Thanks to Roadshow Films we had the chance to see The Expendables 3 before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself!
The third instalment in The Expendables-saga sees the return of the ultimate team of action heroes under the command of Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) alongside his best mate Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) in what could be the last and hardest ever mission for the team, as Barney must deal face-to-face with a ghost of his past, when former Expendables co-founder and now arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) returns for revenge after being presumed dead for years.
Barney struggles after one of his brothers in arms gets injured by Stonebanks, and decides to end the current Expendables line-up to protect his friends. Ross then proceeds to fight “old blood with new blood” by putting together a brand new younger, tech-savvy team of Expendables.
Directed by Australia’s Patrick Hughes (Red Hill), this new episode of The Expendables-series promised to be bigger and better than the two epic previous films, as the cast was expended yet again for this new chapter with even more big names like Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford. However, these expectations are blown to bits along with the first explosions of the film, as every single new character introduced never gets developed, and all that remains is just like one big teaser of what this potentially awesome film could have been.
Characters like Wesley Snipes’ Doc shine for a few seconds, and just when you expect him to get involved in a huge Blade-kind of martial arts knife fight…. nothing happens. A rivalry between Snipes and Statham’s characters is hinted at but never comes to fruition.
The biggest issue of the film may also be its biggest attraction: the cast, and then particularly the excess of new characters this time around. There are ample examples; first of all Kellan Lutz‘ supposedly arrogant soldier Smilee, weapons geek Mars (boxer Victor Ortiz, who shows nearly nothing regarding hi-tech weaponry), hack expert Krug and Luna (MMA-fighter Ronda Rousey), who is perhaps the best new character of the bunch. The two hour film spends too much time introducing all these newbies, after which they all get captured and the “old blokes” are forced to come to the rescue with the addition of the irritating Galgo, played by Antonio Banderas who brings back some of the craziness from his old days, the likes of which could be seen in his role as expert killer “Miguel” in Richard Donner’s 1995 film “Assassins” which curiously stars Stallone as well.
On the good side, Expendables 3 delivers a couple of good old school action sequences, with the former team doing what they do best. However, due the M-rating for the film the action scenes make less of an impact this time around, as blood is absolutely absent in combat, except for some scratches and bleeding noses.
Harrison Ford, on the other hand, its great as the new old grumpy “government boss” of the Expendables, replacing Bruce Willis‘ Mr. Church, who is out of the franchise due to rumoured personal differences with Stallone. Furthermore, Arnold Schwarzenegger “is back” doing what he does best, shooting everyone from “a choppa” (chopper), in a role that feels shorter than expected for him. Jet Li’s come back is disappointing at best however as he is only on screen for a few minutes and he does not show any of his martial arts skills at all.
Mel Gibson’s cold-blooded arms dealer Stonebanks could have been the best bad guy of the whole saga, and Gibson is clearly at his best in most of his few scenes. However, the character needed more time on screen to make a proper impression, especially in the final hand-to-hand fight against Sly, which only lasted a minute or two at most – such a shame!
Overall, Expendables 3 doesn’t live up to its expectations, yet it still manages to entertain with a couple of silly jokes and some good explosions. However, it’s far from being as good as the previous two films…and seriously, where was Chuck Norris to save the day?!
The Expendables 3 – In Australian cinemas 14 August 2014.