Predictable ‘Expendables’

by Eric Melin on August 15, 2014

in Reviews,Video Reviews

This movie review of The Expendables 3 appears on Lawrence.com. Video review from KCTV5 This Morning.

[Minor Rock Fist Down]

Every single moment of The Expendables 3 is entirely familiar.

Its about as middling an action movie you can get, despite the fact that it stars Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mel Gibson—three former A–listers of the genre.

Of course, these former heavyweights are all brought together for approximately 15 minutes of screen time each by Sylvester Stallone; he of the frozen, expressionless face. It’s the third movie in the all-star “old dogs” action series, one that has already included actors like Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

The lazy screenplay, co-written by Stallone, has the ex-elite military team-turned mercenaries tracking down one of their own, and it runs through just about every action cliché in the book.

It opens with the obligatory rescue scene, where the Expendables break out knife-wielding badass Wesley Snipes from a moving train as he’s being transferred to another high-security prison. It features the standard montage where Stallone gathers new recruits in exotic locales as Kelsey Grammer narrates their skills—and the pair comes upon each recruit just as they’re about to illustrate said skills. And it has scene after scene of the Expendables walking away from huge explosions (or just escaping them) without looking back.

The action sequences are mostly uninspired messes with a lot of random shooting and bad guys biting the dust left and right. Since this is the first PG-13 film in the series, there’s no blood of course. But not all the tenets of Stallone’s heyday are respected. Perhaps to keep the budget below $100 million, there’s also an over-reliance on CGI. Can’t we just blow up a helicopter like the old days anymore? Do we have to replace it with half-rendered computer effects? Rambo would not be proud.

The dialogue fits into one of three categories: It’s either jokes about being old, simplified exposition, or unearned moments where characters talk wistfully of fallen comrades and brotherhood. If there’s one saving grace of The Expendables 3, it’s that some of the jokes, delivered by these very familiar faces, are mostly good-natured and less often, funny.

Arnie and Snipes get self-referential lines, Mel Gibson is hammy as hell, and Antonio Banderas occasionally livens things up—even if he is basically doing a low-rent, live-action version of Puss in Boots.

There are no surprises to be found here. The Expendables 3 is exactly what you’d think it is—a disappointing mish-mash of a throwback, trading in on its star power, with its eye safely fixed on producing more sequels.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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