"How hard can it be to kill ten men?"
The third time is the charm, right? Wrong! By now we already know what we are going to get from an Expendables movie. We know it is going to have generic action scenes, very little going on plot wise, and a lack of character development. We've even learned not to expect much from the crowded 90's A-list cast because they are mostly all reduced to caricatures. But if you enjoyed the first two films in this franchise then you are guaranteed to enjoy this as well because it pretty much gives you what you expect. There are plenty of old school action scenes, lots of explosions, and several cheesy one-liners. The nostalgia factor is a key element to these movies, but the problem is that we have seen plenty from these actors recently with a few exceptions. The attracting thing about these films was being able to watch these guys together, but that kind of rubbed off us in the first film. There is no novelty left and only true fans of the genre will be satisfied. The thing that The Expendables has going for it is that it knows who its target audience is and they focus on them exclusively without even attempting to reach a more mainstream audience. They give fans exactly what they want. I even think this was an improvement from the second film, despite the fact that it was overlong and it became tedious at times. The final climactic scene was also a disappointment and it really doesn't get more generic than that. Plot wise I always forget what these films are about, I can honestly not remember what they were fighting for in the first two films and I imagine I will forget everything about this film in a few days. The main attraction is getting to see these guys working together and all I remember from the second film was the cameo from Chuck Norris and that Van Damme was a satisfying villain. This third film has some interesting cameos, but there is nothing much more to it.
Expendables 3 was directed by Patrick Hughes, who directed the little known but warmly received Red Hill in 2010. The story is basically the same as the previous two films in the franchise with some new additions and a new villain. This time the Expendables have to face a former founder of the team, Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who has turned into a dangerous arm dealer. We are first introduced to Barney (Stallone) and his crew as they are freeing a former partner named Doc (played by Wesley Snipes). Together they embark on a mission to try to stop Stonebanks and along the way Barney signs up a younger crew with the recruiting help of Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammar). Other than Mel Gibson and Wesley Snipes the other new faces in this film are Antonio Banderas who plays a comical Spanish character named Galgo and Harrison Ford who has replaced Bruce Willis' Church as one of the directors who hires Barney's team. So there is a lot of testosterone in this film with scenes of these buffed up guys carrying weapons on one hand and a beer on the other. It is the ultimate definition of macho men from the 90's. It is even comical at times so I found it hard to keep a straight face, especially with all the cheesy dialogue. I did enjoy Snipes performance as I hadn't seen him in over a decade. Antonio Banderas was a bit too comical and Mel Gibson really didn't present a real threat as the villain. The film really suffers from a poor screenplay and it wastes the talented cast perhaps because there are just too many characters and so little time for a decent and engaging story. We never really care for any of these characters and I'm surprised I even remembered some of their names despite having seen them in 3 films already.