Despite only just landing on the streamer over the Summer, the hit ensemble action film The Expendables is currently scheduled to leave Netflix on October 4. The film features a leading performance from writer and director Sylvester Stallone, as well as a number of A-list action stars such as Jason Statham. With the fourth installment in The Expendables franchise still fresh in theaters, be sure to catch the first three films on Netflix before it’s too late.
The Expendables and the first two sequels are all leaving Netflix on October 4.
First premiering in 2010, The Expendables follows a massive ensemble of modern Hollywood action heroes, with a growing roster of actors joining the team with each passing installment.
The first Expendables film stars Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Terry Crews, David Zayas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, professional wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and UFC fighter Randy Couture. While the film marks the eighth overall entrance into Stallone’s career as a director, it serves as his first stab at directing a massive ensemble piece, which became a highly popular draw in the early 2010s.
Despite the already enormous cast of characters, Stallone originally wanted the cast of The Expendables to be even larger, with a number of additional names probed to join. Actors asked to join the on-screen mercenary team in the first film include Forest Whitaker, Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Ray Liotta, Ben Kingsley, Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robert De Niro, and multi-platinum-selling rapper-turned-actor Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson.
While many of these names initially turned the film down due to their lack of interest in performing in an ensemble film, many of them publicly stated that they regretted not getting in on the trend early. Jean-Claude Van Damme even joined the franchise for the second Expendables film, portraying the aptly-named antagonist Jean Vilain. Likewise, Wesley Snipes joined the franchise with 2014’s The Expendables 3.
The Expendables centers on Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross, who leads a team of highly specialized mercenaries regarded as the titular ‘Expendables’ team. After being hired for another in a long string of highly dangerous extraction missions rescuing a Captain Phillips-style shipping vessel from Somali pirates, the team comes to realize that a former business associate has double-crossed them.
The team then takes on a mission that sees them heading to South America in an effort to stop a ruthless CIA-backed dictator whose interests align with the Expendables’ enemies.
The Expendables takes a rote plot and stuffs it full of every action star available to make it an amazing popcorn flick.
As the Expendables continue down their violent and bloody mission, they quickly discover that they have become entrapped within a web of deceit that goes all the way to the top, leaving them no choice but to stab, shoot, drive, and explode their way out of danger while in the midst of mitigating an international incident.
The film carefully manages to ride the line between high-intensity action and campy 80s-inspired set pieces perfect for encapsulating the history of action cinema. Many of the stunts in the film were performed by the actual cast, resulting in a number of non-lethal injuries on set.
In addition to bringing all of Hollywood’s hardest-working action performers together on the big screen, The Expendables also serves as the first time that Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have shared the screen together in a film. The three are long-time friends off-screen, even serving as three-way business partners investing in the restaurant and casino chain Planet Hollywood.
Though Schwarzenegger’s appearance in the first film is brief due to his ongoing side gig at the time serving as the Governor of California, the Predator star would garner greater screen time in future installments of the series.
The Expendables premiered to mixed reviews from critics, who cited the film’s tired appeal to action fans through its use of transparent tropes as a dated and unnecessary stylistic choice. However, the film found massive success at the box office, ensuring the franchise would continue for years to come. Subsequent sequels to the 2010 film premiered in 2012 and 2014, respectively, before the franchise took an extended hiatus, concluding with the recently released fourth film, stylized as The Expend4bles.
In addition to bringing all of Hollywood’s hardest-working action performers together on the big screen, The Expendables also serves as the first time that Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have shared the screen together in a film.
The Expend4bles premiered just last week at the box office, with a massive disparity in reviews between critics and general audiences. Obviously, the Expendables series has failed to wow professional critics over the years, but average film-goers seem not to mind the lack of high-brow examinations of the human condition in their massive popcorn blockbusters.
If you’re looking to catch up on the original trilogy before catching the fourth film in theaters, be sure to stream The Expendables trilogy on Netflix before they’re gone on October 4.