“You were stupid enough to get yourself into this mess! And we’re the only ones crazy enough to get you out of it!“
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After two bursting films in three years (kicking off in 2010), Sylvester Stallone never ceases assembling his geri-action comrades from old-fangled action films to kick some arses in The Expendables. This year, that titular mercenaries returns with new recruits and vigorously bigger ambition—but the same ol’ formula to gain millions of dollar with explosions, muscles, and “elderlies.” Yet, what can a group of “expendables” in their 50s or 60s do? Simple answer: trying to retire entirely from action cinema.
The good ol’ thrill comes along Sly’s Barney Ross and his team (Statham, Arnie, Dolph, Randy, Crews, etc) for both rescuing Snipes’ Doc as well as confronting a vicious arm dealer and former Expendable, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). When vicious Stonebanks fatally wounds his former Expendable-mate, Ross retiring his team for protection. He then swarms across countries to seek for new recruits (Ronda Rousey, Kellan Lutz, Victor Ortiz, Glen Powell) with assistance of Max Drummer (Harrison Ford), Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer), Galgo (Antonio Banderas), whose dried jokes fail to impress. With a new team packed up with Rousey’s only girl member, Expendables aims to score.
If there’s anything wrong with Expendables 3, it’s obviously the repetitions of their winning formula (that works with Expendables 2) combined with the PG-13 rating. What to expect from an ensemble of actioners with highest body counts in film history is, obviously, how they add their body counts with ruthless execution and overkill; however, director Patrick Hughes (Red Hill, and the upcoming Raid remake) cuts all the gory satisfaction off the screen. Consequently, Expendables feels too stiff to entertain with both action and one-liner joke, although some bigger action set-pieces have potentials to impress. The result is fair: Expendables 3 gains PG-13 rating, but loses fans’ hype.
Even though, I’ve never been quite impressed by this geri-action franchise, the titular ensemble of the second installment is much better than it is in Expendables 3. Although the casts are not as big as Expendables 2, it’s quite apparent that this cast is too big to handle as it goes with no balance (Snipes is only keen at the beginning and Li’s nothing at all). In the end, those flabby abs and soggy muscles shout as it needs to rest, if not for a while, then it might be forever.
The testosterone game really needs a clean slate—the old formula doesn’t work anymore. With PG-13 rating and all, it’s clearly seen that those rattletrap actioners are not into the stunt anymore. An early thought of retiring from action films is possibly the best way to save this franchise from getting too obsolete.
The Expendables 3
Action Running Time: 126 mins Directed by: Patrick Hughes Written by: Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenbergen, Katrin Benedikt Starred by: Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Terry Crews, Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz, Glen Powell