Do You Need to Watch The Expendables 1-3 Before Expendables 4?

Don't worry too much about going into The Expendables 4 blind.

by Mike Bedard
Image: Lionsgate

The Expendables franchise has never been the most critically acclaimed action series around. The main novelty revolves around watching action stars who were big in the 1980s and ’90s team up to perform in over-the-top set pieces. The Expendables 4, written as Expend4bles, very much follows in that vein. There are some returning cast members, including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture. However, watching the first three installments isn’t necessary to enjoy the fourth. It’s a new standalone adventure, but if you want to understand everything regarding Expendables lore, it’s pretty easy to catch up on the series.

The First Three Expendables Movies Are Available on Several Streaming Platforms

While there are some familiar faces in The Expendables 4, it’s mostly comprised of a new cast. Megan Fox is the most prominent addition, playing Lee Christmas’ ex-girlfriend who’s also an undercover operative. She’s joined by some action heavyweights, including Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais. This helps keep things fresh, and if The Expendables 4 does well at the box office, there’s definitely a chance at more installments or potentially even spin-offs. And if Expend4bles catches your fancy, the other three are incredibly accessible.

They’re all available to watch on various streaming hubs, including Netflix, Peacock, and Tubi. You can also rent or buy The Expendables 1 through 3 on AppleTV+, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu. While The Expendables franchise has never been as critically acclaimed as other action series like John Wick and Mission: Impossible, it does appear to have a loyal following of fans who love seeing older action stars come out of retirement for one last job.

The Expendables movies are meant to be mindless fun. As such, there isn’t a ton of information that’s really needed to enjoy a new film even this far along in the franchise. Just go to the theater and enjoy the ride.

- This article was updated on September 23rd, 2023

About The Author

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Mike Bedard has written tens upon thousands of articles online in all kinds of spaces. Some of his previous writing credits include Cracked, Ranker, and StudioBinder.