The Expendables franchise may have more than its share of detractors, but fans argue that the films essentially serve as the ultimate throwback. Featuring a revolving cast of old-school action stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren and Chuck Norris, the series – shepherded by star Sylvester Stallone, who wrote and directed the first installment – has managed to bring in a combined worldwide box office total of nearly $800 million.
However, the last entry in the series, The Expendables 3, firmly established that the franchise is losing momentum fast. That film was largely criticized for both its status as the first in the franchise to earn a PG-13 rating and its decision to set aside long-running stars like Jason Statham and Terry Crews in favor of younger recruits like Ronda Rousey and Kellan Lutz.
As for the in-development The Expendables 4, it looks like Stallone is returning to what worked the first two times: an R rating and more familiar faces for fans to cheer on. According to Wrestling Inc. (viaUproxx), iconic wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan could very well end up the film’s villain. Here’s what Hogan had to say:
“Was talking on the phone with Sly [Stallone] about doing The Expendables 4. We’re trying to figure out a way to maybe turn me into the most evil man in the world. Y’know, Stallone gave me my first break and he’s been a great friend for all these years … We had a great conversation, talking about the possibilities. Can I still run, can I still jump? Well, not as fast or not as high, but I think Hollywood could find a good stunt man to help me out.”
As Hogan mentions, he and Stallone shared the screen in Rocky III back in 1982. This pre-existing relationship bodes well for Hogan’s chances of actually boarding the film, as Stallone has previously talked former co-stars Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV), Wesley Snipes (Demolition Man) and Antonio Banderas (Assassins) to take part in the franchise’s past films.
While it’s possible that Hogan may serve as a henchman to another villains, his comments do seem to indicate that he would likely take on the role of the primary villain of The Expendables 4. In this case, the wrestling star would have fairly big shoes to fill, joining a group that includes Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mel Gibson. However, the decision to possibly put Hogan at the center of the film could be a smart one for the new film.
The strengths in The Expendables franchise have always been its gleefully over-the-top action, cheesy one-liners and nostalgic casting moves. Adding Hogan to the mix would satisfy all three of these criteria, and seeing as Stallone seems intent on making up for the missteps in the last film, there’s every chance that this fourth entry could be a tone of fun for the series’ existing fanbase. Plus, the fact that fans of Hogan’s wrestling career would be more likely to flock to theaters doesn’t hurt.
Regardless of whether one is a fan of The Expendables or not, there’s one thing all moviegoers can agree on. The Expendables 4 with Hulk Hogan sure beats a sequel to his 1993 family comedy Mr. Nanny.
Stay tuned for more updates on The Expendables 4 as this story develops.