Sure, many many people illegally downloaded The Expendables 3 and watched it on their iPhones or laptops, but you can’t replace the actual Cineplex experience of seeing the film surrounded by guys full of testosterone, jacked up on the caffeine found in those buckets of soda served by the theater, and oozing the odor of Axe Body Spray as they yell at the screen, “just blow stuff up!” They got their wish.
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) has faced all sorts of peril in his life, but this one might take the cake. Way back in the day, he established The Expendables with his buddy, the atrociously named Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). While running black ops for the CIA, Stonebanks became evil (something Gibson can relate to) and started selling heavy arms to all of the bad guys and dictators of the world, so Barney had to kill him.
However, on the latest mission, The Expendables discover Stonebanks lives, and he wants revenge! This time, it’s personal!
Worried about losing his closest friends, Barney fires the team and hires a bunch of new recruits, but can the new Expendables beat the one man who seems to know all of their moves?
If 22 Jump Street was the perfect satire of sequels, The Expendables 3 is the target of that satire.
Director Patrick Hughes, writers Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt along with co-writer Stallone don’t have any pretense when it comes to The Expendables 3. Stuff is going to blow up. Stiff acting by overinflated guys will rule the day, and flat one-liners will be tossed into the mix. It was fun the first time around as The Expendables was a campy movie so bad you could enjoy it. However, everything is taken too far here. The thrill is gone.
It’s all too much from packing the cast full of every action movie star from the last 40 years and every wannabe action star of the 21st Century to interminable scenes that go on and on forever to big, poorly written speeches and overwrought drama.
While you get some laughs, The Expendables 3 becomes a movie that isn’t as funny as the cast and writers think it is as many one-liners fall flat, and you need to have a bit too much inside information to get the constant jabs at former co-star Bruce Willis. Most people in the crowd will laugh at the jokes about Wesley Snipes and his previous incarceration, and the generational battle provides some fodder, but how are we supposed to feel about Gibson?
Stallone might be trying to make himself into the hero of Hollywood by putting his character in a position to beat the living daylights out of Gibson’s character. Those are scenes some would like to play on an endless loop in the ultimate wish fulfillment fantasy, but it also shows Gibson’s career is finished. His personal reputation is so destroyed (by his own abhorrent actions), he can only play nasty villains because that is what he has become in the eyes of 99% of moviegoers. You can’t get past it as you watch the movie.
The Expendables 3 lacks the campiness that made the first one enjoyable, but the audience does find itself entertained when stuff starts to blow up.
The Expendables 3 is rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language.