STARRING: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Wesley Snipes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Kesley Grammer, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Glen Powell, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz, Kellan Lutz and Mel Gibson
Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates.
The story starts off with the old guard on a mission in Somalia, to interfere in a shipment of bombs that are arriving from an arms dealer named Victor Min. During the mission, Barney discovers that Victor Min is none other than Stonebanks, a co-founder of The Expendables that he thought he killed years ago. When the mission goes south and one of their own gets badly injured, Barney decides to cut off his friends and sack them, so he can bring in some new, younger blood, on a suicide mission to take on Stonebanks.
The Expendables is a decent enough by the numbers action flick from Stallone and his merry men and decides to trade the blood for more mass appeal for this third installment in the franchise. The positives to take from this is that some of the acting in this has more flare to it than the previous two, with the additions of Wesley Snipes, Kesley Grammer, Harrison Ford and of course Mel Gibson. Snipes brings forth the charisma that we know he has, Grammer is solid as he helps with the new recruit montage, Ford is a nice replacement of Bruce Willis Church and Mel Gibson shows that he’s still got the chops to capture your attention on the big screen.
Some of the plot points in the film I liked as well but there was a few problems that came along with them. Once Snipes character Doctor Death is picked up (with possibly the best self aware joke in the film), there’s instant conflict between him and Statham’s Christmas, as Doc was an original alongside Barney and also the knife man of the team, that’ll come to a head later down the line right? It’s all but forgotten once the mission of the Stonebanks reveal happens and that’s within the first fifteen-twenty minutes. I thought Mel Gibson as Stonebanks was the best thing to take from this film, not only for the fact that he steals the film in just one scene, explaining the history of him and Barney and his motivations, you can’t help but think a) I miss Mel on the big screen these days and b) he’s correct logically in his motivations and it’s always best when the villain believes he’s in the right. Problem with this is Mel’s only got two scenes worth noting, this (which is in the second act of the film) and the final act showdown.
Then we come to the angle with the newbies taking over the old guard. The premise of it, for me, was taking it that Barney decided that this was mostly going to be a one way trip so decided to ditch his friends and hire this new younger members and you can’t help but feel like ‘that’s cold’ move from Barney and when Stonebanks pits his venom at him in their face to face exchange and Barney tries to claim the moral high ground you can’t help but think hang on a minute there buddy… As for the new members, I can only think of one of them that was a useful addition (The tech guy Thorn) but really you can’t care much about any of them. Sure Ronda Rousey does her thing, kick ass and throw in an armbar, but other than that I think she gets five lines and constant cuts to her pulling the same expression over and over (The Zoolander one look), Ortiz brings nothing new either, Lutz gets more screen time than all of them combined to appear to be a future Expendable leader and Powell as Thorn brings the modern tech wizardry to the 80’s fanfare. The problem this has is that we’ve an hour almost with the new members and we are not giving anything at all to care about them and the fact that if you came for a showing of the Expendables throughout the film, then you’d be sorely disappointed here.
Then there’s the wildcard of this film….Antonio Banderas. Basically think Puss in Boots, except on 10 times more cocaine and you get the general idea of what Banderas is like here, you’ll either like him or detest him in this film.
The Expendables 3 shows that the franchise has hit a brick wall at the minute with what it’s looking to achieve. Box Office wise, the film isn’t making the numbers the studio were hoping, infact for it’s opening weekend it’s made less than the first two films. Two arguments for that would be that a bootleg copy went online to download over a month ago so people got to view it that way, if they so chose to, and the film lost some numbers through that….the other argument being that the Rated R to PG-13 switch lost it some appeal as well. For me, with the rating, it’s mainly the script that bothered me but you can’t help but notice in certain fight sequences it either cuts away too quickly or you feel like you’ve missed an extra five seconds of an actual kill shot, meaning that the film was shot to be a Rated R, yet edited down for the PG-13 rating, which is disappointing.
The weakest of the three but it’s mainly for the overall story and too many characters to involve in the plot, though the action scenes without the R rating do come across repetitive because of this. Few self aware liners here and there and Mel Gibson’s performance is enough to make you at least take something from this film. 5/10