After Stallone pulled off what fans had wanted for years with the original Expendables film some figured it was just going to be a one-time thing, but thanks to the success of the film it has launched the ultimate action franchise. With each film they have kept the core team, but continue to bring in new old school blood and it will continue with the latest entry The Expendables 3. All the gang is back including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Jet Li, and Arnold Schwarzenegger along with new additions Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Rhonda Rousey, Kellan Lutz, Victor Ortiz, Glen Powell, and Robert Davi but can it bring more of the same fun action or will it finally be a failed mission?
The Expendables 3 follows Barney and the rest of the team who comes face-to-face with an unexpected enemy, who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. He has subsequently become a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill... or so he thought. Now he is making it his mission to end The Expendables, but Barney has other plans and decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. Obviously to even care about this movie you will have to be a fan of the previous entries on some level. While they were met with mixed results there is no denying that they brought the fun and action like nothing else out there. This latest entry does that and more bringing a bit more story to the mix while pointing out that things have changed. While the whole team is here, there are a couple of the core members that are sidelined for various reasons, but still manage to get their moment to shine. The rest of the cast bring the fun with each of them having a substantial part to play with none really just feeling like a cameo this time around.
As with all of the films each of these action icons poke fun at themselves and while there are still some fun one-liners they are toned down a bit in comparison to the last outing. Everyone in the cast is clearly having a lot of fun and work great in their roles, with Wesley Snipes bringing some fun craziness to his character. He merges into the team as though he has been there from the beginning and has some great insane moment’s early one. The entire opening sequence plays out like a homage to his prison release and even pokes fun at his tax issues. While Snipes is a lot of fun its Antonio Banderas that really steals the entire film. He becomes a very prominent part of the team and is channeling aspects of his Desperado days with a bit of a spaz twist and its awesome seeing him bringing the charm and unleashing the flurry of bullets like only he can. It’s no secret that Harrison Ford stepped in due to conflict with Bruce Willis and not only is he a welcome replacement they even poke fun at the situation and ousting of Willis. The new cast all do a fine job with their roles with MMA star Rhonda Rousey really bringing a bad ass sexy aspect that has been missing from this series. Mel Gibson has had some issues of late, but he is in top form as the main villain of the film bringing a subtle approach to the role with moments of his Lethal Weapon persona Riggs jumping out from time to time.
There is more passion to the story this time around as well as bringing some history of the Expendables to the forefront making it probably the best of the series so far. There was some fear of switching the series to PG-13 but thankfully it hasn’t toned anything down. With the exception of the lack of blood splattering there is likely a bigger body count here than any of the other films. There is a ton of high octane old school action that includes not only more bullets flying than you could possibly imagine, but just as many awesome and well-choreographed fight sequences as well. Each member of the team is given their moment to shine in the action department and every single one of them brings their A-game to the battle field. Rousey kicks some major ass holding her own with the rest of the testosterone in the film making her a perfect addition to the team. Despite all of their ages, they all seem to still bring the pain like never before making for a fun popcorn action flick that is a great entry into this popular series.
This is one of those series that you either like it or you don’t. If you are a fan of the previous films you will no doubt enjoy this one as well. The commercials seem to be promoting this one as the last in the series, but it sets itself up perfectly for some more adventures and will hopefully do well enough again to get the team back together. Besides there are plenty of more action stars both new and old that still need their time in the series so bring it on. If not, we can revel in the joy of seeing these guys bring the pain one last time like only they can.