The Expendables are back with a third installment in the film series that sees our favorite action stars from decades past mix it up against the bad guys in a never ending shower of bullets and explosions. Sylvester Stallone once again leads the way as writer and star while Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, and Jet Li also return. As if that wasn't enough, we also get to see Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Kelsey Grammer, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Victor Cruz, and Ronda Rousey. Look at all those names!
After Barney (Stallone) and his team of Expendables liberate a former member of the team (Snipes) from captivity, they are off for another mission that is sure to be filled with lots of shooting and exploding things. What they did not expect was to see another face from their past who everyone thought had died many years ago and he pretty much ruins all their plans and almost literally tears the team apart. When Barney's failed attempt at revenge with a new team of recruits fails, he is forced to get the band back together for what might be one final attempt at shooting, stabbing, kicking, punching and exploding everything in their path.
If you are a fan of this franchise then you know exactly what to expect and you will be very pleased with the result. Each installment seems to raise the stakes with more guns, more tanks, more generic "bad guy" soldiers, and more 80's action stars than you can shake a stick at. Actually, I'm not sure why you would want to shake a stick at any of them as the stick would most likely end up stuck somewhere you don't want it to be. What I really like about this franchise is the constant banter between characters that is not only smart and genuinely funny, but it is jam packed with references and quotes from the movies that made some of these guys household names in the first place. The story is pretty generic which is expected and it really bogs down towards the end of the second act, but you know what...who cares. This movie is all about the action, the stars, and the fairly obvious stunt doubles who do all the stuff that guys in their 70's aren't allowed to do.
One of the more pleasant surprises is how the newest members of the Expendables cast come up with some of the most entertaining moments. Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammer are very funny as they clearly take the opportunity to ham it up and really have fun with their roles, but it is none other than Mr. Antonio Benderas who more often than not steals the show while playing an overly emotional loner who just wants to be part of the group. His hyper activity and non stop story telling are freaking hilarious and he delivers some of the best lines in the entire movie. One drawback to the casting is the inclusion of what is supposed to be the next generation of Expendables, but collectively, Rousey, Ortiz, Glen Powell, and Kellan Lutz have about as much personality and charisma as Banderas has in his left pinky toe...if that. Other than Rousey doing some serious booty bashing with her superbly superior MMA skills, none of them really bring anything noteworthy to the film.
Anyone who complains about the super thin story or the cookie cutter acting performances should never be allowed to watch a movie again because those people just don't get it. The Expendables 3 is all about celebrating 80's style action movies and the super star personalities from that bygone era of film making. The body count is high and the supply of bullets and exploding things is off the charts. I really had a good time watching this movie and I hope you do, too.