Expendables 3 - 126min - PG13
The first two movies of this franchise were red light films, the second one being particularly bad. It was beyond bad. It explored new depth of suckage. You can read my reviews of two it falls into the same category as one. However even a broken clock is right twice a day. This one was their closest attempt at a story beyond campy catchphrases and cheesy references to previous film glory. I give this a Yellow light as a marked improvement but still not high quality.
We open on a mission in progress. Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is freeing fellow Expendable Doc (Wesley Snipes) from imprisonment. Doc was an original Expendable. Apparently once an Expendable you are always an expendable, which means you are not ummm... expendable? They need him to stop the sale of a missile by a arms dealer. So, I guess ex-Expendables are only expendable until they are needed.
The arms dealer is Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) and he and Barney have history. Conrad proves to be too much for the team and our heroes are thwarted. They return to base to lick their wounds where they are met by their new handler Max Drummer (Harrison Ford). Their new boss tells them they screwed up and need to go after Stonebanks.
Barney decides his team needs to retire and calls them all together to let them go. The next section of the film is dedicated to hiring new recruits. With the help of Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer), a retired mercenary, they go looking at potential candidates.
The problem here is we have no investment in the new characters they are the ones who will be going in and failing so the real heroes can come in and save the day. So like clockwork, they fail but Barney survives and plans to go it alone to save the new team. His old team shows up and they work together to free the new guys and work together as a team to complete the mission.
We have the lone hero going in to get the newbies because it was his fault they were captured. The tenacious Galgo (Antonio Banderas) finally talks and talks and talks his way into getting a chance because Barney needs some backup. But as they are about to fly off to save the new crew, the old crew is standing on the runway. They are not going to leave Barney to deal with this on his own.
We now have twice the number of Expendables going up against an Army lead by a madman. A spectacular battle scene ensues which I can't even begin to describe. Suffice it to say this battle, suspension of disbelief in hand, is one of the better fight scenes I have seen in a long time. Well worth the price of renting.
None of these movies ever take themselves seriously. This one is the probably the best at toning down the "Hey Look at us we are still making movies laugh at us" aspect. They depend less on the catch phrases and cutesy interactions and more on trying to tell a story. It's not a great story, but at least they are heading in the right direction.
This film's shortcoming is its attempt to lengthen the franchise with fresh faces and a poor attempt at making this a father and son picture. One of the new recruits is Barney's son. They drive this point home with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer.
The freshness of this story is the fact they don't take time to beat the old tired punch lines and make fun of themselves. This could be the movie which opens this franchise to new generation of action heroes.
One point I noted was the fact Stonebanks as a leader started shooting his own troops who were not performing to his standard. As a leadership tactic that's a good way to get yourself shot in the back of the head. It doesn't play as well in real life as it does on screen. I have no idea why that stood out. Even in a completely unrealistic picture there needs to be some basis in reality.
My final verdict is this is still not a great movie but they are defiantly getting themselves under a better formula and hopefully a new batch of fresh faces could bring this franchise up to a decent film. When you have as much money and time as Mr. Stallone does you can make movies because they are fun to do and care less for the reviews of the press.
If you agree disagree let me know about it drop me a comment or tweet me. I am always up for a good movie conversation.