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Expendables 3 Review: A Lazy, Disconnected Gimmick

Expendables 3


Expendables 3 is the epitome of story selling over story telling. Having a selling point of an ensemble of actions stars from past decades all in one movie to get the cheeks in the seats would be fine if there was a good story or at least an entertaining movie for people to watch, but it becomes a gimmick when audiences get the phoned in turd plop that is Expendables 3. It felt like everyone from the cast to the post production crew phoned in their work. The action scenes are packed with moments that have the potential to be awesome, but they are delivered in such a dull, tired manner that they induce boredom rather than thrills.
The actors all seem like they are merely reading their lines when it’s their turn to speak. People certainly won’t be expecting Oscar caliber performances in this movie, but the actors should at least have a little energy when delivering their lines. Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes’ characters seemed to enjoy each other’s company more in Demolition Man when they played mortal enemies. Wesley Snipes has a story that should be interesting, but it merely serves as a generic first scene in this movie and fizzles. Kelsey Grammer uses the same weird throaty voice he used in Transformers: Age of Extinction, but he’s playing a nicer person. He showed more personality in his brief cameo at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past than he did in Expendables or Transformers combined. Harrison Ford possibly hit a career low here, despite his character saying it was the most fun he’d had in a long time, he seemed just as bored as everyone else. This is the man who was Han Solo and Indiana Jones. He also starred in two of the best action films from the 1990s: The Fugitive and Air Force One. He has game that he didn’t bother to bring to the set. Terry Crews has always been able to blend comedic timing with great action, so has always been fun to watch, just not in this movie. Antonio Banderas was reduced to silly (in an obnoxious way) comic relief to make Stallone look better. Mel Gibson is the baddy, who has a past with Stallone’s character, but it’s all a generic yawn fest. This writer could go on about the entire cast, but the movie isn’t worth that much effort. Well the Governator is in this movie…yep he was much better in True Lies.
There is the quartet of Expendibabies, that show up to be reduced to damsels in distress so the old guys can prove they still have it. Due to any lack of unique personality whatsoever, they are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Well, one of them is a woman and another doesn’t follow orders. Perhaps the actors who played the Expendibabies will one day have great careers. They may just have mountains of talent. After all, plenty of the veteran actors in this movie have shown tremendous or adequate talent in other movies they’ve been in. The acting is this movie is so bland and wooden, Jack Webb may have cast these people in episodes of Dragnet…maybe that’s where Stallone got the idea from-dull down everyone else so his acting doesn’t seem quite so tired. Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellen are slightly older than Stallone and the others in this film and they still have game, but then they are effortlessly awesome and more than just tough guys. This is an ensemble film for the supporting characters are not allowed to shine, so they just become names on a poster. The repeated notion characters in the movie utter that this group is a family is undermined by the utter lack of chemistry in the cast.
It’s not just the acting that is wooden in this movie. The editing, music, and stunts all feel phoned in. The hand to hand combat looks inhibited. The stunts look like students thanks to bad editing. The music is also bad. It’s clearly meant to set a fun, exciting tone, but settles for a weak tone. Perhaps seeing Guardians of the Galaxy knock it out of the park with both the score and the songs makes the music in Expendables 3 that much more insipid. This movie seems to be to actions films what Grown-ups is to comedies: a lazy cash grab. It’s not as mind numbingly stupid is Transformers: Age of Extinction, it’s just boring. There will likely be people defending this saying that it is just meant to be a fun popcorn flick. That’s great when the movie is actually fun. This movie takes itself too seriously to be fun, and doesn’t put enough effort into quality or intensity to be taken seriously. This weekend, movie goers wanting to see a good action movie that is also fun would be better served checking out Guardians of the Galaxy or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes again. Perhaps they could even save money and see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men Days of Future Past, or Edge of Tomorrow in the discount theaters (one last time on the big screen). If this movie is ever on Netflix or TV, this writer won’t watch it because there will always be other options including popping in a DVD or Bluray of something actually worth the time or going outside.