2014 / Director. Patrick Hughes.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
When you ask for a whiskey straight-up but the bartender gives you whiskey & coke, that's exactly what THE EXPENDABLES 3 is like (with a shit load of ice to water it down). It's enjoyable but not what you wanted. Lets call it THE EXPENDABLES: LITE. The first movie proposed a gimmick and asked for our approval. The second movie took that approval and gave us a balls-to-the-wall action movie full of grunt. And now the third instalment has dumbed things down and played it safe. In trying to appeal to a wider audience the studio have removed ALL of the grit and left us with a standard run of the mill action movie that is mediocre enough to be mistaken for a direct-to-video release. There's scarcely any blood, too many terrible CGI FX and some of the worst green-screen shots I've seen in ages. Stallone, Statham, Lundgren, and Coulter are wasted talent. Despite being the central characters, their whole dynamic is gone. Nothing gels with them anymore and it feels as though they are strangers who had never previously fought alongside each other. This is problematic to the overriding theme of camaraderie. Another mistake was to bring a whole new crew of younger members in a misguided attempt to pitch the movie at a younger audience. Fuck that. The whole EXPENDABLES gist is that it throws back to the 80s and revives forgotten stars. It's an action series for older generations, not tweens. Other new additions to the team include Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Kelsey Grammer. Snipes fits in nicely, although his introduction is atrocious (in a horrible opening sequence) and the self-referential gags are lame. Banderas doesn't fit in at all and his jester-like comic relief drags the movie down to subterranean levels. He's shocking. Grammer is good, although unnecessary and doesn't bring much to the table. In an attempt to keep packing in the stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger pops up again to deliver a hammy performance and Jet Li appears from out of nowhere for no more than 15 minutes of screen time. Oh and then there's Harrison Ford replacing Bruce Willis. Ford has never looked so bored in his life. He is not the action hero he once was and his on-screen time is comprised entirely of cheesy one-liners and extreme close-up action shots -- HOWEVER -- Despite all that is bad about THE EXPENDABLES 3 the one thing that keeps it fun is Mel Gibson. I love Mel and it's SO GOOD to see him in a big movie again. He relishes his villainous role and delivers a genuinely awesome performance. I love his screen presence and it's wonderful to have him back. This is a very bad movie that just so happens to be fun. It took me about 40 minutes to accept that they've missed the mark and when I let my annoyance subside I still managed to have a good time. I laughed at it's awfulness and shook my head all the way to the end (my neck hurt during the final action scene). Arnie even says "get to the chopper" (TWICE). Oh dear. Haha. And at 125 minutes, it is WAY TOO FUCKING LONG!