Why The Expendables’ Attempt To Copy Fast & Furious Failed So Badly

The Expendables 3 tried to muscle in on the runaway box-office train of the Fast & Furious, but here’s why that plan derailed. The Expendables was created by Sylvester Stallone as a way to unite action icons of all varieties.

Throughout the first three Expendables movies, he worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Wesley Snipes, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Va Damme and many, many more. The saga was targeted squarely at those nostalgic for the era when Sly, Arnie and company fronted R-rated action blockbusters – a genre that gradually dwindled during the 2000s.

Of course, a PG-13 rating allows for a broader audience, and while the first two Expendables were solid hits, producers still saw room for growth. That’s why it was decided to make The Expendables 3 PG-13, and in addition to returning cast, it introduced young, tech-savvy mercenaries like Ronda Rousey’s Luna or Glen Powell’s Thorn.

Even the trailer for The Expendables 3 – which nearly cast Jack Nicholson as the villain – largely sold itself on its vehicular carnage, with lots of shots of bikes, jeeps and helicopters pulling off impressive stunts; it even used the Fast & Furious font.

This attempt to steer the series in a glossier direction was doomed to fail since the appeal of the series was the fact they were throwbacks to a bygone era. Shoehorning in some “cool” youngsters and softening their rough edge to appeal to Fast & Furious target demo was never going to work.

Expendables 3 Nearly Killed The Series

This was reflected in The Expendables 3 reviews and box office, where it grossed significantly less than The Expendables 2, despite its rating. Stallone himself later confessed the PG-13 decision was a bad call and vowed The Expendables 4 would return to its roots. Given how major the Fast & Furious movie series had become by 2014 – with the sixth film having been released a year prior to Expendables 3 – it made sense financially to appeal to that audience.

The problem was, the sequel was neither fish nor fowl. It featured the same main characters and tone of the first two entries but then tries to change course and become a slicker, hipper blockbuster.

These tones didn’t gel with each other, and The Expendables 3 is stuck between them throughout. Fans were also turned off by the sequel, and its lukewarm reception saw the property shelved for nearly a decade. A female-centred spin-off dubbed The Expendabelles also never came to pass.

The Expendables 4 Can Reboot The Franchise

While a fourth film was planned following The Expendables 4, it spent years in development hell. The sequel was later greenlit, with Jason Statham’s Christmas being promoted to lead while Stallone will take a backseat. The fourth film is scheduled for a late 2023 release, and while familiar faces like Dolph Lundgren will return, new team members will include Megan Fox and 50 Cent.

The Expendables 4 appears to be scaling back on the action icon stunt casting of the past and focusing on relaunching The Expendables on the right note. The casting of The Raid’s Iko Uwais as the villain and making Statham the leader are steps in the right direction, and it might just see the series finally reach its potential.

[Disclaimer: This news has been made on the basis of information received from the website. News Kosh does not confirm this from its side.]

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