Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are a great and good combination in the competing action movie series thanks to Expendables 4

Now that Jason Statham is taking the lead in The Expendables 4, he and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lead dueling action franchises. Broadly speaking, dueling films drum up interest in new projects, especially when two long-running series that need a little extra hype are going head-to-head in theaters. This summer, the successful results of this tactic are apparent in the “Barbenheimer” box office results. A Statham vs. The Rock duel takes this same strategy and amplifies it by pitting two well-known actors and their established franchises against each other.

Set to release in 2023, The Expendables 4 — stylized as Expend4bles — marks the first Expendables movie led by Jason Statham. The actor appears in other franchise installments as side character Lee Christmas, but long-time Expendables lead Sylvester Stallone is officially passing the baton. Meanwhile, Johnson confirmed his reprisal of the Luke Hobbs role in a Fast & Furious spinoff film. Fast X set up the spinoff by alluding to Hobbs’ upcoming conflict with Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), which will bridge the gap between Fast X and Fast & Furious 11 outside of the existing Hobbs & Shaw spinoff.

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The Expendables & Fast & Furious Are Even Better As Rival Franchises

With Johnson and Statham leading the next two installments of the Fast & Furious and The Expendables franchises, a compelling action-franchise duel is on the horizon. Setting up a cinematic rivalry feels like a natural step, especially considering the ensemble, adrenaline-pumping films have been compared in the past. Led by some of the biggest names in the genre, the duel makes up for the fact that Statham and Johnson still haven’t put out another Hobbs & Shaw movie. Now, audiences still get to see both actors shine in their respective lead roles.

Moreover, a sense of competition between The Expendables and Fast & Furious benefits both series, which have simultaneously reached turning points with their aging stars. For The Expendables, in particular, the need to adapt to changing times has led to some misses, such as when The Expendables 3 tried to copy Fast & Furious while still adhering to its own look. A duel for clout and publicity, however, forces both franchises to evolve, all while emphasizing what makes them unique. In the end, this assures both series’ continued longevity.

Why Separate Leading Franchises Is Better Than Hobbs & Shaw 2

While it would have been fun to see Johnson and Statham’s characters join forces again in a Hobbs & Shaw sequel, a team-up doesn’t seem likely. Instead, action-movie fans will get two dynamic films led by these incomparable stars. By leading a new Fast & Furious spinoff and The Expendables 4, Johnson and Statham can focus on deepening their respective characters. Hobbs & Shaw was a fun, buddy-comedy action film, but the fine line between the lead duo’s contention and teamwork couldn’t carry a sequel quite as well. Instead, audiences will get entertaining flicks from both action stars, while Hobbs & Shaw remains untarnished.

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