It finally happened. I was pretty sure it never would, but now at last we have an Expendables films series entry that is worth your time and money. Of course I’m talking about Expendables IV: The Dependables., which is due out next month and will surely be showing at the Carmike.
As enthusiasts of the film series will surely know, The Expendables is a series of action films wherein Sylvester Stallone recruits other stars of action films to fight by his side against the Viet Cong. Part three introduced action legends Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Harrison Ford, and Mel Gibson into the fold., and many speculated wildly on who we’d see in the new entry. Would we finally see Steven Seagal? Jeff Speakman? Michael Dudikoff? Nicolas Cage?
For The Dependables, Sly definitely went geriatric with it; our new characters are played by legends Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, and Robert Wagner. Technology no longer being a hindrance, holograms of Bronson and Marvin spend most of the film screaming cries of war and firing those machine guns where the clip sticks out sideways. Wagner, still being alive (as of this printing), plays himself, and there’s an uncomfortable moment in the film where he knocks villainous femme fatale Tonsa Poontang unconscious and pushes her over the side of a yacht they’ve been fighting on. At this point Christopher Walken makes a brief cameo and the movie kind of segues into a courtroom drama.
But back on the field of battle, The Dependables does deliver on the promise of non-stop havoc and collateral damage. Among the major action set pieces is a hang gliding sword fight, two guys having a fistfight while hanging upside down by their legs from the bottom of a helicopter, and a game of chicken featuring Jason Statham and Kelsey Grammer driving child-packed school buses toward each other. But the film bounds effortlessly between buddy comedy, torture porn, and glorifying the deadly nine-to-five drudgery of being a mercenary. How often have you wondered: where do gin-toting, kill-for-hire thugs get their clothes cleaned? Do they just go to the laundromat with bits of Sandinista skull hanging off their tactical turtlenecks? The answer is yes.
Will it break $100 million at the box office? Almost certainly. But more importantly is the question of how it will advance race relations. Past Expendables entries have seen the team fighting almost exclusively South American, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern villains. The new entry has the team storming through the streets of Lake Oswego on a white-people hunt. A particularly high point of the film comes when Dolph Lundgren, face to face with his frothy mouthed foe, Brazillian Jujitsu practitioner and former Married with Children star Ed O’Neill, stares him dead in the eye, pauses for effect, and then says “Check your privilege, bro!” before jump-kicking him into a turbine.
Don’t worry, I haven’t ruined any of the good parts, and I didn’t spoil all the surprise cameos. But let’s just say the hologram machine gets a workout and don’t be surprised if Ernest Borgnine and Tupac make an appearance as a pair of adopted brother Indonesian mobsters.
What can I say, April is a good month for action movies.
The Expendables IV: The Dependables will be playing at the Carmike 12 theater, and there will also be an free advance screening at the Regent Court Senior Living Cinema. Bring a proof of purchase of any 12 pack or larger Depends briefs or guards for free admission.
By Boaz Enderby