ByJames Porter, writer at
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James Porter

Movie Review: THE EXPENDABLES 3.

Directed By: Patrick Hughes.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, with Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After discovering that his old ally turned enemy is still alive, Barney Ross goes on the hunt for some new team members to take down his foe once and for all.

The Expendables are back in their biggest movie yet. Ross (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the Expendables go to head to head with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who was one of the original Expendables.

As much fun as they were, the first two Expendables movies are not good. But did this sequel finally deliver?

Unfortunately.....Expendables 3 is not a good movie. It's by far the best out of the three.....but that isn't saying much.

This installment in the muscle bound franchise is directed by Patrick Hughes who has been set to direct the upcoming Raid remake. Perhaps the biggest gripe fans had coming into this film was that its rated PG-13 (12A) instead of R (15). The only real difference is between the age ratings is that we don't get any CGI blood effects or more than one F bomb, which Harrison Ford gets the duty of delivering, but this did not take away from the film at all in my opinion.

The Expendables 3 sees some new faces join the ever growing cast. We have acting superstars like Harrison Ford (Star Wars), Mel Gibson (Signs), Wesley Snipes (Blade) and Antonio Banderas (Zorro) joining the cast but we also get some younger, more fresh faced talent added to the roster, like Kellan Lutz (Twlight), Victor Ortiz (Men In Black 3), Ronda Rousey and Glen Powell (Stuck In Love).

The big gimmick to this franchise is seeing aging action stars fight alongside each other on the big screen, so the addition of younger less experienced actors was a bit odd. They do incorporate these additions into the plot so it made sense in the context of the film, but it took away from The Expendables being The Expendables.

Kellan Lutz and Glen Powell did a fine job in their roles, Victor Ortiz could have used some work but Ronda Rousey was particularly terrible in her role as the only female Expendable. Ronda Rousey is an MMA fighter so she certainly delivers in her action scenes, when she doesn't have to talk. But as soon as she needs to deliver some emotion or dialogue, it wasn't pleasant to watch.

Ford, Gibson, Snipes and Banderas steal the movie in their new roles. Ford takes over Bruce Willis' role from the last two films and even gets in on the action himself. Snipes was a very good addition to the cast, delivering the best joke in the movie was a definite high point. Banderas played an irritating, wacky member of the team that was quite funny and very surprising, and his action scene in the last act was a great scene.His character could have gone either way, either he becomes a redeeming quality or he becomes the Jar Jar Binks of the film, and fortunately for us, it was not the latter. But the real standout here is Mel Gibson. Recently Gibson has had issues with his personal life, that's why we haven't seen him on screen as much in recent memory. But he stole the movie here, and it got me very excited for a Gibson comeback. Every time he was on screen, the movie improved!

My problem with this film is more of a problem with the franchise as a whole, it feels done. We've had the action stars teaming up and shooting people, we've had them interchange one liners with each other in a wink wink sort of way and throughout this film, I was left thinking, "What else can they do?". The first film was very violent, the second film was very self aware and jokey, and they attempt to mix both of those in the third film. So we don't really get enough action until the last act and the one liners are incredibly off putting this time around.

It's obvious the actors have a great time shooting these movies, it is clear throughout each film. But the fact that these once great action heroes are now making fun of themselves and their previous work is honestly quite sad. I feel like if they try to become more self aware in this movies, we're going to have an added 10 minutes to the run time of each actor winking at the camera after a one liner. They are basically just parodying themselves and as a fan of 80's action movies, I felt uncomfortable watching this movie in parts.

We're probably going to get a few more of these movies and it makes me wonder, when are these guys going to realize that this same joke can't last forever. In the first film, there were more than subtle nods to each of the actors films, and there are some here, but when you just have the actor repeat a very famous line from one of their earlier movies in hope of a laugh, it doesn't have the same effect.

Unlike the previous two movies, this movie takes a bit more time with its characters, we learn about the back story of the Expendables and how they disbanded etc. I actually liked a few of the characters in this film, especially the ones played by Snipes and Gibson. There is a scene in this film, set in a truck where Gibson explains why he and Barney fought and it was actually a terrific scene....and it gave me hope that maybe one day, these movies will be good, because if the rest of the movie was like that, I would have been very happy. If these films attempted to be great, we could end up with some really good movies, but making them parodies of action movies is a bad move.

A month ago, The Expendables 3 was available for illegal download online and a lot of people downloaded or streamed it to watch it instead of going to the cinemas to see it. I think this has really hurt the film, in my showing there were about 7 people in a whole theater....and that was in the evening on a Friday. So I so feel quite sorry for the film, it's going to lose a lot of money and it makes me wonder if changing it to a PG-13 really mattered at all. Younger audience members don't seem to have a craving for these movies and if they do, they will have most likely illegally obtained it by now. I know Lionsgate are trying incredibly hard to get every possible download off the net as fast as possible and I hope they do because I like to see movies succeed.

Going into an Expendables movie, you know what you're going to get. Some cool action, cheesy dialogue and a mediocre movie and Expendables 3 is no exception to that. I had a reasonably okay time watching it, I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, I simply endured it. I'm going to give The Expendables 3 a C. Its an entertaining movie, a little too long and distressingly self aware but there is some enjoyment to be had with this film. If you're a fan of 80's action or just cheesy action flicks, I recommend seeing it.

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