Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz, Glen Powell, Kellan Lutz, Antonio Banderas
Rated: for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language
There’s a new Expendables movie out, catching the end of the summer action movie wave. “The Expendables 3” is the latest in a series of films that are a blend of homage to and in-jokes from classic 80s action flicks. Sylvester Stallone knows what he’s good at, and that is turning out action movie storylines and then one-lining his way through them. If you like that sort of thing, “The Expendables 3” will probably be right up your alley.
“The Expendables 3” has a fairly standard “old enemy proves to still be alive, so protagonist must track him down and arrest/kill him” plot. The story isn’t why you see a movie like this, though – the cast and the action are. “The Expendables 3” has both in great supply. As in the other Expendables films, there are a lot of action stars packed into its cast. Many of them are old-school action stars (Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, etc.), but others are new. There’s a vein of “old school vs. new school” woven into the story that kind of works, but kind of doesn’t. Thankfully, a weak plot doesn’t scuttle the whole ship.
The action is as exciting-but-bloodless as we’ve come to expect from a PG-13 movie like this one. There’s lots of falling bodies, but not much blood or gruesome sound effects. There are some pretty sweet stunts, including some really ridiculous stuff with a motorcycle and a tank. The characters get to use all sorts of weaponry from machine guns to old-West-style six-shooters. The explosions are awesome, the gunfights are full of action-movie physics but are fun anyway, and there are plenty of one-liners to groan/cheer at.
It’s a little tricky to tell, given how immobile Stallone’s face has become in recent years, but he and the vast majority of the cast seem to be having a lot of fun, running around delivering cheesy dialog and doing exciting action sequences. There are a couple of awkward, heartfelt emotional speeches, but they pass quickly and are pretty easy to ignore.
What else do you need to know to decide whether to see this movie? It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the trailers, maybe a little less bloody so as to keep the audience-friendly PG-13 rating. It’s a great big action movie full of big, ridiculous action sequences and occasional goofiness. You don’t see a movie like “The Expendables 3” for character development or complex plotting, you see it because it’s hot out, theaters have air conditioning, and big dumb action movies are a lot of fun – if you like big, dumb action movies, anyway. If that’s you, check this movie out. If it’s not, you’ll be better served elsewhere.