The Expendables 3 review: Time for some hip replacements

Film Title: The Expendables 3

Director: Patrick Hughes

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture

Genre: Action

Running Time: 126 min

Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 16:56


Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross and the boys (Jace, Dolph et al) head to Turkey to bust former cohort Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes) out of jail. And then it’s all like whoosh, kapow, boom.

Mission accomplished, the chaps descend on Mogadishu to take down some class of ultra-villain. Sadly, this time the whoosh, kapow, boom is not nearly so effective. One of their comrades – Terry Crews’s Hale Caesar – is, by the next scene, classified as fallen and confined to a hospital bed.

And worse, the evasive ultravillain turns out to be Mel Gibson, a former expendable who turned “dark”. We know he’s a bad one as he is later seen purchasing art in Moscow and because, unlike the good-guy mercenaries of the title, he hardly ever cracks wise about yo’ momma or, indeed, one’s longevity in trouser-dropping events.

“I thought he was dead,” says Sly and, later, Kelsey Grammer. Mel’s not dead, dude; he just made those unfortunate remarks. Remember?

Harrison Ford pops up as a government operative from a parallel universe with no mandatory retirement age. He orders Stallone to bring back Gibson for a trial at The Hague. The audience mentally inserts its own punchline as Stallone, anxious to keep the rest of his bromantic posse safe, hires a harder, younger gang, including Twilight’s Kellan Lutz and UFC champ Ronda Rousey.

The old expendables and new expendables exchange verbals (“Yeah, grandpa”) but, inevitably, circumstances arise in which the whole sick crew will have to overcome their differences and work together. “You were stupid enough to get yourself into this mess; we’re the only ones crazy enough to get you out of it,” observes the Stathocalypse, sagely.

The Expendables franchise has never been as meta-textual as a series featuring every movie hard-arse on the planet ought to be. But there are plenty of look out behind you moments to savour. The grammar is as excellent as ever: “Things got ugly real fast and a lot of people got dead.” The one-liners improve on the previous instalments: “I am The Hague.” And the final credits are printed on dog tags.

As you were, target audience.

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