With “Expendables 4” the action series returns to the big screen after a break. However, some of the well-known names will be missing – including Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In 2014, action star and filmmaker Sylvester Stallone learned a late and important lesson with The Expendables 3: his resurgence from the mid-2000s with the fast-paced and late sequels to his classic films Rocky Balboa and John Rambo he owes him wholeheartedly to his fans, who have stayed loyal to him through the years, always wishing he could go back to his roots and make the kind of uncompromising film he was loved and hated for. No more attempts and failures to hit the zeitgeist.
Those fans would later make The Expendables and The Expendables 2 a success, because with these films Stallone gave them what they hadn’t been able to experience on screen for a long time: their beloved action stars of yore together.
With The Expendables 3, however, Stallone made the mistake of thinking that a young audience could be warmed to this kind of old-school action. In hopes of a big payday, the film was produced with low ratings in mind. The result was the worst box office result of the entire series and deeply disappointed fans. Stallone vowed to get better and took his team quite a bit of time to figure out how to get the action series back on track.
That was almost ten years ago now. “Expend4bles” unites the well-known warriors Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture with the newcomers Megan Fox, Curtis Jackson aka 50Cent, Andy Garcia, Levy Tran, Jacob Scipio as well as the two martial arts stars Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais in front of the camera. Lots of star power, that’s for sure. However, there is a small (big) fly in the ointment: The audience will have to do without some of the old stars like Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas from the third part as well as Bruce Willis, who has retired from the film business, as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The latter has starred in every Expendables film to date, with his role growing with each installment. He was still governor of California when he made his cameo in The Expendables. So why is he not there this time? The 75-year-old explained this in an interview with Parade:
“He’s freaked out and I’m not in it. I said, ‘You know what, we did this and I’m out.’ And he really got it. […] I did [the first film] as a favor for Sly. I shot it for two hours on a Saturday in a church with Bruce Willis. Sly said, ‘Oh, can you do Expendables 2?’ – and I did that for a weekend. Then it was expanded again for ‘Expendables 3’. And that’s it. We will do something together one day.”750 x 100 AD PLACEMENT