The Expendables 3 – Movie Review
Director: Patrick Hughes
Writers: Sylvester Stallone (story & screenplay), Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Dave Callaham (characters)
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lungren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kelsey Grammar, Antonio Banderas, Ronda Rousey, Kellan Lutz, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Jet Li, Robert Davi
Ensemble Action Film
The Expendables 3. They did it again, and it’s the best one yet.
Sylvester Stallone has gathered together friends old and new to bring yet another Expendables movie to the big screen. The Expendables 3 is about the past and the future–and bringing them together. It’s a bumpy ride, full of gunfire and explosions (did you expect anything less?), but a lot of satisfying ground gets covered. Some of the bits and pieces are formulaic: the movie starts with a caper already in progress and, later, a plan falls apart rather spectacularly. But this is a fresh take on old and familiar ground, as things get resolved in original ways.
More of the history of the Expendables is revealed, including how the team got formed, and what their early years were about. There’s also a great reveal of how Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) does his recruitment, as he looks for some “young, hungry” team members–aided by the uniquely qualified Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammar).
Representing the past are the current Expendables: head guy Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), second-in-command Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), former Fulbright scholar Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture), Caesar (Terry Crews) and Yin Yang (Jet Li). They’re rejoined by old team members Doc (Wesley Snipes) and Stonebanks (Mel Gibson).
Helping pave the way into the future are close quarters combat expert Luna (Ronda Rousey), weapons nerd Mars (Victor Ortiz), computer hacker Thorn (Glen Powell), and Smilee (Kellan Lutz)–who has serious skills but definite authority issues. Helping bridge the gap is Galgo (Antonio Banderas)–new to the team, but hardly a youngster.
Mr. Church is gone, replaced by Drummer (Harrison Ford), who gets to show his stern take-no-prisoners attitude and fly a helicopter. Or maybe he doesn’t. The ever competitive Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is back, too.
There’s gun running and smuggling–and some serious consequences if the team fails. But learning to work together is hard, losing people you care about is the scariest thing in the world, and getting old isn’t any fun–but it sure beats the alternative.
The movie balances a semi-serious message with some great humor and a ton of good fight scenes. The rivalry between Christmas and Doc (who is better with a knife?) is priceless. The back-and-forth between Luna and Galgo is also strong–and Luna is given time to absolutely shine on her own. The best bits are between Barney Ross and his best friend Lee Christmas–after three movies, you believe in these two guys and their relationship.
These guys absolutely still have it. The 1980s aren’t dead yet. Recommended for action fans everywhere.
Reviewed by Elektra Hammond