The Expendables 3 (****)
Ross and gang are back
But who are those young people?
Needs more R rating
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. Y'all know that I'm a huge Expendables fan. The first movie blew me away, and then the second movie surpassed the first in both action and hilarity, which I didn't think was possible. Sadly, that spark has gone missing between the second and third films.
The Expendables 3 again follows the team of ragtag mercenaries with hearts of gold led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and made up of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hail Caesar (Terry Crews). While on a mission to take down a warlord, things go amiss when Barney recognizes the warlord as a former associate, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). Barney suddenly begins to feel his mortality, and so fires his old crew and finds a new one filled with a bunch of young ne'er do wells. Of course, explosions and ridiculous dialogue and fight scenes ensue.
First of all, let me say: Those character names ... They are THE BEST. I don't think I'd really paid attention to them before, but they're so ridiculous. And the old guard can pull them—and their equally ridiculous characters—off so well. The actors might not be winning Oscars for these roles, but they do a fine job.
The new kids, however, left something to be desired. The Expendables movies are about old (and older—Terry and Jason are in their late 40s, and I don't consider that old at all) guys kicking ass. Watching the younger actors, who, certainly, can kick some major ass, made me feel like I was watching a different franchise. (And someone please tell Ronda Rousey that she should really stick to MMA. I'm not doing it—I'm not that stupid.) Additionally, the movie's rating is PG-13, which meant less cursing and less ridiculous violence. Now, I'm not a proponent of meaningless violence, but these movies are meant to be farsical, and the fact that people get blown to shreds in them is funny because of the level of ridiculousness with which it happens.
The movie's saving graces were—surprisingly—Antonio Banderas and Wesley Snipes. Their characters, Galgo and Doc, respectively, added needed humor into the film. I have long had an animosity toward Antonio (for no real reason other than that I didn't like him?), but I will admit that this movie has done a lot for bringing him into my good graces. And Wesley give great crazy eyes.
On the whole, I enjoyed the movie, but I didn't love it like I did the others. It was much more a typical (i.e., formulaic) action film, and that's not what's so amazing about the franchise.
If you liked the other films, I would recommend seeing this one, too, if only to make the possibility of a fourth one a reality. (There's always a dud in a franchise somewhere.)