Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
No matter what you think of The Expendables franchise, it’s common knowledge that its genre success is reliant on three things: Retro action heroes acting badass, corny one-liners and things exploding in rapid succession. Remove any one of these aspects and the movie is destined to fail. So, when a quarter of the way through “Expendables 3”, the old guys (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, etc.) are scrapped and replaced by a new group of “Expendables” (Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Ronda Rousey and Kellan Lutz) it’s impossible to think that this installment will not be perceived as some sort of bait and switch to audiences who paid to see old guys shoot guns.
That is not to say the newbie’s aren’t entertaining to watch. In fact, not only were they entertaining to watch, but after the extremely lackluster opening 30 minutes, with one-liners and meandering the caliber of “Grown Ups”, the rest of the script (co-written by Sylvester Stallone) helped these new faces by injecting some entertaining 2nd and 3rd Act plot developments (and characters) into what would have been an otherwise bland narrative.
Why I gave this film a below average rating:
The fact that “Expendables 3” has been relegated to a PG-13 format really has no bearing on this film’s opening box-office failure, since this aspect had no correlation with how shockingly low budget this supposed big budget production looked. Seriously, every time characters were in a moving vehicle or simply standing outside, there was a noticeable black outline between the characters and the green screen background. Also, half of the dialogue looked to be sloppily dubbed in post-production and those “things go boom” moments everybody came to see looked as cheap as something out of a “Sharknado” movie! The fact is, the reason why “The Expendables 3” would be considered by most as a bad movie has nearly everything to do with the savagely underwhelming visuals.
On top of the shocking cheapness of it all, director Patrick Hughes really does a horrific job with every action sequence. I don’t think I’m being too harsh when I say that EVERY SINGLE action sequence was indecipherable; which is only made more disappointing when the buildup to these big moments had me leaning forward in my seat time and time again.
The two things which save “Expendables 3” from being a total dud are:
1) Even throughout the bargain basement/crowdfunded feel of it all, where this film goes during the final hour is undeniably entertaining.
2) The supporting performances from the likes of Antonio Banderas, who steals the show as the rambling, out of work, comic relief, killer for hire, Harrison Ford, who is on-screen only a handful of times, but delivers the best lines of the film and Mel Gibson who properly camps it up, devouring the scenery whole as a the central baddie.
That said, these positive aspects are eventually treated like the jungle in a “Predator” movie and simply obliterated by Hughes’ blatant sloppiness and budgetary choices which may have him relegated to working for the Syfy Channel when all is said and done.
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