This time, Sylvester Stallone knows what he’s doing. A new red band trailer for Expend4bles, the fourth Expendables movie, has hit the web, and it leans heavily into the fact that, unlike the lame-o third entry in the throwback action franchise, this action extravaganza is rated R, and it earned that rating. Directed by Scott Waugh, Expend4bles finds the Expendables up against an army of terrorists smuggling nuclear warheads as they attempt to start World War III. Series regulars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture return, and they’re joined by Megan Fox, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Tony Jaa, Jacob Scipio, and Levy Tran, with Andy Garcia as their new CIA contact and Iko Uwais as the villain. Expend4bles hits theaters on September 22, 2023, and you can see the red band (which means not safe for work) trailer below:
I’ll be honest; I’ve been sold on a fourth Expendables since Sly promised it would be rated R because I’m a big fan of the first two. But I love the marketing for Expend4bles. There isn’t a huge push, which is wise because this is kind of a niche movie nowadays (which saddens me a bit, but times change), but the first trailer and now this one are speaking directly to Expendables fans. And the way they’re going about it highlights the problems with Expendables 3 (some of them, anyway) and why these films need to be rated R. This is what people come to an Expendables movie to see: blood and guts, killing and cursing, sexy guns and sexier women, and a group of friends who let their hair down when around each other before they drink beers and go kill bad guys in the goriest way they can come up with in the moment. It’s an old-fashioned good time, unconcerned with modern sensibilities or hurting anyone’s feelings, unapologetically for men. That’s the lesson Hollywood needs to learn from Barbie: play to your audience. I’m excited for this one, and I hope it leads not only to more Expendables movies but to more action movies in that vein; for the past couple of years, they’ve finally started getting good again, which means it’s the perfect time for the Expendables to saddle up once more.