Action films are the best type of films. They're bloody, they're exciting, they're visually beautiful but, at the end of the day, they're a lot of fun! The Expendables began to revive classic actioners but how good is the latest film in doing so?
Action films were big in the 80's. The decade was dominated by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. We had the likes of Terminator, Rambo, Predator and LOTS more. In 2010, we got The Expendables. It was like a late 80's action film. Everything from explosions, awesome one-liners, 80's CG, fake blood and a stellar cast of old-school action stars, led by Stallone, to wrap everything up. It was 80's nostalgia for anyone who grew up in those years, especially considering two golden ass-kickers were working side by side (Sly and Arnie).
Well, now, we're onto our third helping of the team and you just can't stand it anymore. It's a drag. It's un-watchable.
Stallone returns as Barney Ross, with his close friend Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) and his team of Expendables. Their challenge in this film is to take on Conrad Stonebanks. Stonebanks was a former Expendable, he co-founded the team years ago with Barney. He was thought to be dead but isn't and is now making it his mission to kill every last Expendable.
Needing help, the Expendables break out Wesley Snipe's Doc - another former Expendable - from prison. However, Barney soon realises that his squad of oldies may not be enough to take down Stonebanks so recruits a younger team of warriors - led by Smilee (Kellan Lutz).
There are quite a few new faces here, including Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer and Antonio Banderas with the latter stealing every scene he is in as the comical and cocky Galgo. Other than that, there are just way too many actors and, for most, their appearance is just a bit more than an extended cameo. With too many people coming on and off screen, we have no time to connect and empathise for these characters. Sure, some of them can amuse at times but that's about it. There are too many of them to follow. But, it is still fun seeing all your heroes from the 80's and 90's all in one movie, together, kicking ass.
Gibson, however, is a stand-out as the antagonist here. There's actually a challenge to match Stallone and his crew. Plus, Gibson's self-deprecating performance, embracing how he is portrayed by the media, is both comical and potent. He is a formidable foe for The Expendables. Snipes is also a great new addition, with winks and nods to his recent history too. It's awesome seeing him back on the big-screen as an action star.
I think that the worst thing about this whole film isn't how much it drags or how little personality it has but the 12A rating it is slammed with. The first The Expendables film was rated 18 and the violence and the gore and the swearing was flying thick and fast, making it a lot like a typical 80's film. The second film was a 15 and was still decent. This one is a joke. It's not even a 12, but a 12 freaking A. It's boring - explosion after explosion. Moderated swearing. No one dies and when the action does appear, it's frustrating and never exciting! Ok, some sequences can be fun to watch but, like Transformers 4, once you've seen about 20 minutes of action, you get tired of it. It's ridiculously clichéd and this makes it very predictable and unamusing. There's no guts and glory.
It doesn't pay homage to the revival of the classic action films it tries to follow. Surely, the main audience for this are people who grew up with Die Hard, The Running Man, Rambo etc and not... families!!! There's no nostalgia here and the franchise's attempt to captivate a new, younger audience fails because what does come on-screen is pretty bad. The writing is atrocious too and it makes the film hard to enjoy. It's also 2 hours long and that becomes VERY tiring. You'd be better off spending that time watching something that is actually enjoyable, maybe Guardians of the Galaxy. Even Brett Ratner's 12A rated Hercules is a better action and entertainer than this.
For the most part, The Expendables 3 is boring and tedious, ultimately failing to entertain. You'd be better off watching any actual 80's action than this.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.