A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
For a basic and blatantly idiotic premise that has been repeated almost identically before with the second “Expendables” film, there was checklist with various elements that would determine if “The Expendables 3” was any different to its previous 2 chapters. The checklist is as follows:
Violence – Check!
Weapons – Check!
Stallone hogging screen time – Check!
New additions to the ‘expandable’ cast – Check!
Manliness – To an extent…
Awful cheesy dialogue – Tick Tick Tick!!!
Blood – ….No!
Continuing on from the events of “The Expendables 2”, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his crew of animalistic, rampaging, trigger-happy juggernauts known as The Expendables jump straight back into action by hijacking a train and saving a long lost member in Doc (Wesley Snipes).
On from the first frame, there is limited breathing room in the opening sequence that is jam-packed full of violence, guns and explosions. The cheesy dialogue begins almost instantaneously whilst the effects are deplorable at best.
Within the opening 5 minutes, it is clear that this is not going to be as exciting as the trailer made it out to be.
As more and more of the old favourites get comfortable for a third time, the on-screen chemistry is one of the few features of “The Expendables 3” that is commendable. Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Caesar (Terry Crews) and Toll Road (Randy Couture) all settle in nicely once again, with some having a larger presence than others.
With such an expansive cast of beefed-up, muscular maniacs, it would be difficult to explore each character in great detail; this results in development and depth being sidelined for explosions and mindless, non-stop action sequences. The aforementioned gang are not even half of the full cast – there is a whole new wave of murderous hooligans that join the party, most of which offer a new, young and energetic spin.
The newcomers including Smile (Kellan Lutz), Thorn (Glen Powell), Mars (Victor Ortiz) and a refreshing female inclusion of Luna (Ronda Rousey) all offer a new set of skills that theoretically make Ross’ previous crew obsolete and outdated.
Amongst the breed of youths joining the cast, famous faces such as Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer and Mel Gibson make appearances, and quite good ones at that. Banderas offers some comic relief throughout the second half of the film, whilst Grammer occupies a handful of scenes during the midpoint of the film that see him and Ross search for the ‘new team’.
Mel Gibson is the film’s villain, Conrad Stonebanks, a founding member of The Expendables back in the day that betrayed them. His maniacal, unrelenting nature is quite powerful and believable which makes for some pretty entertaining scenes, however it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li also return to contribute about 8 lines of dialogue, 7 of which are spoken by Arny. Of those 7 Arny lines, 5 of them appear to be disgustingly cringeworthy references to his most famous lines.
Keep an ear out for “Get to the chopper” and “I lied”, they’re all there, and they are sadly not going anywhere.
The primary issue with “The Expendables 3” is the rating. Universally, the PG-13 rating (which I believe is an M rating in Australia) has been the biggest apprehending factor for audiences and critics. Over the 3 films we have seen the transition from real life blood squibs, to digitally placed squibs, to virtually no blood at all.
“The Expendables 3” is a watered down version of what is meant to be the toughest, roughest, meanest and most badass set of action films in history. The fact is that the previous two “Expendables” films weren’t anything special and nor was the latest, in fact it may very well be the worst of the lot.
From the laughable green screen effects to the de-masculinated nature of some of the cast embers, “The Expendables 3” doesn’t have a lot to show for itself. There is a scene in which Stallone’s Barney Ross – the attempt to embody every action hero in filmic history complains of being car sick…really?
It may be a deliberate case of irony, but it simply doesn’t work, not in the slightest.
“The Expendables 3” is not quite quite a family friendly affair, but it’s close. Producing yet another carbon copy of the original, the film will no doubt make enough at the box office for us to expect yet another instalment in a couple of years time.
The only newcomer to the cast that would add some real substance would be Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson; in fact, he would most likely make the next “Expendables” adventure quite an enjoyable one.
Listen up Stallone – you have your two crucial requirements for “The Expendables 4” – The Rock and more blood. You’re welcome.