The Expendables 3 – Movie Review – Frances Winston
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz
In cinemas: August 15th
The first Expendables movie famously brought together some of the biggest action stars of the 80s and the second followed suit however here they have mixed it up and the old skool heroes work alongside a new generation of kick ass screen stars to bring us quite possibly the most explosively action packed and star studded film of the year. I was actually a big fan of the first two films. Sure, they are not high art. But they were great fun and it was fantastic to see so many legendary screen icons assembled in one place. The in jokes and throw back humour were just a bonus. Therefore I was excited to see this instalment which has the most impressive cast list to date.
The premise is pretty similar. The group of mercenaries known as the Expendables are employed by the government to take down a bad guy in a covert operation. In this case the bad guy is a warlord called Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson) who also happens to be a former member of the team. Unfortunately he proves harder to take down than they anticipated and when one member of the team is seriously injured their leder Barney Ross (Stallone) disbands the group and recruits a selection of young guns to try and take down his former friend. However, things don’t go to plan and pretty soon the old team are forced to rescue the new guys from his clutches as both groups fight side by side to defeat him.
Where the first movie was heavy on humour the second one had a more serious tone however here they seem to have found the balance. There are some very funny moments (including a joke about Wesley Snipes jailing for tax evasion) coupled with moments of high tension and the juxtaposition really works well. All of the veteran cast have settled into their roles by now and on the whole the newcomers work well with them. Strangely it is Ford and Schwarzenegger, no strangers to the action genre, who appear the most uncomfortable throughout. Female UFC champion Ronda Rousey is very much the token girl here but absolutely holds her own against the larger than life male cast and kicks some serious ass. Meanwhile all of the guys seem to be having a ball. At times you can almost see them suppressing a grin due to the fun they are having.
The plot is pretty standard fare but works well. It’s not overly complicated and gives plenty of leeway for the cast to fight the bad guys and blow things up and the effects are fantastic. These movies are completely high octane and this is no different with an explosion every few minutes. Some of the performances are somewhat wooden and the dialogue stilted but that is normal for movies like this where the focus is on the action and not the drama but this is more than made up for by the energy on screen.
The fact that they introduce so many younger cast members implies that this franchise may run for a while yet which wouldn’t be a bad thing although it wouldn’t be the same without the older actors who wear their legend status like a badge of honour. This does what it says on the tin and wears its heart on its sleeve. If you are not a fan of the action genre then this won’t change your mind. However, if you like movies that ask you to sit back and enjoy without concentrating too hard this is right up your street. Great fun and fantastic escapism this is the best instalment in the franchise to date.