The has-been boys are back together again in The Expendables 3. It’s like the Ocean’s Eleven you never really wanted to see. It’s the same overly-macho action flick that you’ve seen twice before, and while it’s meant to be entertaining, it’s also incredibly sad watching these actors try to stay relevant way past their prime. Action flicks have gotten way more sophisticated since these guys triumphed on-screen, so why should we settle for less now?
Sylvester Stallone leads the way again (and there’s no one more sad than him) with a paper-thin plot that he co-wrote. We kick things off with the team breaking (Wesley Snipes) out of jail. Things blow up. And so it begins.
Someone from Sly’s past (Mel Gibson) is doing some bad things and Sly must beat his chest and go stop bad man. He decides he doesn’t want his old team anymore (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture) for some reason and wants a younger crew. This allows Kelsey Grammer to pop up and take Sly around the world to meet his youthful new Expendables, including Kellan Lutz, Victor Ortiz, Glen Powell, and Ronda Rousey, none of whom register at all. Whoddyathunk Grammer would become the MVP of this summer’s blockbuster season? He has turned up in X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, and now here. Way to go, Frasier Crane.
So Sly’s mission with the new crew is terribly boring, but at least you can spend your time reminiscing about older Sly flicks like Rambo, Cliffhanger, and Rocky. The film only really jolts to life in its third act with all the crew coming together for an battle against the bad guys. It’s when three new-old additions to the cast who really shine.
Everyone hates Mel Gibson now (remember when he was the everyday hero we cheered for?), so he’s a perfect fit for the villainous part and he owns it. Antonio Banderas takes a few scenes to charm you, but he eventually is a welcome relief to the rest of the new characters. He’s willing to ham it up and deliver some laughs instead of standing around flexing his muscles and speaking like a caveman.
Then there’s Harrison Ford. I don’t know how Sly convinced him to do this. Harrison is the only one who still has a decent film career, and simply put, he’s better than this schlock. While his role mostly consists of briefing Sly in the back of cars en route to (certainly) very important meetings, Harrison gets in on the action in the last act, and he’s insanely fun to watch. He probably shot all his lines in about 20 minutes in the (simulated) helicopter, and his “I don’t give a sh*t” delivery is hilarious. At 72, he’s still a great screen presence.
So bravo, you got Harrison, Sly, but let’s call it a wrap on this series, shall we?