When Sylvester Stallone gets involved in the writing of a movie screenplay, it usually ends up being a hit, followed by several equally successful sequels. Like Rambo: First Blood and Rocky, The Expendables is heading down the path of having the audience wonder if each new addition will be the last.
Like the first two installments, Expendables 3 stars one of the most unbelievable line-ups of action movies superstars you will ever see in one place. Returning cast members include: Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross, leader of the Expendables; Jason Statham as Lee Christmas, a knife expert; Jet Li as Yin Yang, a hand-to-hand combat expert and former Expendable; Dolph Lundgren as Gunner Jensen, a volatile member of the team; Randy Couture as Toll Road, the team’s demolition expert; Terry Crews as Hale Caesar, The Expendables’ barrel-weapons specialist, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Trench Mauser, Barney’s former teammate and sometimes rival.
Newcomers to the Expendables franchise include: Kellan Lutz (Twilight, Immortals, Hercules) as John Smilee: A former Navy Seal recruited to the Expendables; Ronda Rousey (UFC Champion) as Luna: An athletic nightclub bouncer recruited by Bonaparte; Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises) as Thorn: a highly trained combat veteran and hacker; Victor Ortiz (former WBC Welterweight Boxing Champion) as Mars: A sharpshooter and lethal soldier, who is afraid of heights; Robert Davi (a Hollywood legend who has performed in over 130 movies) as Goran Vata: The head of the Albanian mafia; Kelsey Grammer (X-Men, Transformers – Age of Extinction) as Bonaparte: A retired mercenary and ally of the Expendables; the ever young and amazingly super fit Wesley Snipes (Blade, Brooklyn’s Finest and a stack of other movies) as Doctor Death: A former medic, and one of the original Expendables (his first decent role since being released from prison in 2013); Mel Gibson as Conrad Stonebanks: A rogue co-founder of the Expendables and a ruthless arms dealer; Antonio Banderas as Galgo: a former member of the Spanish Armed Forces, Bosnian war veteran, and expert sharpshooter; and a very old Harrison Ford as Max Drummer: A CIA field operations officer and pilot who manages the Expendables.
The movie starts with the Expendables breaking former Expendables member Doctor Death (Snipes) out of a military prison to recruit him to help them carry out a mission in Somalia. The extraction goes well and ends with several deaths and explosions and of course, the Expendables flying off into the sunset to start their mission. A perfect way to start the third installment. Their mission: to intercept a shipment of bombs being delivered to a warlord in Somalia. At the drop point, Ross (Stallone) is surprised to see that the arms dealer is Expendables co-founder Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson). Believed dead (killed by Ross), Stonebanks had betrayed the team some time ago to profit from illegal weapons dealing. During the ensuing mini war, Caesar (Crews) is seriously injured as Stonebanks escapes.
Returning home, Ross accepts a request by Max Drummer (Ford) to capture Stonebanks. Feeling guilty of being responsible of the near death of Caesar, Ross decides to recruit a new team of Expendables with the help of Bonaparte (Grammer). And so starts the introduction of a new generation of Expendables to compliment the legends we have seen star in hundreds of action movies since the 70’s. This opens the door to so many possibilities in future Expendables movies of which I’m sure, there will be a few more.
Expendables 3 is not as gory as the first two movies. Sure, there is a huge amount of gun fire, explosions, vehicles crashing and fighting going on, but a noticeable lack of limbs being severed, heads exploding and bucket loads of blood splattering the battle scene. Maybe this is due to the movie being directed by Patrick Hughes who’s movies are a little ‘tamer’ than Stallone’s and West’s who directed the first two Expendables. Golden moments are frequent by way of casual ‘one-liners’ from each action superstar thrown in as a reminder of a character they played in one of their other movies. I wouldn’t list any of The Expendables movies in my top ten best movies of all time, but for an action movie tragic, Expendables 3 was entertaining enough to watch if not just to see the banter between the action movie giants.
The Movie Lad rates this: A big fat cigar (like Sly’s).