The Expendables 3
Back in 2010 audiences were thrilled when Stallone announced The Expendables was to star every 80s & 90s action icon. It was then released and many were disappointed. Stallone went away with this pet project to cram more stars onto the screen, most notably with the addition of Chuck Norris. It was an improvement but still wasn’t quite the hyper-masculine retro action flare audiences wanted. So does the recent third installment fare any better?
The latest in the Expendables franchise sees leader Barney (Sylvester Stallone) reevaluating his older team of Expendables, consisting of members like Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), and Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren). Barney asks Bonaparte (Kelsey Gammer) to recruit younger members including Luna (Ronda Rousey), John Smilee (Kellan Lutz) and Mars (Victor Ortiz). During this reevaluation ruthless arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) has arisen.
This latest installment is a mixed bag. One issue, which also plagued the previous two films, is the film’s over-reliance on self-referential humour to earn its laughs. While charming in places, this becomes too predictable, most notably in the reason Wesley Snipes’ character has been away all these years.
The film also believes that the more stars it crams in the better it will be, which is still not the case. Some of the cameos are audience-insultingly pointless, most notably for Jet Li, who is only given a few throwaway lines.
The contrived conflict between the two generations does little for tension, character development or expansion. Conversely, however, young director Patrick Hughes does manage to conjure an exciting finale that utilises many of the key characters’ strengths.
Mel Gibson’s performance as the villainous Stonebanks is particularly noteworthy. He’s able to balance hammy action acting with straight dramatic acting. It’s an example of self-awareness done correctly as it uses Gibson’s villainous public persona of recent years to assist in the characterisation of Stonebanks.
The Expendables 3 is book-ended by exciting action set pieces, but the main bulk of the narrative is dull, slack and too reliant on meta-humour to earn its thrills.
The Expendables 3 is released nationwide on 14th August 2014.
Watch the trailer for The Expendables 3 here: