Get out your guns and knives and motorcycles, we're reviewing The Expendables 3!
After a mission goes wrong, Barney (Sylvestor Stallone) breaks up the team. He finds out an old member named Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) is still alive and has turned evil, and hires all new recruits to take him out. But then they all suck, so he brings back the old team to rescue the new team!
I want to say this isn't as good as The Expendables 2, but honestly I can't really remember anthing specific that happened in The Expendables 2. Or Expendables 1, for that matter. According to my review of 2 I at least moderately enjoyed it, so I guess I'm safe in saying I did not like this movie as much as the last one.
The main problem I have is Barney's reason for breaking the team up. He does this after Terry Crews' character gets shot in the butt and critically injured enough to be absent for the rest of the movie. And that sucks for not having any Terry Crews in the movie, but Barney pretty much goes, "Whoa, we can DIE?! I didn't know that!" and that’s his explanation for disbanding the team. And it's – do you even know what the word "expendable" means? Didn't one of your guys die in the last movie? Didn't Dolph Lundgren turn evil, die, and get better in the first? I know I shouldn't take these movies too seriously, but this makes entirely too little sense. "It's so crazy you can die in this business," Barney says, after killing literally one thousand dudes.
Most of the movie isn't that exciting. The prison break on the train in the beginning is not exciting, the entire middle where he recruits a new team is boring, then at the end it picks up enough for me to call it fun. But for most of the movie? Meh. The new guys are really terrible and forgettable. There's the tech dude, the wild dude, the parkour dude, and the girl. I'm especially disappointed at newcomer Ronda Rousey because she's a pretty great fighter but she cannot act to save her life. Also, she's basically the only female character in this movie. There are no other female characters. None. Oh, there has to be at least one woman in the background, you say? Look closely. Nope. Those aren’t women. Those are DUDES IN WIGS. Okay, I’m kidding, but seriously, she's the only main female lead and there are almost ten other leads – all dudes – and on top of that she's a damsel in distress for most of the time. Three of the guys get to be damsels in distress, too, but even then, other dudes rescue them! When captive, only the woman gets the “privilege” of the villain’s creepy touch-the-face thing. All the men are exempt from that damsel-in-distress rite of passage. Having only one woman feels like a downgrade because there were definitely at least two women in the last movie. What happened to Lee Christmas's fiancé/wife?
There are a looooot of scenes in this movie where two dudes get really close to each other, to threaten each other, but with the very apparent side effect of looking like they're about to lock lips and make out. I wish that was how they ended most confrontations, actually. C'mon guys, just smooch it out. Apparently two of the men are actually an openly gay couple at the end (even though I missed that detail during my own viewing), so I guess the smooching wouldn’t have been that out of place, after all! No “no homo,” NOW KISS.
There are some good exchanges here and there. Most of the good banter is between Stallone and Kelsey Grammer while they're recruiting the team. They’re just shooting the shit. But then the movie has a lot of bad dialogue that feels like forced action one-liners. A lot of stuff feels like they're forcing a reference to another of their older, probably more fun, 80's or 90’s action movies. Schwarzenegger straight says, "Get to the choppah!"
Someone I was really surprised by was Antonio Banderas. He steals the whole movie, and gets a bunch of huge laughs. And he's got a pretty good character arc! I'd forgotten how good he is at just being a likable guy who's good at punch-y, shoot-y stuff. Now I want to see him in more movies! Wesley Snipes is okay and Mel Gibson is pretty good at playing the bad guy.
The end battle has lots of explosions and gunplay and hand to hand battles and junk, but there's not a lot of much else in the rest of the movie. I’d go so far as to say there are a couple good laughs. And maybe a couple cool scenes. Antonio Banderas is a plus. But it's not great, and what little I remember now I’m certain I’ll forget in the next couple of months.
THE GOOD: Some good banter, Antonio Banderas, good ending action, gay couple??
THE BAD: Trivial/uninspired story, no Terry Crews, bad acting and forced dialogue, forgettable action, only one female character, is there some sort of black-guy limit? Can there be only one or something?
THE VERDICT: $$ Meh. Why bother?
MOVIES LIKE IT: Expendables 2, The Last Stand, Commando, Machete 2
ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: The last big battle is just a montage of all the team doing their individual things. One guy is motor biking while shooting a machine gun. Ronda Rousey is wrestlin' dudes. Antonio Banderas is being awesome. And then there's one guy who's parkouring up an elevator shaft. That's his whole deal. For like five minutes. He drew the short straw of the action scene I guess.