The Expendables 3 review

Patrick Hughes
Sylvester Stallone
Jason Statham
Mel Gibson
Wesley Snipes
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Rated: PG-13

The novelty has worn out on this franchise.

In “The Expendables 3,” Sylvester Stallone once again returns to the role of Barney Ross, the head of a mercenary group which goes on some of the most dangerous missions that can be given. Despite his crew being experts, though, during one particular mission, an old foe of Ross appears which turns out to be the most deadly opponent a person could face.

The enemy named Stonebanks, is played by Mel Gibson. After Stonebanks injures one of Ross’ teammates, the gun-for-hire decides to let his old crew go and hire younger mercenaries to take down his greatest enemy yet. However, the older warriors still want a piece of the action.

Initially, where this movie goes wrong is where Stallone’s character releases all of the old Expendables and brings in the new team. I have no problem with bringing in younger characters, however “Expendables 3” made mistakes in its execution.

First, the scenes where Ross is recruiting the new characters is so cliché and is like any other movie where a new team is being put together. Second, the new soldiers they bring on board are played by actors who have very little experience and no real screen presence.

Making matters worse, after the scene with the recruitment, the middle of the movie drags. There is only one scene with action and it goes by so fast there isn’t a real impact. It was really shocking that the second act of this film could be so boring.

The acting in the movie by the returning cast feels similar to the second film in the franchise, which is far too gimmicky. Action stars like Lundgren and Couture were more or less playing parodies of their characters from the first movie.

Also playing the movie like a parody was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who must have said “get to the chopper” at least twice, if not three times. Not only that, but he’s given very little to do. The same can be said of Harrison Ford, who had so little to do on screen that one wonders why he came on board in the first place.

The new cast is entirely forgettable. They aren’t even well-known action stars from the current generation. They were all inexperienced and offered no energy or charisma in their performances.

It wasn’t all dismal, though. For example, Wesley Snipes had some good lines in the film and Antonio Banderas was nothing but fun to watch as he played a character who was literally bouncing off the walls.

The real saving grace in “The Expendables 3” is Mel Gibson, who steals every scene he is in. Whenever he is on screen, he breathes life into the movie and makes it more exciting to watch. His delivery of the dialogue is perfect for a villain.

The biggest downfall for “The Expendables 3” is its action, which comes off as somewhat below average.

The first movie, which I loved, had some great fight scenes with Randy Couture vs. Steve Austin and Jet Li and Jason Statham tag-teaming one of the lead bad guys. It also had some crazy explosive moments, such as when Terry Crews’ character threw a tank shell at a helicopter and Stallone shot at it to blow it up.

This movie has nothing memorable like that. Everything comes off as rather generic. They barely have Randy Couture or Jet Li fight anybody in hand-to-hand combat. All the audience gets is MMA fighter Ronda Rousey fighting random henchmen.

The action was poorly edited. There are so many fast cuts and too many closeups to really see any action in the battle scenes. This was probably a mixture of the film being rated PG-13 instead of an R, which it should have been and overall bad direction.

The first movie was great, but like the second film, “Expendables 3” doesn’t work. The premise is old and it’s getting worn out. Getting these new random actors who aren’t action stars isn’t going to help it go anywhere.

This summer has had such tremendous fight scenes in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and a great, humorous team up in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” In comparison, “Expendables 3” falls flat. The movie has just enough entertainment value and a great performance from Gibson to get a 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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