Movie Review: The Expendables III
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Harrison Ford, Terry Crews, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Randy Couture, Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kellan Lutz, Rhonda Rousey, Victor Ortiz, Glen Powell
Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language, Running time 126 minutes, Action/Adventure
Compare to: The Expendables (2010), The Expendables 2 (2012)
There’s one thing we can all agree before we get to anything else with this movie: If you liked the first two, there’s nothing about The Expendables III that you should find dissatisfying.
Now that that disclaimer is out of the way, we can get to the point and say that this movie is as simplistic and inane as it gets past the glorified cameos we’re calling a cast. From Guardians of the Galaxy set in the furthest reaches of the universe, to the slightly less fun streets of New York in TMNT…to this dreck in Somalia and some war-torn country I’m pretty sure was made up but can’t remember the name, it seems the less fun the location, the less fun the movie.
In this third installment to the Expendables films, Barney Ross and his team of mercenary veterans return to confront Conrad Stonebanks; a founding Expendable and traitor to his former principles who will sell any weapon to anyone for any price, as long as it’s high enough. Gearing up for one more mission that should be paying more than it is, The Expendables are in for the mission of their lives.
As fun as it is to see familiar faces whose glory days in film are behind them, it seems Stallone and co. don’t think the movie still needs to be good. Sorry, but just showing up isn’t enough. I’ve reread my review of the second film and I was definitely keeping in mind that just about anybody that chooses to watch these won’t be disappointed. But if you’ve wanted anything more than what you saw in the first film, you’ll be as miserable as I’ve been. I’m keeping that in mind for this also.
Explosions, shootouts, cameos pretending to be roles, and about eleven conversations with Stallone’s character about his “rough life” and being hardcore and being alone, blah blah blah…repeat.
I understand that with names like Conrad Stonebanks and Hale Caesar and Lee Christmas, this is meant to be more of a throwback to the wonderful days of the 80s and 90s when plot came second to the oiled-up musclebound heroes that dominated the screen. But if the point is to say “Yeah, we’re still around and we’ve still got it,” shouldn’t we actually be shown that? The script is written in a way that forces the plot along begrudgingly because all the characters are meant to be so awesome that there’s the problem of allowing the bad guy to get the upper hand just so there can be some form of tension…but that can’t last long because look! An awesome cameo!
The one bright light in this cavalcade of dim bulbs is Gibson’s performance of Stonebanks. His few scenes as the villain are the only moments that make you feel like there’s actually history to these characters. The psycho arms dealer is the only one that knows the kind of movie he’s in and plays up to that rather than holding back like it seems everyone else is doing; playing it safe to make it to the sequel.
Positives: Gibson’s character is interesting and gleefully evil, the new faces of Banderas, Snipes, and Grammer are good choices and played well in their short screen time.
Negatives: Shootouts and fist fights are boring with wave after wave of nameless soldiers dying but nothing particularly interesting actually happening. New faces of Powell, Rousey, Ortiz and Lutz are nothing special as characters. Overly simple dialogue, story, ideas, etc.
Sidenote: Where is Danny Trejo?!