Stallone, who produces and oversees this series, returns as Barney Ross, the leader of the Expendables. The Expendables, to remind the reader, are a loosely gathered squad of elite, well-armed mercenaries who commit explosive war crimes when the American military has become too skittish. Barney’s new team consists of a few familiar faces, including Lee Christmas (Statham) who has just begun dating fellow Expendable Gina (Megan Fox), the type of character who wears heavy eye shadow and slinky cocktail dresses at ten in the morning. Also returning are Toll Road (Randy Couture), the affable explosive expert, and Gunner Jensen (Lundgren), the team’s sniper and a recovering alcoholic. Note that “Expend4bles” presents Gunner’s sobriety as a risible facet of his personality.
New characters include Easy Day (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), the slinky whip-wielding Lash (Lavy Tran), the hot-headed Galan (Jacob Scipio), and one of Barney’s old compatriots Decha (Thai martial arts superstar Tony Jaa). They each are unflappable, violent, and determined, in that generic action-hero way. Statham is handy with knives, Gina is given leadership duties, and the others are all brutal and gruffly charming in turns. Andy García plays the CIA contact who doles out their assignment.
Their assignment this time is to track down a vicious rogue named Rahmat (Iko Uwais) who has recently stolen several nuclear warheads from Gaddafi’s old supply in Libya. He will pass the warheads on to a mysterious off-screen villain called the Ocelot.
Like an old joke you’ve heard too many times, to quote comedian Bill Bailey, the entire scenario unfolds with a tedious inevitability.