What seemed to be a one-trick pony and/or a parody to many turns out to be profitable for Sylvester Stallone, who went back to basics since his lean, mean, hungry days before scoring a knockout as underdog boxing champion Rocky Balboa. If Hollywood wasn't going to give Sly a role, he was going to make one not only for himself, but also for his fellow tough guys.
Since the summer of 2010, The Expendables franchise has been a throwback, a comeback, and a homage for Sly, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis as Hollywood's mightiest action heroes who've ruled the box office back in the 1980s and early 1990s: the era of Rocky, Rambo, Conan, The Terminator and Die Hard with Sly, Arnie, and Bruce as the trinity of this genre.
Another possible reason this franchise remains successful is may be because The Expendables opened around the same time as my birthday, and The Expendables 3 is no exception, for it was released exactly on August 15.
Well, there's one exception with Expendables 3: Bruce Willis' Church is 'out of the picture' (Bruce wanted more money, and Sly tweeted him as 'greedy' and 'lazy'), so Harrison Ford took his place on 'short notice' as the team's new CIA contact.
As always, the action never stops, as the film starts with Barney Ross and his team engineering a helicopter rescue to break Wesley Snipes' Doctor Death (his character is good with a blade, you see, for Snipes played a half-human, half-vampire slayer named Blade in three movies) out of prison to join them on their latest mission, which got complicated by the sudden appearance of Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), an embittered arms dealer who founded the Expendables with Ross.
When one of their own gets injured, Ross decides to sever the old team and seeks out new Expendables to hunt down Stonebanks. Easy, right? If you've seen the first two 'Expendables', you know it won't be, as Stonebanks got the upper hand and took the 'kids' hostage, so what does Barney do?
Reload -- and reassemble the original Expendables.
It may be the 'last ride' for Sly and his middle-aged crew, for The Expendables 3 is written as a potential spin-off to keep the franchise going with these sexy, fresh recruits. The magic is still there -- especially with Antonio Banderas stealing the scene as the film's (unintentionally) comic relief.
Though Marvel's Iron Man, Captain America, and The Avengers have been taking over the summer box office in the last several years, don't let the name 'Expendables' fooled you, for these guys proved that no matter how old you are, you don't have to have superpowers or a suit of armor to be an hero.