The Expendables 4 ending explained: Who dies?

Cameron Frew
Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross in The Expendables 4Lionsgate

The Expendables 4 sees Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham assembling a team to save the world once more, but considering the tagline warns that “they’ll die when they’re dead”, does anyone kick the bucket in the ending? Here’s what you need to know.

They’ve killed corrupt profiteers and liberated South American islands, offed plutonium-wielding terrorists with a knack for martial arts, and crushed megalomaniacal arms dealers under buildings. For The Expendables, there’s no such thing as an impossible mission, as long as they work together.

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In the fourth movie, Barney enlists Lee’s help along with a fresh-faced crew to head to Libya, where a mercenary named Suarto (Iko Uwais) is trying to steal a massive nuke from Gaddafi’s old base.

Let’s just say, things don’t go exactly to plan, with a major sacrifice rendered “worthless” and an unexpected sacking putting the team at odds with each other as the clock ticks down on the world. So, here’s our breakdown of the ending of The Expendables 4 and who dies.

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Who dies in The Expendables 4? Ending explained

Marsh is blown to bits by Barney at the end of The Expendables 4, along with everyone else aboard the tanker after the nuke explodes as it sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

Here’s the thing, though: Barney is supposed to be dead. During the initial Libya mission, Suarto fires an RPG at Barney’s trademark plane. Instead of chasing after the detonators, Lee disobeys his orders and drives his car into the anti-air missiles, disabling them in a huge explosion. However, Barney’s plane still crashes into the ground, and we even see his charred corpse inside the cockpit.

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Seems pretty dead, right? We’ll come back to this shortly.

After his funeral, the team gathers for a drink in the bar, where Marsh tells Lee he’s been kicked off the team for causing the failure of the mission, and Gina (Megan Fox) is taking control of the Expendables. Before they fly off to stop the explosion of the nuke in Russian waters – which will cause World War III, obviously – Marsh also reveals that Ocelot may be on the boat.

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Who’s Ocelot, you’re probably asking? He’s a notorious terrorist who’s evaded capture for decades, but in the early days of Barney’s career, he came incredibly close. Now that Barney’s dead, a once-classified file can be opened, which contained intel indicating his identity and collaborators, and all signs point towards him working with Suarto.

Before they fly off, Lee goes to Gina’s house to convince her to let him come. She says no, but after they have sex, he tricks her into taking Barney’s knife with her… which happens to have a tracker inside it. Lee then goes to Thailand to track down Decha (Tony Jaa), a former member of the team who’s since chosen a life of peace over violence, but after a brief scrap, he agrees to take Lee to the ship on his boat.

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When the Expendables arrive, they’re quickly ambushed and locked away. It’s okay, though, because Lee arrives and mows down dozens of them, and they also figure out a way to escape their room. Soon, the whole team is working together – including Decha, who arrives at the last minute and starts slicing and dicing everyone around him.

Andy Garcia as Marsh in The Expendables 4Lionsgate

Meanwhile, Suarto organizes an exchange with the CIA: a prisoner with knowledge of Ocelot, and they’ll get all of the Expendables back alive. When he arrives on a helicopter, Marsh pulls out his gun and shoots him in the head – dun dun dun, he’s Ocelot, and moments later, he turns the nuke’s timer on and throws the detonator into the sea.

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The crew makes a hasty escape, ziplining onto Decha’s boat – but Lee decides to go down the No Time to Die route and sacrifice himself to try and finish the mission. He’s soon overwhelmed by all of Marsh’s men, but mysterious gunfire from the sky wipes them out, leaving only Marsh on deck. He challenges Lee to an old-school fistfight, but before they can duke it out, a helicopter emerges on the other side of the ship and turns Marsh to mush.

Of course, it’s Barney piloting the helicopter. “You could have f*cking killed me!” Lee shouts, in a callback to the first movie. “You’re welcome,” he responds, and the pair fly away as the bomb causes a ginormous explosion in the water behind them.

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So, why did Barney fake his death? He always knew Marsh was Ocelot, but he knew he had to die for the file to be declassified, so he drugged a nasty wisecracker from the bar, loaded him onto the plane, dressed him up as himself, and put him in the pilot seat before the plane crashed. As Barney jumps out of the plane, the other guy wakes up, but it’s way too late.

As everyone reunites for a drink in the bar, they’re played out with Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’.

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The Expendables 4 is in cinemas now. Check out our other coverage here.

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, Oscars enthusiast, and a staunch Scot. He earned a First-Class Honours Degree in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, accredited by the NCTJ and BJTC. He began his career at UNILAD, starting as a Junior Journalist and becoming Entertainment Editor prior to joining Dexerto. You can contact him at