I’ll keep it real, I enjoy “The Expendables” franchise because they have all the action stars I grew up on in one place. They know who they are, former blockbuster heavy weights who still have a little gas in the tank. I love the corny one-liners that allow them to make fun of each other or themselves, but this franchise needs to retire to straight to DVD land.
The third installment opens with a classic liberation stunt in which Barney (Sylvester Stallone) and the rest of The Expendables free Doc (Wesley Snipes) from a highly secured prison train in route to a maximum security prison in the middle of nowhere. From there we find the crew plus Doc going after maniacal arms dealer Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a former Expendable who is supposed to be dead.
After Stonebanks seriously injures an Caesar (Terry Crews), Barney decides to sever ties with his old crew (in a weird “I want you guys to live, but I won’t say that” move) and find the next generation to go after Stonebanks. Harrison Ford shows up and proves he can still bring major weight to a character as Drummer, a CIA agent in charge of bringing down Stonebanks and pulling the strings for Barney. This is where you can go use the restroom or refill your popcorn because the cameos start to pour in and the plot is littered with holes that you can fill in yourself with a simple “oh they assembled a team”.
Barney teams up with Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer), a scout of sorts, to find the new team. They go all over the country and world in a matter of movie minutes to find Thorn (Glen Powell) the hacker, weapons specialist Mars (Victor Ortiz), hand to hand combat expert Luna (Ronda Rousey), and soldier with authority issues Smilee (Kellan Lutz). In the midst of the search they run into Galgo (Antonio Banderas) who is quite funny as motor-mouthed Puss in Boots turned human. Once the new team is set they go after and capture Stonebanks, but are imprisoned almost as quickly as they were assembled. Hey, wasn’t there supposed to be an ultra smart tech guy on the team to know that Stonebanks had a GPS tracker on him? Alas, this movie isn’t about plot, it’s about action and blowing things up. So you know the rest. The old team has to rescue the new team.
The first couple of movies were cute, but now it’s getting a little outlandish even by Expendable standards. Snipes proves he still has the moves and comic timing! Banderas proves to be a great addition as well. Outside of them, the new crew is pretty forgettable. In the same way their characters are pawns in Barney’s plot, they’re equally pawns in Stallone’s attempt to get “The Expendables 3” movie made and poster crowded with tons of faces. I’m sure Ronda Rousey could kick my butt as the MMA fighter she is, but as the only woman on the team she was absolutely horrible. I had to turn away from her “acting” plenty of times during the film.
I’ve never watched “The Expendables” franchise in theaters until now, and that’s because I had to write this review. I wish I didn’t have to watch it in the theater because it was too long and if there wasn’t an action or fighting scene it made me look at my watch or phone for an escape. I couldn’t walk away and come back to it, or fall asleep like I do at home. Instead, I fought through the over-the-top nonsense and funny old men jokes to tell you this, “wait for it to come on your TV for free on TBS”. That’s right, I skipped the DVD, but if you want to see it on DVD let it be a dollar Redbox rental. I love seeing my former action favs, but Stallone can we expend “The Expendables” already?