Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammer, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Plot: Barney Ross learns that his former comrade turned enemy Conrad Stonebanks is alive despite having shot him dead years ago. Ross retires the old team and forms a new, younger team to go after him, but will his old buddies simply stay retired?
Review: The Expendables films have become not much more than showcasing veteran action heroes square off against each other and side by side. It's basically a mix of hard action and nostalgic moments, but not much else. So needless to say, this third outing isn't very different from the first two, but still quite fun to behold.
In this instalment, Barney Ross runs into Expendables co-founder Conrad Stonebanks, whom he had killed years ago, or so he thought. Stonebanks maims one of Ross' mates, prompting the latter to retire the old team so that he doesn't have to watch them die, and forms a younger team to go after his nemesis. But the old team won't stay down of course, and the young team still needs to learn a thing or two about kicking ass, so a huge collision is forthcoming, which happens in the film's climax.
Director Patrick Hughes, working on a script co-written by Stallone, does a decent enough job with the material, keeping things flowing smoothly with two big action set pieces in the first third of the film before throwing in an even bigger sequence in the final third. The middle portion consists of Stallone and old acquaintance Bonaparte (played by Kelsey Grammer) recruiting the young team, and a handful of rather hilarious moments ensue.
It's interesting to note that Stallone has given more time to the action veterans newly added here as compared to his usual co-stars, which means that Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture get less time to show off here. (Sorry Jet Li fans, he gets even less here than previously, so you might want to skip this film) Wesley Snipes makes good use of his screen time as Dr Death, showing the kind of charm we haven't seen since Demolition Man (where he fought Stallone). Mel Gibson is absolutely delightful as the villain Stonebanks, making him more than a match for Stallone. But the prize for best performance goes to Antonio Banderas as Galgo, the Spaniard soldier desperate to join Ross' crew. Who would have thought Banderas was capable of comedy like this? It's almost like he's being Puss In Boots all over again, but even better.
Glen Powell, Kellan Lutz, Victor Ortiz and MMA fighter Ronda Rousey make up the young team, though only the former two make an impression. Ortiz is forgettable and Rousey has zero acting skills. Arnie gets credit for just showing up (it's what he does best) while Harrison Ford makes good on his CIA agent character, and he actually does better than Bruce Willis, who got cut for asking for more dough.
The thing is, with The Expendables, what you see is what you get. You get action, tough talk, lots of cheese and illogical situations (like why are all the bad guys terrible marksmen?). But if you don't mind all that, it's always fun to watch these guys go at it.
Verdict: If you enjoyed the first two, you'll love this one. (3.5/5)