Action films are an absolute blessing, and they’re quite diverse; there’s smart action films, there’s stupid action films, there’s slow action films, there’s fast action films, there’s good action, there’s bad action films and finally, there are ‘So bad it’s good’ action films. A lot of films from the 80s fall under that last category, but they are just so damn enjoyable. So it was exciting news in 2010 when we heard that there was a going to be a film that brings together all the old action stars of the 80's and some of the modern heroes we see today for a big action romp under the direction of Sylvester Stallone.
Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team are attacked by one of the original Expendables founders Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), leaving Ceaser (Terry Crews. Not Andy Serkis, unfortunately) critically injured. Taking a personal vendetta towards his former ally, Barney refuses to let his team get hurt, and leaves them to find a team of younger people to help him take down Stonebanks. But we all need a little bit of help from our friends, and it’s not long before the whole gang is back together for a nail biting battle with Stonebanks.
At the start, we meet Wesley Snipes’ character and original Expendable Doctor Death, in his first major role since being released from prison (And yes, there is a joke about tax evasion). Then we have Antonio Banderas as an overexcited war veteran and sharpshooter whose desperate to join Barney’s crew. Banderas serves as the film’s major source of comic relief, and he is hilarious. Mel Gibson plays the villain, and whilst he doesn’t do as good as a job at Van-Damme did in part two, he still kicks arse. Finally, Harrison Ford helps out returning cast members Schwarzenegger and Li (who is, again, horribly underused) and is just so bad-ass it’s unreal.
It doesn’t quite reach the heights of The Expendables 2, but it’s still as awesome as ever. The last 40 or minutes or so of this film are perhaps some of the most exciting scenes of 2014. It’s not exactly smart or a masterpiece, but it’s exactly what it needs to be: An entertaining bit of fluff. People have criticised the films for not being smart and not having much meaning, but that’s all intentional. It lacks those things for a reason: They’re unnecessary. It doesn’t need brains because it has brawn. It doesn’t need soul because it has soldiers. Those things aren’t missing, they’re right where they should be: As far away from this film as possible.
Normally I’d say they should call it quits here and get annoyed at the fact they’re making The Expendables 4, but considering how great this one was and that Pierce Brosnan is attached to it, it could better than we expect. But for now, The Expendables 3 is an exciting romp that satisfies greatly, and it’s the perfect stocking filler for the action buff in your family this Christmas!
The Expendables 3 is on DVD and Blu-Ray now