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5 action movies like The Expendables franchise

This weekend, The Expendables franchise returns to theaters with its fourth film, Expend4bles. The Expendables are an elite team of mercenaries led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his right-hand man, Lee Christmas (Jason Statham). In the fourth film, the Expendables are hired to stop a group of mercenaries from stealing nuclear weapons in Libya that will be used to start World War III.

The Expendables movies are action thrillers featuring some of the most legendary actors in the genre, including Stallone, Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and UFC’s Randy Couture. They serve as a tribute to the action movies from the 1980s and 1990s. After watching all the Expendables moviescheck out these five action films similar to The Expendables franchise, including a prison break thriller, a heist adventure, and a battle in the jungle.

Escape Plan (2013)

Sylvester Stallone holding a gun on a fence in Escape Plan.
Summit Entertainment

Nothing will beat Stallone’s nearly two-decade run of being in great action movies from Rocky to Daylight. After the success of The Expendables in 2010, Stallone had a mini-resurgence in the action genre. One of the films, Escape Plan, saw Stallone team up with another iconic action hero and his Expendables 2 co-star, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stallone stars as Ray Breslin, an ex-prosecutor who runs a security detail that tests the security of prisons. Ray purposely gets sent to prison to study its weaknesses before executing his escape.

However, Ray is double-crossed and sent to a high-tech prison where an escape seems impossible. With the help of fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), Ray hatches a plan to break free from the prison and catch the man who double-crossed him.

Stream Escape Plan on Sling TV.

Commando (1985)

Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a rocket launcher in Commando.
20th Century Fox

The Expendables films embrace comedy, a staple in many action films from the 1980s and 1990s. No one incorporated comedy into action movies during that timeframe better than Schwarzenegger, who put his comedic skills to the test in Commando. John Matrix (Schwarzenegger) is a retired Special Forces soldier who lives a quiet life in the mountains with his young daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano). His peace is short-lived after a Latin American dictator hires mercenaries to kidnap Jenny and force Matrix to carry out an assassination plot.

However, Matrix escapes captivity and goes after the men who kidnapped his daughter, killing anyone who tries to stop him. Come for the action, but stay for Schwarzenegger’s memorable one-liners, like “Let off some steam, Bennett,” or “Don’t disturb my friend. He’s dead tired.”

Stream Commando on Tubi.

Red (2010)

Three people hold guns in the snow in Red.
Frank Masi / Summit Entertainment

One of the appeals of the Expendables franchise is its use of the “men on a mission” trope. The Expendables are a team of charismatic and rambunctious characters brought together to complete one task, and along the way, they get to snap some necks and cash those checks. Red, the 2010 action comedy based on the DC comics, channels those same vibes.

Frank Moses (Willis) is a retired CIA agent who now enjoys a quiet life in the suburbs. One night, an elite squad of hitmen attempts to kill Frank at his house, but the retiree manages to escape. Forced back into action, Frank rounds up his old squad – Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), and Victoria (Helen Mirren) – to track down the assassins and figure out why they want to kill him.

Stream Red on Prime Video.

Triple Frontier (2019)

Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck stand next to each other as soldiers in Triple Frontier.

An action movie like The Expendables can be described with one phrase: guys being dudes. It’s about big muscles and a lot of guns. That phrase perfectly encapsulates Triple Frontier, the 2019 action-adventure film from director J. C. Chandor. The “guys” in Triple Frontier are Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal.

The five men play former Special Forces operatives who reunite to steal $75 million in cash from a Colombian drug lord’s house in the jungle. For highly skilled soldiers, infiltrating the compound and seizing the money is easy. Escaping the country alive with mountains of cash as an entire cartel hunts you down is where problems arise.

Stream Triple Frontier on Netflix. 

Predator (1987)

The cast of Predator poses with their guns in the jungle.
20th Century Fox

A group of elite soldiers, led by Dutch (Schwarzenegger), are sent to the South American jungle to rescue a group of politicians. However, the soldiers soon learn that they are not alone. The soldiers are being hunted by a technologically advanced alien equipped with invisible armor and superhuman strength. Predator is “Jaws in the jungle.”

Predator’s best asset is its simplicity. In his review of Predator, Roger Ebert wrote, “It has good location photography and terrific special effects, and it supplies what it claims to supply: an effective action movie.” The science behind the titular Predator doesn’t matter. It’s all about the action. Just sit back, relax, and watch Schwarzenegger go toe-to-toe with an alien in this sci-fi movie that’s perfect to watch in the summer.

Stream Predator on Max.

Editors' Recommendations

Dan Girolamo
Dan is a passionate and multitalented content creator with experience in pop culture, entertainment, and sports. Throughout…
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