New faces fail to measure up to veterans : The Tribune India

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New faces fail to measure up to veterans

New faces fail to measure up to veterans

Every action set-piece feels generic and there’s really no adrenaline rush to be had.

Film: Expend4bles

Director: Scott Waugh

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Curtis Jackson, Megan Fox, Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jaa, Randy Couture, 50 Cent, Andy García, Eddie Hall, Sheila Shah, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, Iko Uwais

Johnson Thomas

‘Expend4bles’ brings back some of the old characters, while infusing fresh young blood to the mix. But it’s not all for the good.

CIA operative Marsh (Andy Garcia) tasks Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his crew of Expendables with eliminating a hired gun, Rahmat (Iko Uwais). But Lee (Jason Statham in the meatiest role) being Lee, disobeys a direct order, only to see the mission end in failure and tragedy. Following this, Marsh gives Gina (Megan Fox) command of the group, including Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture), Easy Day (Curtis Jackson), Galan (Jacob Scipio) and Lash (Levy Tran). They track Rahmat’s movements to the coast of Thailand, but Lee stealthily follows close on their heels. But the task to apprehend Rahmat and uncover Ocelot’s true identity is not without peril.

The ‘save the world’ assignment is rudimentary stuff. There’s nothing distinctive or exciting about it. The opening gambit is a little long-drawn but unremarkable and when it segues into Barney’s world of solitude, it just doesn’t cut ice. Barney visits Lee, who appears to be having a face-off with the new-recruit-cum-girlfriend (Fox) and Lee grabs at the opportunity to scoot off from that frontline of verbal fire. The frame then cuts back to the action-packed opening. That only adds to the confusion and makes you aware that there’s something already wrong with the picture.

In this sequel, we get to see a lot more of Barney and Lee’s badass camaraderie. And there’s a point to it too. It gives Lee a reason to wreak revenge. Unfortunately, the new save-the-world assignment unfolds in an unrealistic fashion. Every action set-piece feels generic and there’s really no adrenaline rush to be had.

Larger-than-life heroes muttering inanities through an action-heavy narrative is certainly not going to bring in the audience. The acting here is one worse than the other. Lundgren and Garcia take the cake though. This is the fourth outing, but the team composition has changed and many of the new faces don’t have a long-standing box-office charm to add glory to their presence here. The star power has certainly diminished. The writers don’t even give us much info about the new entrants and their reasons for being in the original aged warrior squad.

Action choreography composition consists of vehicle chases, motorbike action, hand-to-hand combat sequences, explosions, and gunfire. They are poorly orchestrated and the atrocious CGI makes it all look rather fake. Statham leads the warriors, but the others just don’t register. It all feels like the director was orchestrating a video game. Everything that goes on here looks rather indistinguishable. It certainly doesn’t feel as though this team is worthy of being called when all other options are off the table.

Former stuntman-turned-director Scott Waugh designs a few shocking entrees to spice up the narrative, but it’s all in vain. This kind of unimaginative, lowly-action, heavy-narrative with sub-standard CGI is better suited for a B-grade effort.