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The Expendables 3
3/5
dir Patrick Hughes
scr Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt
prd Avi Lerner, Danny Lerner, Kevin King Templeton, John Thompson, Les Weldon
with Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Kelsey Grammer, Jet Li, Terry Crews
release US/UK 15.Aug.14
14/US Millennium 2h06
The Expendables 3
Oldies but newbies: Banderas, Snipes and Stallone

statham gibson ford
See also:
The Expendables (2010) The Expendables 2 (2012)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Expendables 3 Mixing a gritty tone with witty banter, this third episode in the ageing action hero adventure series tries to bridge the serious tone of Part 1 with the freewheeling silliness of Part 2. It doesn't quite work, mainly because the plot is utterly vacuous. But the snappy dialog keeps it relatively entertaining.

After rescuing old cohort Doc (Snipes) from a black-ops prison, Barney (Stallone) and his team (Statham, Lundgren, Couture and Crews) head off on a mission, discovering that their ex-nemesis Stonebanks (Gibson) is still alive and up to nefarious nastiness. With his team in danger, Barney contacts a buddy (Grammer) to helps recruit four young commandoes (Lutz, Rousey, Powell and Ortiz) to go after Stonebanks. Of course nothing goes to plan, and CIA boss Drummer (Ford) has to pitch in, along with former colleagues Trench and Yin (Schwarzenegger and Li) and chatty newcomer Galgo (Banderas).

These films are getting increasingly crowded, so the filmmakers sideline anyone they can (Li and Crews are barely here). Meanwhile, the team's foes are faceless soldiers, henchmen and passers-by, all of whom are fair game for bullets, bombs and blades. Thousands of these anonymous souls die off screen in order to maintain the PG-13 illusion that each of these people doesn't have a family back home.

But never mind that, this is a movie about chaotic, surprisingly edgy action, shot in grubby locations in Bulgaria that the locals were clearly happy to blow to smithereens. And the film is enjoyable simply because the actors are merrily poking fun at themselves with biting dialog and wacky action moves. Each of the actors, old and young, gets something eye-popping to do, including some brutal hand-to-hand action, full on gun battles and some wild and woolly stunt work.

It's pretty nonstop, actually, and director Hughes never pauses long enough for us to wonder how Barney and crew crisscross the globe quite so quickly or why Max has a nation's army at his disposal. And the timeline between the films makes even less sense now. These certainly aren't questions the true believers will be asking. No, they'll be puzzling over Stallone's latest plastic surgery while admiring Lutz's astonishing physique, Banderas' scene-stealing jokey patter and Gibson's charming villainy. He easily steals the film, reminding us that the bad guy always gets the best lines.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 1.Aug.14

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© 2014 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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