble Triple Threat. With Jaa and Uwais both known and acclaimed action stars around the world, their presence in The Expendables 4 makes the movie a much bigger deal. Furthermore, as the villain of the sequel, Uwais also adds a whole new element to the series in likely being its most hands-on antagonist. Set photos show Jason Statham in a confrontation with Uwais’ character, corroborating the notion of the kind of Expendables 4 villain Iko Uwais will be. With the possibility of Jaa and Uwais also facing off in The Expendables 4, audiences have a lot to draw them back to the franchise after its long hibernation.


The irony of the long wait for the return of The Expendables is that it’s arguably put the franchise back in the very position it began with. Namely, that’s riding a wave of nostalgia for action movie glory days. The Expendables 4 has a lot going for it with the legacy element of Stallone handing the series off to Statham and the boarding of Jaa and Uwais. Even with these assets, The Expendables 4 might’ve still faced quite a challenge in re-energizing the series if it had come just two or three years after The Expendables 3. With several years worth of breathing room on its side, The Expendables 4 can far more vigorously capitalize on what it brings to the franchise.

NEXT: The Expendables 4 Could Finally Deliver On Iko Uwais As A (Hollywood) Villain

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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