The Expendables 3 (2014) – Review

3 Stars

The third trip to the well, proves the most fruitful for this group of aging mesomorphs, led by the perpetually pumped Sylvester Stallone. Those worn-out from the ongoing bombardment of superhero tales, will most likely be re-energized by this manically frenzied shoot ’em up, that has been trimmed to PG-13 and now resembles a saturday morning live action-cartoon. Assembling the biggest cast of ‘names’ yet, The Expendables 3 struggles in giving each of it’s members adequate screen-time.

Barney Ross (Stallone) and his cohorts are nearly killed on their latest mission, forcing Ross to confront the notion that their days as mercenaries has come to an end. He dismantles the squad and sets out to form a new team with younger, more technically advanced recruits. This new pack is smarter about tactical warfare but less proven in the field. The antagonist this time around is Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a former member of the expendables, long presumed dead but in actuality now running arms to foreign warlords.

Gibson’s over-the-top and furious turn as the adversary brings out the same impulses in his co-stars, so that when Gibson and Stallone square off at the end its like two massive bulls locking horns. The script contains the now requisite and numerous stabs at each of it’s stars’ previous film history, and Schwarzenegger is back on hand to provoke a few laughs with his jabs at the Stallone persona. The addition of new and younger cast members is a mixed bag, each is introduced in short montages, but none are memorable outside of the startlingly attractiveness and brutal fighting skills of UFC champ Rousey.

They have spent a big pile of money and Stallone as writer has not been afraid to satirize himself and the genre in the process. It is a deliberately absurd movie, using a ot of older movie stars for their value as icons, while working in jokes about age and failure. The Expendables 3 is not respectable or original but it goes for broke in trying to deliver a throwback experience. I have to applaud new comer to the series director Patrick Hughes for the level of anarchy, energy and sense of humor that he along with Sly have infused into this installment. Look for Antonio Banderas doing his best Leo Getz (Joe Pespci) impersonation, stealing every scene he is in.

Director: Patrick Hughes
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Jason Statham

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