Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Movie Review: The Expendables 3

Oh my...Look how far it has fallen. The first time was fun. The second one was good. So third time's the charm? Not so much, really. It's gone worse. Before walking into the cinema, we all know that The Expendables franchise is just a bunch of action movies about a group of old action stars get back together to do some old-school action fun, for old time's sake. They're never meant to be taken seriously in the first place. Initially, it's actually quite fun and entertaining to see the each of the actors bringing something to the screen and show us what action is all about.

The Expendables 3 has the biggest assembly of action stars in one film, and this time it's a huge mistake to do so. There's just too many of them and none of them are given enough screen time for them to shine. Harrison Ford, Jet Li or Arnold Schwarzenegger only get to appear on screen for a few minutes to do some shooting in the finale and that's it. Rather than adding more character depth to the old Expendables team, the film chooses to introduce a group of young and inexperienced Expendables to capture a dangerous war criminal who controls an army of soldiers, who's also a former highly experienced Expendable as well. As expected, they get easily taken down by the main villain and Barney needs the old team back again to save them. Why bother wasting so much screen time finding and recruiting them in the first place? Just because one of the Expendables got hurt and now they're scared? All of them are hardcore professionals...surely they would know what they have signed up for right?

The film repeats the same mistake again by introducing characters to appear without giving them a proper background. The film has no character development at all. They're just there, appearing on screen, do some talking and action then voilà...you have a movie. Please...it's the third one now, don't just tell us about the characters, show us instead. How the original group of Expendables was formed? Why there's a rivalry between Barney and Conrad? How the existing Expendables know each other? There's an entire action scene dedicated to break Wesley Snipes' character out of prison. Why he is there in the first place and needs to be transported by train to another prison?

It's actually a big mistake to get rid of the old team much too early in the film. Sure, Antonio Banderas do stand out as the noisy talker who keeps talking non-stop (although it's quite annoying later on); Mel Gibson is menacing enough as the main villain for the Expendables despite doing nothing much in the film (In my opinion, Van Damme is a better villain than Gibson); Wesley Snipes a welcome addition to the crew and his character was quite promising in the beginning of the film. It's rather unfortunate that he got sidelined in favour of the young newcomers. Other than them, all the young Expendables fail to make any strong lasting impression at all. They could have added some interesting, serious banter between the young and old Expendables team. Such a missed opportunity.

There's also another problem...the finale. A group of 10 mercenaries trapped in an abandoned building that's filled with C-4 explosives (including 3 in a helicopter) still capable of resisting an entire army of soldiers with heavy artillery, tanks and helicopters without serious damage. Impressive, but not realistic at all.

Just like the title of the movie says, most of members of The Expendables are truly expendable. This was shown clearly in the film when Stallone has decided to replace Bruce Willis' role in the franchise to Harrison Ford's Max Drummer due to a disagreement over money for the role. A missable film.

For rating comparisons:
  • The Expendables    (2010) - 6.5/10
  • The Expendables 2 (2012) -    7/10
  • The Expendables 3 (2014) -    5/10

1 comment:

  1. The action in this movie is nonsensical, but brilliant. The closest comparison that I can think of is Fast and Furious 6, which also featured action that defied the laws of gravity. It's insanity from beginning to end, but it is so crazy good.