When the first Expendables was announced, the premise was totally cool: combine a slew of aging action stars into one fun ’80s-esque movie filled with swearing, violence, guns and explosions – but that idea was better than the execution of it. Instead, the first Expendables was boring and dry, the writing was wretched and seemingly unintentionally so. The second Expendables wasn’t screened for press, so I never saw it. But The Expendables 3 has been deemed worthy enough by its studio (Lionsgate) for press and promo screenings – and with reason: it’s actually pretty fun.
The title of the series and knowing that it’s an action movie says enough that you don’t have to know the previous two installments whatsoever in order to watch the third. There’s never reference to any events in the first two movies, so you’re fine to hop aboard the franchise at this point. It was probably planned this way because they knew the PG-13 rating would open up the audience to a younger demographic that’s not old enough (technically) to watch the R-rated first two Expendables.
The Expendables 3 opens with a fun sequence that introduces its aged cast to another aging former action star – Wesley Snipes. (Please note that when I call the movie “fun,” I’m referring to its intentionally absurd level of entertainment.) After freeing Snipes from a mobile prison unit – which probably hit a little to close to home for the Blade actor – the gang immediately heads to their first paid dirty job in the movie. When they attempt to thwart the sale of a world renowned arms dealer’s weapons of mass destruction, they realize that the most dangerous villain they’ve ever faced is the mastermind behind this new operation. I’ll tell you that the villain is played by Mel Gibson, but I won’t tell you his past – although you’ll easily guess it during his first scene.
There isn’t much of a plot to The Expendables 3. Knowing that they’re up against a hard-to-kill villain, the leader of the pack (Sylvester Stallone) lays off his crew (Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Coture and Snipes) out of the fear that it might turn into a suicide mission. Instead of putting his geezer friends’ lives at risk, he goes to Kelsey Grammar for help in recruiting new, young, tech-saavy candidates – all of which are played by pretty much no-names in the action and acting world. After 45 minutes of movie, we finally get to a point where Sly and his young company go after Gibson – but you’d be crazy to think that the other older cast members weren’t coming back.
As dumb as The Expendables 3 is, it’s a pretty entertaining action movie. It knows exactly what it wants to be and gives 110 percent in effort. I had a great time watching The Expendables 3, although I’m not likely to watch it again for a very, very long time.
(Photo credit: Lionsgate)