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The Expendables 3
The Expendables 3
Director: Patrick Hughes
Writers: Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Dave Callaham
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Randy Couture, Kelsey Grammer, Glen Powell, Kellan Lutz, Victor Ortiz, Ronda Rousey, Ivan Kostadinov, Robert Davi
Synopsis: 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
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
5.5 / 10
- Some of the jokes were funny
- Actions scenes were well choreographed
- Great soundtrack
- Well paced
- Mel Gibson gave a great performance
- Story is still repetitive, and offers nothing new in terms of originality.
- The novelty of what made this franchise great has worn off.
- poorly developed characters; particularly the younger Expendables' cast
- The story is even more cliched than the last two if that's even possible
I'm getting too old for this s***.....
"The Expendables 3" is arguably the most disappointing movie of 2014. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad movie by any means, nor would I say it's worse than the previous ones in terms of quality. However, the novelty of the franchise has kind of worn off. As many of my readers know, I loved the first two "Expendables" films in spite of their flaws. Sure, I'll be the first to admit that the stories for the previous ones weren't great, and neither was the acting for that matter. But, let's be honest for a minute.
The previous "Expendables" films were nothing more than a love letter to the old school action films of the 80's and 90's. Neither of them were trying to tell any kind of ground breaking story, but rather help audiences remember the good old days, when all action films featured guys uttering one liners while killing people. They were essentially guilty pleasure films that audiences relished in. Sure, the previous ones were a hit primarily because of a gimmick, but it was still a lot of fun to watch.
The first one presented a novel concept of having most of our old school action heroes of the 80's and 90's joining forces in one film. It was like an "Avengers" movie being made exclusively for adults. Where instead of seeing guys like Captain America and etc team up, we're treated to the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and etc teaming up for one action packed film paying homage to the action movies of the past. It was a unique concept that worked rather well.
And even though the second movie was nothing more than a rehash of the first one, it did bring in a few new elements to keep it interesting. For starters, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger were given more of an active role in the second one, as it gave old school action fans a chance see John McClain, Rambo and Terminator on the big screen together kicking a** and taking names. Whereas the first one, Bruce and Arnold were only given minor cameos, with no action scenes. Thankfully, that wasn't the case in "Expendables 2", and it even had another old 80's action legend featured as the antagonist in Jean Claude Van-Damme.
Sadly, "Expendables 3" brings almost nothing new to the table to keep the novelty going. Sure, the film tries to introduce the concept of Stallone teaming up the older action heroes of the 80's, while ushering in a younger generation along. However, it doesn't work because the young Expendables aren't developed well. Granted, you can say that none of the older ones were ever developed well either, and that would be a fair assessment.. If you ask most people why they love "The Expendables" franchise, then you'll hear very few people ever talk about the story and/or how well the characters were portrayed. Nobody ever talks about that crap when it comes to this franchise.
No, "The Expendables" were always founded on a gimmick. A well played one that worked well to appease the inner man child in all of us testosterone driven men that grew up on 80's and 90's action flicks. Yet when Stallone fires the old guys in the second act of the feature, we're stuck with these young guys that nobody gives a rat's a** about because they're mostly nobodies. Sure, you might have a few MMA fans that know who Ronda Rousey is, but most mainstream audiences don't know who she is. And since her character isn't given any kind of personality outside of being the uber feminist hot girl that kicks a **, you never really care about her at all as a real character. If anything, you just see her as nothing more than a stereotypical cliche action chick acting tough.
And since we're talking about a franchise that's never been known for it's stellar writing to develop characters, it only makes you realize that maybe it's time for "The Expendables" to retire. Granted, I think this film might've been better had they cast young action stars like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Vin Diesel and/or Mia Jovovich. At least then, it would've stuck more true to the novelty of this franchise.
In one scene for example. Kellan Lutz asks Stallone, "So when do I take over?" Almost implying that this "Expendables" movie is a transition to pass the baton to a younger generation. However, since the young guys are filled with action heroes that are relatively unknown to most people, it doesn't have the desired impact one would hope for. Hell, I'm sure if it had been Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, or Vin Diesel, asking that question, then I think a lot of people would've been excited for it. But since it involves Kellan Lutz (a fairly unknown actor), it just comes off feeling a bit underwhelming because you honestly don't care about him at all.
For those of you worrying about the old guys being out of this completely, then have no fear. The old guys come back in the third act to team up with the young ones to kick Mel Gibson's a**. From there, it's all boom boom bang bang. Harrison Ford joins in on the fun because...why the f*** not? Ronda Rousey kicks a lot of a**es, while uttering lines like "Hmph men!", in stereotypical action chick fashion. Antonio Banderas plays the fast talking "Expendable" that won't shut up. In a strange way, it feels like Stallone wanted Banderas' character to seem like the one he played in "Assassins."
For those of you that never seen that flick, Antonio Banderas played a fast talking hit man that was hellbent on killing Stallone. And like that character that he played in "Assassins", Antonio Banderas just doesn't to want to shut up in this one. Hell, he even tries to flirt with Ronda, while people shooting at him. Don't get me wrong, I personally find her attractive myself, but why would any sane person want to hit on a girl when over a million bullets are flying over their head!?! That's just crazy!
Wesley Snipes returns to old form, and there's even a clever joke about him going to prison because of tax evasion. Get it? It's funny because it actually happened to him in real life too. But for the most part, it seems like the character he plays seems to pay a heavy homage to his infamous Blade character; particularly when it comes to wielding sharp knives and daggers.
Of course, all the other old school action heroes manage to get their face time, as they blow stuff up. The young ones make a few clever old man jokes at the older guys' expense, while the oldies manage to get their playful jabs in too. Like the last two films, some villain starts trouble over in some foreign country. The government sends the "Expendables" to do the dirty work. Arnold Schwarzenegger gives Stallone some long winded speech about how they're getting too old for this crap anyway. Lecturing Stallone about retiring and blah blah. Who cares? You know Stallone isn't going to listen anyway, and Schwarzenegger is going to be a giant hypocrite by joining in on the fun. From there, you see stuff blow up. Guns go off. Tanks fire, and random bad guy number twelve dies. Seriously, do you even care about the story at all when it comes to this franchise?
Although, I will admit that Mel Gibson delivered a solid performance as the bad guy. It's just a shame that his talents were wasted in this feature.
At the end of the day, "The Expendables 3" offers nothing new that you haven't seen before in the past ones. Sure, the young guys are brought in, but you never care about them because the movie never gives us any reason to. "The Expendables" franchise had a unique concept while it lasted, but it's time for it retire now. The franchise has already shown it's repetitious nature. And unless they can somehow get Vin Diesel and/or Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the next one, then I think it's better just to let this franchise die out with some dignity.
This is going to be Stallone and the Expendables in a few more years!
© 2014 Steven Escareno