Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Hey. I liked it.
Sequels rarely get better, but it happens sometimes, and in my honest opinion…that’s what we have with the Expendables franchise. The first film never really had the best bearing. It was an all-out action film, but it lacked something rather significant – humor. Now, they added the missing element of humor in the second film, and it was pretty funny in a couple parts. They kept that subtle humor in the third as well, but in my honest opinion, they also secured the story, action, and overall character focus. The Expendables 3 is another example of a good time in the cinema.
I’d go through the list of stars, but you know as well as I do that that would take forever, so I’ll just say that – almost everyone reprised their roles in the third film. Those who didn’t were more or less shrugged off as Expendables that died. The story this time revolves around baddy Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who did his part years ago in creating The Expendables with Barney (Stallone). They thought he was dead all of these years, but it turns out he’s alive and kicking – and basically the group’s arch nemesis. They have to find him and bring him in, but Barney realizes that the danger involved could make this be the last mission ever.
There are so many recognizable actors in this film, but that was expected, of course. It’s more or less an ensemble cast film – more focused on casting than anything else, but it somehow works. I’m always worried that the film will get so mixed up in trying to give everyone equal focus that it’ll feel crowded. It happens all the time, because everyone needs equal screen time because they are famous…but not in Expendables 3. No, these films have always done a pretty good job at keeping the focus on Sylvester Stallone’s character, and how he perceives his group. It’s weird, because when they do that (as they should), I don’t care how many other people the films cast…because they clearly will never stop making these movies…and for some reason or another, I don’t care. I think they’re a ton of fun.
When they have a great balance between action, story, characters, and comedy…this series can go on forever. The action was intense and never for a second felt old or repetitive. The story was a very basic revenge plot with a hint of history between the characters that holds it firm enough to enjoy. The characters, of course, are always more or less exaggerated versions of themselves, and I love it, and of course the comedy is subtle self-aware comedy that just accentuates the tone of the movie so well. It’s not Oscar material, and they realize that – they just have fun with it, and in turn, so does the audience.
At the same time, the movie screams guy movie. I actually just watched The Notebook last night, which screamed chick flick…and this more or less holds the opposite effect. The acting may not be amazing, the production was clear with it’s intentions, and it’s a little juvenile. I mean, it’s just a bunch of random, unimportant people dying and things blowing up when you look at the heart of it…but I don’t care. I had fun watching it.
Sylvester Stallone has got his bearings pretty well for the third film in the franchise. The action, story, comedy, and character focus was very much on par this time, so it didn’t feel as crowded and clumsy as the previous installments.
If you want to be technical, there’s no real substance in any of these movies. There can’t be. This is not an emotional franchise, it’s a guy’s guy movie with explosions, cars, and violence. It’s a lot of fun, but there’s no real reason to return to it in the end.
Arnie: Get to the choppa!