Is The Expendables 3 worth watching? Did you like the first two Expendables films? Then go right ahead and watch it. It’s pretty much more of the same as the last two movies with a few minor changes here and there. Does it elevate the genre to a new level? Hell no. It’s so caught up in its ’80s self to try anything too different, yet acknowledges that they can’t do this forever. Throw in some younger actors to go along side the new ones, and boom. Expendables 3.
In the previous Expendables films, you get Stallone as the main character with one or two other characters taking up most of the focus. Here, Stallone is really the only main character. Because of what happens in the story, pretty much all the other older guys get sidelined for about 30 minutes for a look at the new guys. Then those guys get sidelined for a while to bring back the old guys. Then the old guys and new guys get together for a big 30 minute action scene. My main problem with all of the Expendables films is that we don’t get what we were promised with such a large cast. Most people are just there for the sake of being there. This is amplified because each person that is not Stallone gets less screen time.
I will say, some characters do get some great moments in their small screen time. Antonio Banderas is maybe in this film for 4 scenes totally about 30 minutes or so. Every moment he is on screen it is golden. He is having so much fun and it projects onto us. There’s almost not a single line he says that is funny. And on top of that, he’s a badass.
With the ridiculously large cast being one of the major selling points, the other is the ridiculous over-the-top action. There’s 4 main action set pieces. First one is right as the movie starts with a small team of Expendables on a helicopter taking over a train. It’s great. Then some more of the team raiding a shipping yard, also awesome. Then we get a non-action scene of the new, younger, team recruitment with Kelsey Grammer, which is pretty cool. The first two action scenes are an ’80s style bust in guns blazing, testosterone filled manic craziness.
With the new guys, there’s a joke about this, then they have a “new school” style action scene. Instead of brute force they use technology and tactics. It’s a nice contrast of old and new styles. After that, there’s about 20 minutes of “story” I guess. Then we get both the new and the old guys together for a big “We’re surrounded, let’s escape” scene. Here everyone gets moments to shine, none of which are as fun as Antonio Banderas. Have I mentioned how awesome Antonio Banderas is in this movie? Because he’s awesome!
There’s two types of action movies: Die Hard and Avengers.
Die Hard is a story/character driven action movie with consequences for actions. Character get hurt, maybe even die, from wounds from bullets, falls, punches, etc. At the end of Die Hard John is bloody, limping, and needed help to walk. The stakes are high, and not just stakes for the sake of plot, but the character’s lives.
Then you have The Avengers where there’s really no fear of consequence. The characters are cool, but you never feel like at any moment these people are going to die. You’re here for the action and the fun.
Expendables 3 is an Avengers type of action movie.
RECOMMENDED for those that enjoyed the first two films.