The Expendables 3 (2014)
Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzennegger, Harrison Ford, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li
So this is the third film in a franchise which up to this point had been going strong, unfortunately, thanks to piracy, this third outing lost a lot of millions at the box office because who’s going to see a movie that’s been out on dvd for weeks before it’s hit theaters right? Sadly this was the case with The Expendables 3, piracy killed its chances at the box office, a similar thing happened with X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), everyone had already seen it by the time it hit theaters. But to be honest, you weren’t going to be missing much if you’d gone to see The Expendables 3 in theaters. This movie might have its fun moments, but it’s also the worst in the series. I had fun with some of the inside jokes, but overall, it felt very uneven, like they were just going through the motions. Stallone, Arnold, et al all seem bored by the whole thing. In my opinion, it felt as if they weren’t even trying to do a good movie. Yes my friends, we’re talking about a potential “franchise killer” here; we talking about the movie that kills the franchise’s chances to continue. What exactly went wrong here? A lot of things! If you want to know more, read on my friends!
This time around the Expendables are after an international arms dealer called Stone Banks, played by Mel Gibson. I’m not even going to try and go into story because there isn’t any; it’s all filler between action scenes. By this I mean that they try and give the movie some “drama” but it comes off as forced and clichéd, as if they were giving these characters fake problems simply to fill the movie with running time, it doesn’t feel genuine. But then again, melodrama isn’t something I’m looking for in these types of films, they should’ve just kept the action going, because when these guys try and get melodramatic, it just doesn’t work. So anyhow, at most, what the filler surmounts to is Stallone getting rid of the old guys and gathering a new team to help him catch an old enemy. That’s about it. And here’s the big problem with the movie for me, we came to see The Expendables because we want to see our favorite action stars from the 80’s and 90’s doing what they do best, blowing shit up. I wanted to see more of Wesley Snipes, I wanted more of Arnold and Stallone, I wanted more of everybody! Hell, Jet Li doesn’t even fight in this movie! What a joke, why even bother bringing him in if he’s going to do next to nothing in the film?
Unfortunately, on this entry they decided to get rid of the old guys we came to see and replaced them for a huge chunk of the movie with a new, younger team. Now I normally wouldn’t have a problem with it, but the guys they chose say nothing to me. They needed to bring in the new wave of action stars. I would’ve included The Rock in there, I would’ve included I don’t know, somebody who represents today’s action stars. Which brings to mind a question: just who are the action heroes of today? Truth is there are not many, which is probably why they brought in all these guys nobody’s ever heard of. Kind of like what they want to do with the new Ghostbusters film. The plan with the new Ghostbusters film is to bring in a new batch of Ghostbusters for the new generation, and that’s fine and dandy, go ahead and do it, but you know they better bring in some funny guys to replace the originals, or else it’s just not gonna work! Same principal applies with these new Expendables they brought in for this new movie, Sadly, these new guys…well, they just don’t do it for me. Save for Antonio Banderas who steals the show in my book. He was the only saving grace in the film.
What else went wrong, well, they toned down the violence. What the hell where they thinking? I mean, these films are supposed to be a homage to the violent, blood drenched films of the 80’s and suddenly you’re anything but that. Suddenly you’re all about CGI helicopters and CGI explosions? I want to feel the heat in my freaking face! I want explosions like the ones I used to see in films like Action Jackson (1988)! Where you could practically smell the napalm! But no, sadly, I felt detachment. So much of this film is computer generated you won’t feel like your right there in the action. They should have kept the action real and in your face, because that’s what us old action fans crave, that’s what we miss. We want the adrenaline rush of seeing Stallone fight against real freaking helicopters, like the ones we saw in Rambo III (1988). Remember that one? Rambo goes up against freaking choppers on that one! Where’s that type of action? Sad part is that Stallone, who starred in so many of these awesome action films of the 80’s (like Cobra for example) should’ve know better. He should know what we want to see and feel in an action movie that’s supposed to be paying homage to a bygone era of action films. Sadly, The Expendables 3 turned into just another detached, modern action film, which means, its crap. Modern action films simply don’t compare to the glory days of action films from the 80’s. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch The Expendables 3, then follow it by watching Cobra (1986), or Lethal Weapon (1987), you’ll feel a shift in tone immediately. From bullshit to, shit just got real.
"Come on Arnie, let's get this thing over with, the quicker the better.."
So yeah, shame on Stallone for not getting this one right because out of all the people out there, he should’ve known better. He freaking lived through the eighties and was one of the prime representatives of what action films, real action films, were all about. My advice next time would be to get a decent director who understands what these movies are supposed to be about and not some rookie who’s only done one other obscure film. News flash Italian Stallion: the guy behind the camera matters! Also, give us what we want, we want to see our favorite action stars from the 80’s during the entire film, we don’t want to see them for twenty minutes in the opening and twenty minutes in the ending of the film, we want to see an entire film with these guys. And if you’re going to put in new members, at least make them matter! Don’t give us wannabe action stars, give us actual ones. As it is, The Expendables 3 was a slap in the face to its target audience; it’s the complete opposite of what it should have been. You might have a laugh or two; mainly when you hear Arnold scream “Get to the Choppa!”, but for the most part this Expendables film is actually extremely expendable. Next!
Rating: 2 out of 5