To whoever cut the trailer for The Expendables 3…kudos. It left me excited to see more of our ageing action heroes despite my opinion of the first two films (here’s my review for EX2). Having seen it though, I know that trailer was covering up a lot of flaws.
Said trailer gives you the whole story. Mel Gibson’s Stonebanks co-founded the group, rises from the grave, and kidnaps the ‘kids’ that Barney (Stallone) hired to replace the ageing Expendables.
I’m not sure how Barney ever thought this would be a good idea. In the second film the younger chap he took on-board doesn’t end up in too good a position. So why would four kids be any good now? He’s clearly suffering from survivors guilt, even going to far as to say that; but it’s pretty dumb when he’s already got guys who will lay it all down for him.
Anyway….dumb story decisions are not my issue with this film. Contrived situations make up the bulk of action films so I’m not going to call them out.
What does bug me is how the quest for a 12A rating has completely neutered this group of bad ass action heroes. What 12 year olds even care about these guys? The series always catered towards those who grew up with Arnie, Sly and Bruce. It ends up being nothing than a bat that we’re struck with constantly every time we don’t see a knife buried or don’t see any blood or don’t see proper contact. Winds me up just thinking about it. There’s some good action here, it just carries no impact.
SYLVESTER STALLONE CANNOT RUN. STOP IT.
You made a wise choice losing the facial hair, now make another wise one and cut that crap out. At least he looks very Cobra and has some good one-liners.
Onto the new blood. Lutz makes the best impression as an anti-authoritarian beefcake and could have a future in this. Rousey is terrible, there’s no two ways about it. I know she thinks she’s glaring, but she only manages to look constipated. ‘Hacker’ (seriously?) Powell does little to impress other than move his hands impossibly fast over touch screens and big himself up whilst Ortiz barely talks and only gets to shoot people with a shotgun at too far away a range. Bar Lutz they’re duds.
At least the old guys who show up are good for it. Gibson is deliciously deviant in his behaviour, always up for a fight and clearly enjoying being the bad guy. It’s good to see Snipes back, with his crazy eyes and ‘jingle jangle’. That man has presence in spades. These two are the best things about EX3 by a mile. Banderas is at times plain stupid though can be entertaining and Ford—in a shocking twist—mainly grumbles and growls. I just wish these guys where in a better film! At least Willis isn’t there dragging it all down.
Cut out half hour, make the old guard less douchey towards the kids, resist too many cameos and really crank up the tension between Stallone and Gibson. Then you’d have a film. This could have been the best by a mile but shoots itself so many times that it ends up being a disappointment.