1980’s action flicks were truly their own genre. Generally, these movies focused more on flash than substance and the movie-going public ate them up like candy. There is still quite an audience for this type of film and every year, it seems that audiences flock to movies that pack a punch but don’t seem to have the story to last ten rounds. One franchise that has never been ashamed to advertise this strategy, in fact, one that truly used the public’s love for 80’s action flicks to its advantage, is The Expendables franchise. The 80’s throwback series has hit the big screen with three entries so far and it appears that another explosion-fest may be on the horizon, and now we have word as to who may be playing the villain. If he is to be believed, Hulk Hogan may be joining the 4th Expendables outing.
Speaking to the audience at last weekend’s Body Power Expo in Birmingham, England, the 61 year old wrestling legend had this to say about joining The Expendables:
“Was talking on the phone with Sly [Stallone] about doing The Expendables 4. We’re trying to figure out a way to maybe turn me into the most evil man in the world. Y’know, Stallone gave me my first break and he’s been a great friend for all these years … We had a great conversation, talking about the possibilities. Can I still run, can I still jump? Well, not as fast or not as high, but I think Hollywood could find a good stunt man to help me out.”
Before we get too far into this, it is important to address the elephant in the room. Whatever you may have thought about the first two Expendables entries, there is no denying that the last entry was absolutely horrible. Sly can blame the early release of the film on every torrent site on the planet or the ill-conceived PG-13 rating but the fact of the matter is that Expendables 3 was a horrible film with a horrible script. Did the film have potential? Of course it did! Hey, The Expendables will NEVER win an Oscar but beating the weekend box office should be a piece of cake! However, instead of focusing on the 80’s legends that most Expendables fans were heading to the local multiplex to celebrate, the entry brought in new blood, such as Twilight’s Kellen Lutz, MMA fighter Rhonda Rousey, and boxer Victor Ortiz to attract a younger audience, which also lent itself to the PG-13 rating. Mel Gibson may have stolen every scene he was in, but with such a full cast of up and comers, the core group of action heroes took a backseat, which, ultimately, led to a less than exciting movie, which is unfortunate, considering just how promising that opening scene was.
Quality that declines with every sequel is almost a characteristic of a successful 80’s movie; just ask Predator, Robocop, Iron Eagle, and American Ninja, to name but a few. The Expendables is no exception to this rule. After a truly exciting and fun first entry, the second entry was even more over the top but not quite as fun, while the third, well, we already discussed Expendables 3. The third entry was so bad, in fact, that many people assumed the franchise was dead. That “many people” never included Expendables creator Sylvester Stallone, however. Much like his most famous character, Rocky Balboa, Stallone never seems to give up. For years after his last Rambo movie, Sly maintained that a new sequel was right around the corner, and even offered a couple of different synopses for the entry. Remember when Rambo was supposed to battle some sort of beast?
Even now, Sly hasn’t given up hope in continuing John Rambo’s story, though the scope has been narrowed some, and if audiences actually get more Rambo, it will likely be on the small screen. After Rocky Balboa, the sixth entry in the Rocky franchise, fans were happy to let the aging boxer ride off into the sunset. Sly, on the other hand, has decided that Rocky isn’t quite done and fans will see the character hit the screen yet again in the upcoming Creed. So, it isn’t all that surprising that Stallone still thinks that another Expendables is a good idea.
Projects in Hollywood can definitely gain a bit of steam before puttering out and there are plenty of sequels out there that got much further than casting before losing steam and disappearing altogether. Whether or not Expendables 4 will ever hit the screen is yet to be seen but if it does, it’ll have to do a lot better that its last entry. Action fans deserve better.
Are you game for a 4th round with The Expendables?