Four years ago, Sylvester Stallone released an explosive action thriller about a group of hard-nosed aging fighters known as “The Expendables” starring Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Statham. Two years later, he followed it with a sequel and returns for a third installment in the franchise. This time he joins forces with Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford and 11 more legends and rising stars.
Directed by Patrick Hughes (“Red Hill”), the films opens as the crew bombard a train on a mission to rescue their brother in arms Dr. Death (Snipes), a fellow ‘Expendable’ who has been locked up for 8 years. After racking up the body count, amping up the explosions and jacking up testosterone levels once again, they rescue a charismatic Snipes who appears complete with pearly white teeth and a ‘70s afro. After a bit of stifled barbed wit, which has them comparing weapons of choice (blades, guns and bullets), the motley crew of mercenaries head off to Mogadishu to take out an illegal arms dealer where there are more obligatory explosions and shootouts.
This time there’s a shocking turn of events as Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) is shot and Barney (Stallone) discovers that the ruthless arms dealer they are pursuing is his former pal and partner Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). An Expendables’ co-founder and a man he thought he had killed more than a decade ago. Determined to take out the evil Conrad by any means necessary, he retires the old crew swapping them out for a bunch of younger and digitally tuned team (Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, and Victor Ortiz) to bring fresh energy and updated skills to the team. No surprise there, but the team end up being captured by Conrad’s crew and eventually, all the Expendables, young and old are forced to fight together in a dilapidated building in Central Asia. Classic old-school tactics meet high-tech expertise as the combined team battle to survive an onslaught by Conrad’s heavily armed militia.
It’s another popcorn flick, which sees the heroes waltzing in and out of the bad guys’ lair with relative ease. The stunts are extremely over the top and the special effects unimpressive with collapsing buildings that look obviously animated. Also gone is the wisecracking, tongue-in-cheek approach we saw in the last film.
This film’s script seems thin and flimsy making this third installment appear quickly cobbled together in a franchise that feels as if it’s just built out of hype and marketing.
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