Sep 28, 2019

EX4 RIP? I Hope Not

After a series of encouraging news in the month of July that were seriously pointing to the development of EX4, including several hints by Sly himself to his personal involvement in the project being in the works, the world of movies has gone radio silent on the fourth and highly anticipated installment of the Expendables franchise. Nada since then and it’s been two solid months of no news.

It was expected that Sly would be busy with the release of his last Rambo movie, but we were hoping to hear at least something, something that would keep the hope going. Well, the topic of EX4 wasn’t going to be avoided by the media during the Rambo promotional interviews, but personally I was expecting it to be discussed much more than it was. Hard to say how many interviews did Sly sit on to promote Rambo but I’ve personally seen a dozen on the internet and there was probably a lot more that I don’t even know about. And out of all those interviews, EX4 was only mentioned a couple of times and in a very hasty manner. It almost felt like that Sly had warned interviewers to not approach the topic and if they did, he would brush it off. During the entire Rambo promotional journey EX4 was only addressed twice and very quickly!!

One of the instances where the EX4 topic came up was at the “Tonight Show” with Fallon who I didn’t know seemed to be a fan of the franchise. While discussing some distant memories of his encounter with Lundgren on the set of Rocky IV, Sly transitioned to mention that he might end up working with the Swede again in EX4 while rolling his eyes. Fallon got excited and so did the audience with a round of applause as if they’ve been anticipating the fourth movie like the rest of us have, but Sly didn’t seem to be overly enthusiastic about it and did not go any further to elaborate on the topic and quickly moved on and back to Rambo. It felt like that he doesn’t want to do the movie but is being forced to, and might not even want to do it if he could get out of it. Maybe I’m reading too much into his body language but this is how I felt about that whole short conversation.

In another instance during a Rambo promotional interview, he’s heard saying that the movie is being forced to happen because of foreign investment and those foreign guys want it very badly. Once again it feels like he is not overly keen on doing the movie but being forced into it.

It’s been known over the past few months that Sly is pushing his production company “Balboa” to take off more seriously and be ready to not only take more projects on but to become the production company of reference in the realm of action movies. His heart is pounding in that direction. Sly is a determined individual and when he sets his mind on something, he gets it done. And it’s understandable that if his passion is veering towards becoming a more of a producer in the action genre and leaving a legacy by mentoring the younger generation in that direction, he wouldn’t want to involve himself in lengthily acting projects that a movie like EX4 is. I even wonder if his involvement in those low budget B Movies that came out last year was a sign of this and whether he did Rambo to go out with one last action movie legacy in the genre.

While I was still optimistic that despite Sly’s reluctance to do EX4 it might still happen because of those foreign investors pushing him to do it, the announcement of his next movie under the banner of MGM & his Balboa production company just hit my hope to go down to an all-time low. Samaritan will indeed start filming early next year. Early next year? And we are now in October!! There is not a lot of room for EX4 to be slotted in, I’m not sure if pre-production has even started, they don’t even have a Director yet. The hope is fading away. I hope I’m just being pessimistic but the prospect of EX4 happening this year or before Samaritan is less and less likely now. I almost feel that this whole Samaritan venture might be the end of EX4. Sly is not getting any younger and the other cast members of the franchise may not be always available at the same time – which is miraculously the case right now, they are all available with no ongoing projects - and the investors will eventually lose patience and cancel the project to push their money into something more realistic.

If the pre-production of EX4 is not announced anytime soon, it’s safe to assume that the project will not go ahead this year and probably not even before June next year if it ever does move ahead.

RIP EX4? That would be extremely disappointing. The EX franchise needs to go out on a high note, EX3 was an affront to the legacy of our childhood icons and needs to be rectified in the history of action movies. Sly, you need to rectify history before you move on to your new projects.