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REVIEW — “Expendables 3”

“Expendables 3” takes its thin premise, testosterone fueled nostalgia, and stretches it to a breaking point.  While it has the best cast of the series it doesn’t give them enough to do.

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If you’ve seen one “Expendables” film, you’ve seen them all.  They are created using a basic formula:  Sign as many well known aging actors and action stars as possible with the limited budget.  Stage an impressive opening action scene with familiar heroes and nondescript villains.  Move on the the middle of the plot where characters deal with a personal crisis, be it their romantic lives or facing their own mortality, all the while speaking in bass-enhanced, gravelly voices.  Budget for impressive explosions but save money to CGI in the rest of the action. Call in a few cameos, add some ancient catchphrases and tired age jokes, and wrap it all up with a personal vendetta.  What’s surprising is just how much fun it can be to see this vast array of actors on the screen at once.  Unfortunately, as they progressively spend less money on each outing, and  less time on the script, the story becomes increasingly dull.

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“Expendables 3” teases us with what could have been.  The cast is amazing, with incredibly fun performances by Kelsey Grammer, Harrison Ford,and Antonio Banderas.  “Expendables 4” almost sounds like a good idea, just to see Banderas’ crazy character again.  Then there is Mel Gibson, who is essentially playing a ruthless continuation of his arms dealer from “Machete Kills.”  His drunken outbursts nearly killed his career, but he may have a second chance playing villains.  He fills the roles so well and is a “joy” to watch.

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It’s a shame this movie isn’t better than it is.  They cheaped out on the script/plot, they cheaped out on the special effects, and they cheaped out by reducing it to PG-13 action.  We’re left with an excess of testosterone and star power, but only a smidgen of anything else needed for a good movie.

2.5 out of 5 Stars*
-Ref Kevin

*Still better than Transformers 4!

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