If action is what you’re seeking, then action is what you’ll get with “The Expendables 3.” It jumps in your face right off the bat as Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his crew break their teammate Doc (Wesley Snipes) out of prison and take him on their next assignment facing former Expendable member Stonebacks (Mel Gibson).
After a gun battle that leaves one of their own critically injured, Ross decides to call it quits for the crew. He needs young blood. For the third installment, there’s a new gang introduced who bring technology and new ways to do things, making me think the title should have been: “The Expendables: Millennials.” The recruiting tour is entertaining with Ross traveling with his “recruiter” (Kelsey Grammer). They rustle up a motley crew led by street fighter Smilee (Kellan Lutz) to help take down and seek revenge on Stonebacks.
Although there have been character changes and revolving actors between the three films, every installment brings the best of the best when it action stars from the 80s, who are still having fun on screen even in the their old age, here in the present year. If I’m being honest, when I saw the trailer for the first “Expendables” movie...I thought it was a parody, which I guess, in some ways it kind of is.
The movie shows that aging is better for some (Jason Statham) than others (Arnold Schwarzenegger), but with a cast that includes these two names, not to mention Gibson, Stallone, Snipes, and Harrison Ford, it’s hard not to be intrigued. For those who grew up watching these actors in their prime, the whole movie seems like one big cameo appearance in the greatest action reunion ever.
They allow the movie to poke fun at themselves, their age, their off-screen troubles. A spark also comes from Antonio Banderas’ character: a chatty, eager beaver who’s good with a gun. He brings more of the purposeful comedy that a silly story like this needs. Because there’s nothing believable about the script, of course.
This new crew of kids, though tough and talented, automatically know how to handle warfare weaponry and building to building jumps? There are no broken bones, gashed foreheads or winded old men anywhere to be seen? Even as far as action movies go, that's all a bit far-fetched. But really how much does belief factor matter when you have a cast billing like this? Action is the main event here and for those who are fans of the first two movies will be hungry for more of the same in the third.
The fast pace keeps things moving along before too many questions can even be formed. There’s no doubt about it though, they will have to pass the torch, if they want their legacy to continue. Or, maybe we’ll see the conclusion play out when they all decide to retire. The question is: who can live up to being the next big action hero known solely on a last name basis?