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Monday, August 25, 2014

Movie Review - The Expendables 3

The Expendables 3  $ 1/2

126 Minutes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, and many, many more.
Director: Patrick Hughes. 

            The third movie in the Expendables franchise has returned to its roots, which in this case is unfortunate. The Expendables 2 had the insight to not take itself too seriously and the cheesy action worked in that setting. However, The Expendables 3 makes the mistake of thinking that this is anything more than a gimmick that places as many of the action-hero icons into a single movie as they can possibly fit.
            As far as story goes, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) breaks out a member of the Expendables team that none of us knew existed – Doc (Wesley Snipes). Then he announces that he is retiring the team because he can no longer take responsibility for the loss of mercenary lives in an insanely dangerous business. Okay, he doesn’t actually say that, I just put the situation in context.
            But—and there’s always a but—another assignment comes up; one that Barney can’t refuse. It seems that ex-Expendable Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) is not only not dead but back to doing horrible things, which in this case means he’s selling arms to the bad guys. Barney puts together a new and younger team to take out the much dreaded Stonebanks.

            Here is how I ranked the film: 

            1. Fun – This is one of those cases where I sat in the theater and wished the movie would end—soon. The plot, if you can call it that, was predictable and unoriginal. Because the film decide to take itself seriously this time the action scenes were just beyond the scope of anything even remotely believable. And frankly, a smorgasbord of minion killing gets boring after awhile.
            The Expendables 3 gets Half a MB for fun, for a few scenes that were fun.

            2. Story – What story? A huge percentage of the movie is dedicated to one scene right after another that depicts some armed, generic bad guys getting killed by the various members of the team. I suppose that someone deserves credit for coming up with so many ways to kill the bad guys. You know, fall on the table and shoot them, crawl under the table and shoot them, flip the table over and shoot through it to shoot them. Variety. There just wasn’t anything original about the story and it has been done so much better elsewhere. It felt like the writer just patched together a script based on all the other action movies that are out there and depended on the all-star cast to make it work.  
            The Expendables 3  gets Zero MB for story.

            3. Technical – The special effects team does a great job of blowing stuff up and making nameless thugs die. Lots of explosions. Lots of guns being fired. They get an A+ in that department. But part of the Technical rating is based on the efforts of the Director. The fact that the second film in the franchise grabbed my attention shows that how the material is handled can make all the difference between entertainment and fodder for ridicule at the workplace water fountain the next day.  
The Expendables 3 gets a HALF a MB for industry standard technical effects and the use of enormous amounts of explosives.

            4. Acting – This was a mixed bag. Stallone is Stallone. The problem is that action-heroes are usually not the best actors. When you fill a movie entirely with action-heroes you are not going to get any Oscar nods for their thespian skills. That being said, a few of the performances were entertaining and the only reason the film received a Half a MB for fun. Antonio Banderas easily handed in the best performance of the film. I enjoyed every minute he was on screen. Kelsey Grammer also turned in a good performance. I wouldn’t mind seeing him do another stint as a grubby merc recruiter. And Mel Gibson was fabulous as the villain. Considering all the trouble he got himself into, this could mark a new direction for his career. He makes for an amazing bad guy.
            The Expendables 3 gets Half a MB for acting.

         Add them up and you get a rating of 1 ½ Movie Bucks. I suggest waiting for it as a rental—if you see it at all. And if you do decide to see it you can play the Body Count game. That’s where you count how many evil lackeys are killed by the good guys. I don’t recommend it as a drinking game because you’d be passed out drunk at the end of the first act.

                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.


  1. Those poor nameless thugs. Apparently a lot of people are going to wait for DVD for this. I'm not sure what all those poor washed-up action heroes will do now.

    1. I hadn't thought of that. This does seem to be the half-way house for the aged action heroes. Maybe we can hold a telethon for them.