As Title Implies, ‘The Expendables 3’ Totally Expendable

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CHICAGO – The old man as macho action hero trend has finally calcified. If you haven’t seen either of the two previous “Expendables” pictures – this is definitely not the place to start. Sylvester Stallone’s creaky franchise hits rock bottom with this shoddy looking, poorly paced, indifferently acted and overlong exercise in excess on the cheap. It supposedly cost $90 million dollars to make, but what’s onscreen looks like it should have gone direct to video. Some explosions look like they were created with an iPhone.

The poster promises a Cannon Films era wish list of stars – including new additions Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, and Harrison Ford – in an old school action picture where the body count goes sky high and the bullets never stop flying. But the finished film bears perhaps too many resemblances to the shoddy looking action pictures of the era – it’s an action picture without any competently staged action.

The Expendables 3
Class Picture in ‘The Expendables 3’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Stallone and company’s verbal sparring lands slightly more often. When they’re just a bunch of old action stars trading quips and ribbing each other it can be amusing, in a meat-headed kind of way. The script tacks on even more nostalgia by working in some of Sly and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best known lines back into this script. But Sly spends a surprising amount of time waxing poetic about how they’re all too old for this shit. You’d think he would have learned this at this point in his career, but no one goes to a movie to watch Sly Stallone wax poetic.

He then cuts the old team loose and hooks up with Kelsey Grammer to assemble a new team of younger Expendables (Kellan Lutz, Boxer Victor Ortiz, and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey) on a mission to take out arch enemy Mel Gibson.

Director Patrick Hughes chops every fight scene into a nearly incoherent mess like a third-rate Michael Bay, and he apparently never met a green screen he didn’t like. Although the onscreen credits insist Stallone and company are jetting across continents in their mission which ends in a republic called “Asmenistan” (always pronounced ASS-menistan) the film makes no real attempt to disguise that it’s pretty much all shot in Bulgaria.

Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson Takes Aim in ‘The Expendables 3’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Mel Gibson and Antonio Banderas save the film from being a total disaster. Banderas steals every scene he’s in as a motormouthed Expendables wannabe who begs his way onto the team. While Gibson offers a master class in villainy in a delightfully deranged performance. He’s a former co-founder of the Expendables named Conrad Stonebanks (how’s that for a moniker?), who turned to a life of crime as a renegade arms dealer. He’s a joy to watch, and gets some of the movie’s best lines.

At one point while lamenting his own team’s gross incompetence and poor marksmanship Gibson exclaims “how hard it is to kill ten men? Couldn’t you at least wound a couple of them?” If eventually there’s a “The Expendables: All-Star Edition,” I’d like to see Banderas and Gibson again with a decent director in the chair. As for this movie, it’s completely expendable.

“The Expendables 3” opens everywhere on August 15th. Featuring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderis, Mel Gibson, Terry Crews, Victor Ortiz, Kelsey Grammer and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Screenplay by Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt. Directed by Patrick Hughes. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters

By SPIKE WALTERS
Contributor
HollywoodChicago.com
spike@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2014 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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