Take a Drink:for every new character shoehorned into the franchise
Take a Drink: for every old age joke/wink
Take a Drink: for every cheesy-awesome Antonio Banderas exchange
Take a Drink: for crappy CGI gore
Do a Shot: for Mel Gibson monologues
Do a Shot: when any of the young and new expendables die
By: Jake Turner (Two Beers) –
The Expendables franchise has been that nostalgic action extravaganza that gives me a small piece of the 80’s action films that I grew up with, ranging from Commando to Cobra to The Transporter (even made in 2002, it was old-school). The only way I could give a good grade to The Expendables 3 is if I get memorable characters, a thin as a piece of yarn storyline, and a violent over-the-top ending. Even when it’s PG-13, it was a mindless blast.
A perfect scenario is my beautiful girlfriend treating me to my cinematic action gods battling it out for 2 hours on a 75 foot screen. Friday night, I got my wish.
BEST SCENE OF THE FRANCHISE!!!
Each film in the franchise opens with a slam bang beginning and this was no exception.. Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and The Expendables are on a runaway train to rescue an old friend, Doc Death (Wesley Snipes) from a foreign dictator, however, they also do some nifty tricks with a helicopter and blow away about 20-30 anonymous henchmen. Right away, they have to make a regular drop in Somalia but then someone gets the drop on them and it turns out to be the co-creator of The Expendables, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), leading to Barney ditching his team to find a 21st century version of his team. Yeahhhh, we’ll get to that a little later.
Director Patrick Hughes follows Stallone and Simon West’s technique of well-choreographed action sequences, mixing in cheesy CGI and man-made action nicely. When the bullets fall, body count increases and explosions become rampant. It’s where the film hits its peak.
Watered down action? You try that jump out. I dare you!
Stallone brings his tough guy exterior and ripped up bod with his charisma intact as usual, and it’s always good to see Jason Statham, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren still around to take down targets as they drop bad one-liners with ease like a lost script of Tango & Cash. Joining the team is Antonio Banderas’ hysterical but ass-kicking Galgo who gets the majority of laughs with his ability to never stop talking. Replacing greedy Bruce Willis is a more capable Harrison Ford as CIA analyst Max Drummer (a little riff on Jack Ryan) who lands one-liners and also shows a sense of fun from Ford who later says, “It’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time.” Of course, the master of action brings his cigar-chewing charisma, as Arnold Schwarzenegger uses some of his famous one-liners and sports his .50 cal. The scene-stealer, though, was Gibson. He plays Stonebanks as an over-the-top suave psychopath. Seriously, when you see the inevitable scene between Gibson and Stallone, he will have your eyes glued to the screen. It just shows truly good he is as an actor. I can’t name one film where he gave a bad performance, not even Bird on a Wire, ugh bad memories.
Cheers to the Gods of Action!
Just like the films I named before, there are always flaws. It just depends on if the strengths outweigh the flaws, and here the issue was when Barney goes recruiting. He meets up with Bonaparte (a gamed Kelsey Grammer) introducing us to Thorn (Glen Powell), a computer genius and a freeclimber. Yes, I said that right. Next is Mars (Victor Ortiz), then Luna (Ronda Rousey), who kicks a ton of ass but was probably the best “actor” out of this group, and then along came the uncharismatic Kellan Lutz whose physique outweighs his acting daily. Trust me, I saw him as Hercules earlier this year. Lutz brings nothing to the table no matter how many stunts he does or his effort at leadership, you don’t buy it and thank goodness all four of them are captured, which gets back to the formula of the first two films.
Greek mythology at its hackneyed worst!
After Stonebanks plants his own revenge back on Ross… near the 90 minute mark Hughes uses the kitchen sink philosophy and dumps every aspect of action, weaponry, stunts, and fight sequences that you can think of. As I walked out of the theater, my mind was literally blown and I even forgave it for the lack of blood and cursing. As I say farewell to my cinematic action gods, I leave with this. You will never, I mean never have this batch of action heroes again. The only one I can think of to rival them is Jason Bourne, excluding superheroes.
The Expendables III continues to show why guys like Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Ford and Gibson knew how to fill the theater seats in the 80’s and 90’s with charisma and a sense of joy. It’s well-choreographed and has imaginative action sequences even with it being 20 minutes too long. This is indeed the right kind of farewell for action fans who grew up with Terminator, Indiana Jones, and Braveheart. Ignore the critics and see it for yourself.