Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables has been one of the most outstanding action franchises in recent times. The initial films of the series garnered a lot of attention due to the nostalgia it brought by having the big names of the 70s and 80s together on the silver screen.
However, it seems like banking on nostalgia value is not working out for the franchise anymore. The disappointing box office numbers and reviews that have rolled in, for the latest installment of the series suggest the road for Stallone’s terrific action thriller has turned very rocky. The journey ahead isn’t a promising one and it is unlikely any of the old Hollywood charm can save it. Here’s what went wrong.
The Expendables Has Lost Its Initial Flair
The Expendables started out strong in 2010. With the old-school action sequences and legendary action stars coming together, the film instilled a sense of nostalgia that everyone enjoyed. The reviews of the Sylvester Stallone starrer had always been mixed. All the enthralling elements of the earlier decades being back on the silver screen made for great entertainment. However, the storyline lacked depth. The cliched one-liners from the 80s, the hand-to-hand combats and explosions going around made for great content initially; but they did not stand the test of time.
The elements that kept the film fun faded over time.
No More Legendary Stars to Join the Wagon
Keeping up with bringing back the 80s themes, The Expendables had every legendary action star of the past from back then. With some from the present as well. The first film had a historical lineup with Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lungren, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Steve Austin, and Terry Silver.
The second film had an impressive addition of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Randy Couture, Chuck Norris, and even Jean-Claude Van Damme. The Expendables 3 kept it lowkey with Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, and Mel Gibson joining the roster. And The Expendables 4, wasn’t far behind either, with newer members like Tony Jaa, 50 Cent, and Iko Uwais.
A new addition to the cast of every movie kept the fans excited and helped at the box office. However, this formula now seems to have worn off.
Tough Competition with the Latest Hollywood Flicks
Action being the ever-evolving genre that it is, highly successful films like John Wick and Mission: Impossible create high standards for audiences when it comes to films of this genre. The Expendables itself has set a certain benchmark with its previous releases which the fourth one didn’t exactly manage to cross.
The 80s charm and action sequences have worn off a bit. They cannot amuse for a long stretch of over a decade. Nostalgia does not provide longevity from a sales value standpoint.
Too Long a Wait Didn’t Help the Case
The first three Expendables films were all released five years apart. That made for a standard timeline for the fans. But The Expendables 4 took almost a year to make a return.
That long gap warrants an exceptional film with an outstanding storyline. The fourth installment just wasn’t that. The wait was almost twice what the fans were used to and it really affected things to a significant level. It disrupted the pace things were going with and made audiences uninterested.
Franchise Future in Dark with No Sylvester Stallone
Last but not least factor affecting The Expendables franchise is Stallone’s retirement. As the screenwriter and main face of the series, it is hard to imagine if there will be for of The Expendables franchise.
Without Stallone, the rest of the star cast will fall apart. Schwarzenegger has made it clear that there are no Expendables for him without his dear friend Sly. The makers would have to get really creative to revamp this franchise. And it would be a huge gamble.