The Only Review of The Expendables 3 That You’ll Ever Need
I remember when the first Expendables film came out and thinking that this film was literally made for me, I couldn’t believe it. I really loved it, and then when I saw the director’s cut, I knew that I’d just seen the greatest action film of all time. No joke.
I went to the midnight premier of Expendables 2, and unlike the other posers there, I came to represent with my Bloodsport t-shirt, and guarantee I was the only guy there who marked out when he saw Scott Adkins. The second one was fantastic as well. It was less serious than the director’s cut of the original, with a lot more nods to the genre, which I thought was great. I actually felt a great sense of pride & vindication when Jean-Claude started getting great reviews for his performance in the film. 25 years and finally I wasn’t the only one who knew JCVD was a good actor.
Needless to say, I was damn excited for this one, especially when I learned that Stallone wanted to “out raid The Raid”. For those who haven’t seen it, The Raid is a foreign martial arts film about a special-ops team that is caught in a giant building that a crime lord owns, and he pits them against a variety of thugs & arsenals. Another thing I was looking forward to was the inclusion of Mel Gibson, the guy is a damn good actor, and I thought he’d be fantastic as the lead villain. Of course, the film did get a PG-13 rating, which pissed off a lot of people, yours truly included. Were the previous films being number 1 not good enough? Like anyone younger than 17 ever has any problem getting into these kind of films. Anyway, let’s get into it.
The film opens up with Barney and the team [still sans Jet Li] breaking Wesley Snipes out of a prison transport train. It’s a good opening, but honestly, after the fantastic opening of part 2, I was expecting a bit more.
Afterwards the gang is sent on a mission to stop an arms dealer, but when they get there, Barney realizes it’s an old teammate, the very man who he not only thought was dead, but co-founded The Expendables with. They make an attempt to bring him in, but it goes south and one of their own is put in critical condition.
After this, Barney doesn’t want to risk anymore of his team mates getting hurt, so with the help of Kelsey Grammer, he seeks out a new team to hunt down Gibson. Right here is one of the biggest problems with the film. We’re in the 3rd installment, we paid to see The Expendables, not The Expendables Take Their Kids To Work Day. This new team is absolutely nothing special, with the except of Ronda Rousey, none of them stand out, or are worth mentioning. I don’t recognize any of them from anything, making their inclusion that much more pointless. However, as I stated, Rhonda is fantastic. She’s different, she’s charismatic, she’s easy on the eyes, and she’s a legit bad-ass who can act and carry herself on film. She’s a welcome edition to the team, but nuts to the rest. Eventually Antonio Banderas joins up, and he’s a solid fit, bringing a hyper, semi-obnoxious free-runner who also runs his mouth like a motherfucker.
So, the current team fucks up, and the classics have to be called in to rescue them. It all culminates in a giant building, where they fight off soldiers, tanks, and rocket launchers. Arnold shows up, bringing along with him Jet-Li, and Harrison Ford, who was a nice edition. We get a solid brawl between Stallone & Gibson, but I’d be lying if I said it matched up to Stallone vs Stone Cold, or Stallone vs Van Damme. They could have given us a bit more.
What I Dug:
- There was plenty of action, and it was all done well. It was a little light on the martial arts, but other than that no real complaints. We had explosions, gun & knife fights, and car chases.
- Everyone was in fine form, with Snipes being a very welcome edition, and someone I hope we see in the 4th film. Gibson was incredible, giving probably his best performance in 10 years. Kelsey Grammer was a nice touch, and I’d like to see his character again.
- They didn’t use so much genre-referential humor as the second one, which I thought they went a bit too heavy on. The ones they used here were perfect, and tailor made for true fans of the genre.
What I Didn’t:
- The PG-13 rating. We went from Gunner blowing a guy completely in half with a grenade launcher and the team shredding apart one guy with a shit-ton of ammo, to not a single drop of blood. They tried to make up for it with a few “shit”s here and there, and even two “fuck”s, which seems to be the standard now for PG-13 films. I wanted some blood, goddammit!
- The part without the original Expendables. Like I said, we’re at the 3rd film, let’s not experiment. The new team was lackluster and a bore, except Ronda, who kicked ass.
- The shortened opening scene. I was spoiled by the second one, and would have liked to see the guys do more damage in their opening battle.
- Gibson didn’t have an awesome henchmen who you know is gonna have an awesome fight scene later. I mean, he did have a big dude who served as a bodyguard, but it wasn’t anyone recognizable like Stone Cold, or Scott Adkins, and what fight scene they had was pretty damn lackluster compared to the ones from the first two.
- The lack of blood is bullshit.
All in all, The Expendables 3 does live up to the franchise, and I enjoyed the fuck out of it. If you’re a fan of the first two, then I really can’t foresee the problems I mentioned being enough to make you hate the film.
****1/2 Head-Butts out of 5