Sunday, August 24, 2014

'The Expendables 3' review

Big cheesy action movies were definitely a thing of the 1980's, but honestly, I truly believe that we could use some cheese in our movie diets these days. All of the blockbusters are either self-serious, brooding affairs or dazzling, numbing CGI creations. There's nothing inherently wrong with either of those things, but we could probably use some stupid fun and some crazy stunt work every once in a while. That's exactly what The Expendables 3 offers and it delivers. If you're looking for character development or clever dialogue- go somewhere else. This is wall-to-wall action and general idiocy from start to finish, but it's just so much fun, which is more than I can say for a lot of the dull action blockbusters these days.

The Expendables 3 continues the adventures of Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his globe-trotting crew. This time, his band of mercenaries (Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and most prominently, Jason Statham) find their old nemesis, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who is selling weapons to wealthy buyers. After an Expendable is almost killed, Barney decides that his men are too old and goes out to find a new crew with the help of Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer). He find four new kids (Ronda Rousey, John Ortiz, Kellan Lutz, Glen Powell) who are some of the best in the world and head out to take down Stonebanks. Unfortunately, the new kids are captured and Barney must team up with his old pals and some additional friends (Antonio Banderas, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzanegger) to take down Stonebanks once and for all.

There have been better movies than Expendables 3 this summer. I am in no way calling this movie a masterpiece. But honestly, if you're looking for two hours of solid entertainment, you really can't go wrong with this movie. The action scenes are appropriately ludicrous and incredible and the acting actually isn't terrible. Mel Gibson is a great addition to the franchise, Wesley Snipes is occasionally electric and Schwarzanegger looks to be having fun tossing around one liners like "Get on da choppah!" and the like. All in all, it's not perfect, but it's a fun time at the theater and it's much better than most of the traditional August garbage.

Stallone always manages to attract an impressive cast for his movies and he gets his biggest one yet with this third installment. It's cool to see all of these guys on screen, but it is really obvious that some of these people are far too good to be in this movie. Mel Gibson adds an immense amount of interest to this film. His character is the only one fully developed and his deliciously evil performance is terrific. Snipes and Ford also do a pretty solid job in their limited roles. Antonio Banderas is also very funny and very annoying in this movie, but for the most part, it works. And even though Kelsey Grammer has nothing to do, he's still pretty good in this movie.

On the other hand, people like Stallone, Schwarzanegger, Couture, Lundgren and Statham aren't terrific actors. However, they're perfectly serviceable in this movie. Watching Statham shout at people and fire up a gun with Arnold shouting off cheesy dialogue, all while Stallone is fighting Mel Gibson is an absolute pleasure to watch and just what I want from this movie. It's not great acting, but it works and that's all that really matters in an Expendables movie.

The action in this movie is nonsensical, but brilliant. The closest comparison that I can think of is Fast and Furious 6, which also featured action that defied the laws of gravity. It's insanity from beginning to end, but it is so crazy good. The final fight scene at the end feels like something straight out of an 80's action, with only a few digital touch-ups. Helicopters, guns, knives- you name it, it's probably in the final battle of this movie. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

The biggest problem this movie runs into is that the characters are boring. In fact, they're not really characters. They're simply caricatures of the actors who play them. And because of that, when they aren't shooting and blowing up stuff, they're boring. The dialogue is either corny or bland and it just doesn't work. Director Patrick Hughes doesn't exactly do anything new or innovative and some shots are bizarrely awful. He has an eye for action and his recruitment montage scenes are good (unpopular opinion), yet he can't seem to make a simple conversation interesting. It just becomes tedious.

So in the end, what you see is what you get with The Expendables 3. A fun, delightful action throwback with a cliched script and terrific action. Some of the new actors add quite a lot to the cast and the movie is just plain entertaining. If you're looking for depth or character development, you won't find it here. But for a good time, you can't go wrong with The Expendables 3.

THE FINAL GRADE:  B                                              (7.3/10)


  1. Nice review. Looking forward to seeing this movie.

  2. Critics, you **** never change. Audiences around this great nation will TRULY appreciate this exciting 3rd chapter in The Expendables franchise. And a commercial will appear on television saying that The Expendables 3 is the "#1 film in America". So suck on that! This is an ACTION-WAR film which focuses mainly on a group of ELITE MERCENARIES, which is even a much bigger team now because there are 16 mercenaries in this team. What's not to like? The Expendables series is a perfect series. It has taken a very large cast of stars to come together in order to form an even bigger team of elite mercenaries for The Expendables 3.

  3. Expendables 3 actually is surprisingly entertaining. This is a straight up action movie, so you are not going to get a great story. But what is there actually works. I found while the younger actors were terrible to watch, the additions of Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas Wesley Snipes, and Kelsey Grammer brought some weight and humor to the movie. Stallone actually wasnt terrible in the movie too.

    The action scenes were great, the end climax action was suberb. The only gripe is that the end fisticuffs between Stallone and Gibson were done too quickly. I miss the days of longer fights between the main hero and villan.

    I found myself entertained and felt this was the best Expendables movie yet. Too bad it hasnt done well in the box office. But if you havent seen it, go check it out. Its a good time if you like action movies.

  4. The wild card is Gibson, who reminds us that he's always magnetic onscreen, no matter what you might think of him as a human being.

  5. It could have been the guilty-free action pleasure of the 21st century.