The Expendables 3 Review


Fire up your pacemakers, it’s time for the Antiques Roadshow with explosions! Stallone and the gang are back and this time they’ve crammed in even more ex-star cameos. Because, more equals better. Right? Just ask Michael Bay! Seriously though, those cheesy one liners may have gone down swimmingly in the 80′s, but they just don’t cut it any more. At least back then they had a somewhat tongue-in-cheek quality and were easily laughed off, but in this film the bad dialogue falls flat and the repeated personal high-fiving feels way too forced. Case in point: Not only does Wesley Snipes make a few bad jokes about not paying his taxes, but in the opening scene of the film The Expenda-Ballies actually break him out of prison.

The Expendables 3

The Plot

Barney (Stallone) is on a talent search for new blood in The Expendables’ most personal battle yet. Their mission: to take down Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates. The film is a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise.

The Target

 Fans of the previous films and eTV action movies.

The Bottom Line

When the first Expendables was announced, it was supposed to be a throwback to the early years of action cinema – gratuitous violence, one liners and major carnage. What we got were tired cliches, bad dialogue and uninspired everything. The biggest problem with this franchise is that for all the star power assembled, there is still little enjoyment to be had in watching their escapades. Even Jet Li is reduced to little more than a poorly choreographed frying pan fighter in the first film and this time around all he gets to do is stand around and fire off a couple of machine gun rounds.

The Expendables 3

Antonio Banderas is basically the real life Puss in Boots and Jason Statham feels more like a set prop than a bad-ass action hero. The entrance of Wesley Snipes was supposed to be one of the big ticket sellers here, but his character ‘Doctor Death’ is beyond uninteresting and also boasts a thoroughly disengaging back-story. In fact, all of the film’s characters are given nothing remotely interesting to say or do for its entire 2-hours-too-long running time. I never thought I’d say this about any recent movie, but Mel Gibson is definitely the high point in this picture. He seems to be having fun playing the villain nowadays and it shows. There isn’t even a glimmer of the Martin Riggs from his Lethal Weapon heydays in his performance here, which is superior to that of Van Damme’s and Eric Roberts’ turn as the franchises antagonists.

This is also the first film in the series to have a PG-13 rating, which means they’ve toned down on the cussing and CGI blood squirting. The most baffling thing about this film though is the fact that it is credited to three writers. I’m sure if I handed some crayons to a toddler they would have been able to come up with something a lot more entertaining than this. Is the Writers Strike still on? 

By the time the film reaches it’s inevitable climactic battle of tanks, speeding motorcycles and kamikaze helicopters, you’ll be very surprised by just how little of a shit you actually give about The Expendables 3. My verdict – wait for the eTV premiere and change the channel.

  • Stephen Metcalfe

    Agreed. I too reached the end of this film feeling thoroughly underwhelmed.