April 20, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Film Review: Expend4bles

FILM REVIEW
EXPEND4BLES
Rated R
103 Minutes
Released September 22nd

Expend4bles could have been a fun thriller with cutting-edge action and layered characters. The 4th in the franchise, the story follows a motley crew of mostly older, misfit mercenaries who are expected to pull off impossible feats of battle against all odds. There is huge potential for comedy that’s left in the dust here. Director Scott Waugh and editor Michael Duthie use the shortcut of visual confusion rather than intricate choreography to trick the audience into sensing the chaos of battle. Waugh does the same with the story – it’s hard to follow. The characters, for the most part, are not fleshed out enough to make you care. Some of the dialogue is simplistic, overused phrases.

So why see the movie? First, Jason Statham, a British version of Tom Cruise, reprises his role as “Christmas.” You can see that he is in his element here. Statham is a professional athlete and expert martial artist. Prior to his acting career, he spent 12 years on the British Diving Team, winning awards in 10 Meter Platform and 3 Meter Springboard. In 1992, he was rated 12th in the world as a platform diver. He almost became a stuntman rather than an actor and has lobbied for a Stunts category in the Academy Awards. He calls stunt performers “unsung heroes.” Now, he is both an actor and stuntman, as he does most of his own stunts. This movie is a “highlights reel” of his work. 

Some members of the cast have, regrettably, little screen time. Megan Fox is an elite soldier, “Gina,” whose wardrobe reflects “out for a night at the club” rather than a gritty mercenary. An actor who has a quote by Nietzsche tattooed on her body should have been given a much more complex role. Iko Uwais, who plays “Rahmat,” is the grandson of a martial arts master. Uwais started learning Silat at the age of 10 and became a National Champion in 2005. Before his acting career took off, he was a driver for a telecommunications company. 

You may have seen Levy Tran on MacGyver or Shameless. Here, she plays one of the mercenaries, but her role seems like an afterthought. Tran is also a master of martial arts. She is of Vietnamese ancestry and grew up in San Jose, working as a Kindergarten teacher before becoming an embalmer. Her mortuary supervisor recognized her talents and told her, “You work with death every day. Go give life, and if it doesn’t work out, then come back, but for now…go live your life.”

The breakout star of the movie is Tony Jaa. The filmmakers could have done much more with him. He’s fascinating to watch, with a crackling energy eyes that say, “I know much more than you can see here,” and a noted ability to laugh at himself and at the situation. Jaa was born in Thailand, where his parents were elephant herders. As a kid, he was addicted to watching martial arts films, and he emulated Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li, teaching himself to jump extremely high and perform complex gymnastic moves in midair. He won a scholarship in physical education to attend college in Thailand, where he studied martial arts. Jaa is the best actor in this movie, a breath of fresh air, creating a magnetic personality for his role of “Decha,” even though he has little screen time.

There was so much talent in this movie to draw from, and the elite martial artists in the cast could have created fierce, intricate, and graceful fight scenes. The rich personalities of the actors could have endowed fascinating characters, and there were missed opportunities to forge a mood using exotic locations. However, the performances of Statham and Jaa make this movie worth seeing.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com

Related Posts

Make Science Your Destination This Summer

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Destination Science is the fun science day camp for curious kids with over 15 STEM activities weekly, three science stations...

Prime Time Sports Camps Coming Soon

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Prime Time Sports Camp has remained a constant in the everchanging camp landscape for over 30 years by following this...

Groundlings Summer Improv Classes Open April 2

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A summer of improvisation is around the corner at The Groundlings. Three months of summer class offerings for teens will...

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm  Doors open at 10am!!

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm Doors open at 10am!! Free goodies!!...

Report: Video Game Mogul Lists Palisades Home for $9.2M

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Built in 2018, the Wood-Shingled Home Spans 7,000 Square Feet across Multiple Levels Dan Houser, the English video game magnate,...

Venice Kush Hosts “The Real Deal” Cannabis Celebration at the Beach

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A Day of Education, Innovation, and Community at Venice Beach Venice Kush is gearing up to host its much-anticipated “The...

Get Jokerfied with The People’s Joker Director Vera Drew Interview; Now Playing at the Nuart Theatre

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Vera Drew on Crafting a Trans Supervillain and Creating Comedy Chaos By Dolores Quintana The People’s Joker is an explosive...

Join Jerry Rubin for the Earth Day Tree Hugging Gathering in Santa Monica

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Celebrate Mother Earth’s Splendor at the Iconic Moreton Bay Fig Tree Tree lovers, environmental enthusiasts, and advocates for Mother Earth...

Nicolas Cage Stars in Arcadian: A Bewitching Apocalypse

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

New Horror Film Delivers Solid Monster Movie Experience Arcadian is a new horror film starring Nicolas Cage (Dream Scenario, Mandy),...

SMC to Host Applied Music Showcase in May

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Highlighted Students Set to Perform a Variety of Songs, Instrumental Solos, Ensemble Pieces, and Original Compositions Santa Monica College’s Music...

(Video) Award-Winning Pianist to Premiere “Rocket Man: A Live Orchestral Experience” in Santa Monica

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Classic Songs Will Include “Crocodile Rock” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” @smmirrornews “Rocket Man” is coming soon to Santa Monica...

Agreement Between SMMUSD and Malibu Moves District Separation Efforts Forward

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

The Agreement Awaits Approval by Both the Malibu City Council and the Smmusd Board of Education The City of Malibu...

Michael’s Santa Monica Celebrates 45 Years with Culinary Extravaganza With Famous Chefs

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Iconic Restaurant Hosts “Great Party!!” Benefitting No Kid Hungry Campaign  Michael’s Santa Monica is set to commemorate its 45th anniversary...

Los Angeles Times Presents Star-Studded Lineup for 29th Festival of Books This Weekend

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Over 550 Writers and Celebrities to Grace USC Campus for Weekend Extravaganza The Los Angeles Times has a stellar lineup...

Girls Learn Self Defense at Empowerment Summer Camp for Girls

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

This summer, girls are invited to explore practical self defense training at SHIELD Women’s Self Defense’s 2024 Empowerment Summer Camp...