The Expendables 3 – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Expendables 3The Expendables 3 – 3/5 – Action films; littered with clichés and many different predictable moments, you can only imagine that seeing anything in this genre can be consider passé.  There are times action films do stand out (The Raid 2) or do not (Machete Kills).  Regardless of what is shown in an action film; production value and scale usually defines them.  When it comes to the Expendables series; it has the mantra of ‘classic’ action from the 1980s.  It has the typical niches you would expect, but execution of those things has always been expected.  The third film in the series (albeit with less blood and PG-13) provides another level of intrigue and fun.  The Expendables 3 might not be a standout, but it is good enough to say it entertains.

Premise:  With the return of an old and deadly foe; Barney Ross has to come to grips with the past, while also embrace the new.  Will The Expendables survive the ultimate conflict?

There are so many people within this film; I recommend everyone reference the IMDB page for the actors and actresses listed.  When it does come to the plethora of cast members in the group, they stand out for their ‘action’ skills and don’t do much to impress beyond the ‘one-dimensional’ nature of what they display.  That element is enough complexions for the fighting and gun battles.  Out of the long list, I’m only going to describe (here) the leader of The Expendables and the villain.  Leading the group of aging action stars (and new comers) is Barney Ross, played by Sylvester Stallone.  Like the previous two, he stands out as a staunch leader and friend.  This film tests his patience as their leaders, trying to find good reason for his virtues.  With this new shade of Barney, there is slight character depth.  You notice an emotional side when he deals with past issues in the present, defining the reasons behind some of his decisions throughout the film.  Even if Stallone’s gives a common performance, it befits its purpose for the film. Opposite him is the villainous Stonebanks played by Mel Gibson.  For all the previous villains in this series; Gibson provides that raw talent and fortitude to be a real formidable opponent.  Not only does he represent the past for Barney Ross, he gives the embodiment of someone suave and sophisticated.  He does give an impeccable delivery when he provides exposition and other elements of interaction with Barney.  His performance helps add some life to the average-esque feel of the film.  You feel the vileness in his subtlety, making you really hope for his demise.

The direction of the film, as well as the narrative and story isn’t worth taking too much time to explain.  So firstly, I will give the basic structure:

First act – Prologue: A mixture of fight scenes with the re-introduced to old characters and new threat

Second act – Mixture of exposition, action montage of new members and their mission; convenient plot devices

Third act – Final/big action set piece; final confrontation and epilogue of all fighters

Regardless of the lament nature of the direction, the one thing that keeps the film steady is the fast pace, low running time and ignorance of the ‘dramatic’ elements.  With no focus on drama and on the action; the film stays true to the nature of the series, which is:

Over-the-top action

Cheesy one-liners and references

That is what you get, and is expected.  The one thing that makes this film stand out just a bit more than the previous two is the middle ground.  The director finds a balance between the action and the bantering to make you have fun with these characters.  As the plot goes; we have Barney Ross and his band of misfits sent to take out an arms dealer.  This turns out to be an old acquaintance and former member, Stonebanks.  A few convenient situations occur that leads to the formation of a new team that (also conveniently) leads into a dire situation.  After much dilemma, the old team is brought back in for the final confrontations with Stonebanks.   Within all the semi-good, the elements of the film that are bad are the standard factoids.  This is the overall nature of the action.  The set pieces, fights and ‘death’ scenes are every predictable trope of any action film over the past 10 years.  This does cause a bland taste to parts of the film, but you eventually just ignore it and stay with the experience.   Once the film gets to the climax; the final fight between Gibson and Stallone is pretty weak and abrupt.  The ending is a good montage of all the new and old characters, but it isn’t something you wouldn’t expect them to do.  Knowing what the film is (in the end) and even with all the bad elements of the film; you do find some entertaining factors in the overall experience.

The visual appeal of the film is littered in the action set pieces and the overall scope of the traveling of the characters.  With various locations on display, you get a ‘global’ sense; while also feeling the dire nature of each mission.  The score is mute at best and not worth going into.

The Expendables 3 is what you would expect; but it is enjoyable if you can shut off your brain and accept the mindless behavior.  If you’re a fan of the previous ones, check it out.  It is a fun outing and worth seeing at an early matinee.

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