Like a cinematic Energiser Bunny, Sylvester Stallone keeps on going. Becoming an unstoppable action force with the Rocky and Rambo franchises, his longevity is to be admired. Whilst he has made his fair share of clunkers and isn’t the world’s greatest actor, his lazy charm has made even the biggest disasters vaguely watchable.
The Expendables 3 is the latest to utilise his brawny talents. As silly as many of his other movies, it’s macho escapist fantasy of the highest order is sure to please his enduringly dedicated fans.
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) leads a group of mercenaries for hire. Their current mission is to free one of their former comrades, Dr Death (Wesley Snipes). With his help they are able to confront a deadly enemy in the form of Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). Bearing a savage grudge against Ross, Stonebanks aims to destroy The Expendables. Gathering together his beefcake army, Ross ensures they are equipped with an armada of weapons to take on the fight of their lives.
The questions one asks when watching The Expendables 3 is: ‘does it entertain?’ and ‘is the action spectacular?’ That’s all anyone needs ask as it isn’t an acting or directing piece. It answers those questions with a generally resounding yes despite it feeling less energetic than previous installments. Blame could be laid on a predictable script and Patrick Hughes’ ponderous direction. It’s a bloated outing with the 2 hr plus run-time sapping any much needed focus.
To its credit The Expendables 3 doesn’t skimp on its action scenes. There are plenty of explosions and gun fights to satisfy the most blood-thirsty of viewers. It’s all done with tongue firmly in cheek and is aided by the cast’s genuine chemistry. Whilst the overload of characters means we only receive sketchy portraits, it is fun seeing the likes of Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger take another trip around the action road.
The Expendables 3 is reasonably entertaining although the series is showing signs of creative lethargy. The proposed 4th outing needs to be better if it is to endure. Despite any shortcomings, Stallone’s lumbering heroism will always be embraced by his loyal fan base.
Review by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 6