Sometimes I think the veins in Sly Stallone’s forehead are trying to tell me something. I mean Do they spell a word? Maybe pulse in Morse code?
“Expendables 3” is Sylvester Stallone’s latest addition to the film canon of a group of all out mercenaries who stop bad guys and blow stuff up called The Expendables. Each movie tries to pack in as many action stars as possible and build a story around them to allow them each to kick some tail in there own unique ways. It’s basically the Step Up series if you traded the break dancing for roundhouse kicks to the face, at least I think I saw that on the poster somewhere. The point is, for a movie like this to succeed it doesn’t have to do much more than provide the audience what it came for, the action stars they love getting involved in lots of action. Which is why its so unfortunate that this one only succeeds with one of those things.
There are a lot of great names in this. Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Jet Li, and Jason Statham are all here, as are my favorite parts of the movie Antonio Banderas and Mel Gibson. I was going to try to pick one of them for my best thing, but they both are so much fun in this that I figured I’d let them share the title. Seriously, in a cast of steely faced muscle guys, their manic energies were a breath of fresh air and made for some of the more interesting parts of the proceedings, giving us something to watch while waiting for the next action scene. Which honestly seemed to take a really long time. In fact, even the action scenes that did show up before the finale seemed to be a bit tame and uninteresting compared to the kind of action audiences have come to expect. Don’t get me wrong, the last half hour of this movie is a lot of fun, but it had me wondering why the rest of the movie couldn’t have shown some of the same ingenuity.
I kinda felt like I could have shown up about 90 minutes into the movie and actually not missed very much at all. I think the main reason for this, and therefore my worst thing, is that the movie just took itself a little too seriously. I can joke about the Step Up or even Fast and Furious movies being similar, but at least those movies know exactly what they are and deliver the goods over the top and often. This movie just doesn’t. I mean, If there’s one thing a movie like this shouldn’t be, it’s boring, and I couldn’t help but feel that there were major stretches of this that were exactly that. I mean, I love story work as much as the next guy, but I don’t need long scenes of expositional dialog helping me understand why this group feels the need to blow up the bad guy. He’s the bad guy! Just go blow him up already, that’s why we all came to this party.
At the end of the day, Expendables 3 is a movie that makes two promises and keeps one. Yes, so many of your favorite action stars are playing in the same sandbox, it just would have been nice if they had more time to play. I give it a C-