THE EXPENDABLES 3
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
DECEMBER 14, 2014
Sylvester Stallone continues to help write and star in his bombastic action series, this time delivering the first PG-13 endeavor, “The Expendables 3”. Overloading the cast with even more action stars and even poking fun at that fact in the trailer, Stallone has officially outdone himself. With almost all of the former cast returning, including Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Jet Li, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger, at least the this offers some consistency. The film opens with the team on a mission to free one of its former members, Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes) from a Somalian prison in one of the best action sequences out of these films yet. But upon finding out that his arch-nemesis Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) is still alive and failing a mission in which Caesar (Crews) is severely injured, Stallone’s Barney Ross decides to disband the aging group of thrill seekers despite their reluctance to retire.
Enter Harrison Ford, taking over Bruce Willis’ role as the Expendables’ government handler, with the next mission set on finally taking out Stonebanks. Ross is then sent off to put together a younger and fresher Expendables team with the help of Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammar). The new team consists of Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, and despite not being younger or fresher, Antonia Banderas, who offers most of the film’s comedic relief. The story is exactly what one would expect from these mindless action flicks, with the new team getting captured and the old team being brought back to save the day. “The Expendables 3” lives and dies by its ensemble cast as well as its action-filled set pieces, to which there are three or four major ones, including the finale, which is set in an abandoned high-rise building rigged to explode in Uzmenistan. With none of the stars truly stepping out or producing anything notably new, the returning cast is the only reason to even anticipate these films at all. What Stallone needs to do next is let the dust clear a little bit before returning with this group of buffed up guys.
August 15, 2014
by David Callaham
(for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language)
Peter Menzies, Jr.