The Expendables 3 Review


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The Expendables 3 Review
The Expendables 3 (2014)
Patrick Hughes
Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson
Release Date:
Age Rating:

The team takes on an arms dealer and former Expendable.

I have problems with The Expendables as a series but I'm here to say some positive things about EX3 - it's not that bad!

Sure there are very old people who can't really action anymore and the cast of 17 featured roles means no one gets much face time but there's a sea change behind the scenes which makes it arguably the most entertaining EX film yet. Basically, they've finally figured out its a comedy.

Comedic elements have always lingered at the edges of the Expendables films, mainly in moments of self-awareness and the oftten awkward banter between the stars. But for the third entry the script basically rips that fourth wall down with nothing sacred while the actors have clearly been given the stage direction to just do whatever the heck they like.

So you've got Wesley Snipes throwing out a joke at his own expense (because prison is hi-larious), Kelsey Grammer using acting to fool Sly Stallone and Mel Gibson trying on crazy like its going out of fashion. But the film is stolen scene after scene by a remarkable turn from Antonio Banderas. His Galgo is that guy who never stops talking and he's ridiculously excited to be working with a crew again. He's over the top, insane and genuinely funny in the way his cast really needs to be.

Elsewhere things aren't quite so much fun, and that's mainly down to the dead weight of Stallone. He's leaden in the action scenes and stomps on every joke he's given with the kind of delivery of a mashed potato. Without his need to be in almost every scene and attempt to crack wise, this series has half a chance of actually becoming mildly entertaining.

Sadly the young folks don't fare much better (MMA lass Rousey drops one clanger after the next) but new director Patrick Hughes does what he can behind the camer. The young Aussie - who previously helmed the decent Red Hill - throws a good amount of action on screen, with many live action elements. An early car chase is pacy and showcases plenty of destruction and he wisely focusses on Mel Gibson's crazyness to bring some intensity to later dramatic elements.

As for the PG-13 rating, it doesn't feel like a major issue. The series has never really focussed on the gore as much as I'd like (I'm a monster) so we get offscreen stabbings and some anemic squibs. And the script might actually be improved by the lack of overzealous f-bombing all the time.

This all sounds fairly positive but The Expendables 3 is still a lazy production in many ways, with cheap CG, apalling stock footage and the kind of dialogue which is more cringy than funny. Though I did laugh my ass off when Mel Gibson uttered the words: "I'll open your meatshirt and show you your own heart." What? Really?!

Some decent action and a smattering of more likeable characters make this the best Expendables movie yet but its still a long way from being a movie worth recommending.

5 Stars
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