Crash, bang and a lot of wallop: Sylvester Stallone and his merry men of 80’s and 90’s big name, big screen action heroes return for a third outing of The Expendables franchise, which is essentially a well paid, cushy gig to relive their glory days of killing lots of people and acting badly.
Although it felt very much like a 120 minute extreme close-up of Rocky’s face, I can confirm that the likes of Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren have reprised their roles, whilst new faces include Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, Harrison Ford and a bunch of younger, unknown newbies. Over 50, been in an action film pre-1999 and need a career boost? Slyvester’s your man, guys.
In an attempt to add some emotional depth to a film that, quite frankly, is as subtle as a shotgun, Expendables leader Barney (Stallone) looks to freshen up his team with some new blood after disaster strikes and one of his regulars, Caesar (Terry Crows), is seriously injured by the villain of the piece, the brilliantly named Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). Stonebanks – a name you have just got to love – is a former Expendables, and he and Barney have beef – and a lot of it – as things get extremely personal between the pair.
Like most successful football teams, a perfect mix of youth and experience seems to be the order of the day for the gang of glorified bounty hunters – or at least that is what it seemed they were trying to get at. Partrick Hughes’ film does exactly what you expect of it: action, action, action, mixed with a bit more action for good measure. Like the previous two films – although, in its credit to a lesser extent – it features the expected clichés, stereotypes and references to past film endeavours of its cast members, but taking it for what it is – cheesy action – it is not badly done, albeit it does become somewhat tedious.
You can not tell whether they are trying to be intentionally funny or not with some of the films sequences – we can only hope they are – but seeing Harrison Ford play a game of high-stakes flight simulator, Stallone deliver some of the most emotionally deprived lines of dialogue you will ever likely see, and a brilliantly done comical Platoon-esque death scene at the end, it is a laugh. They do play on it – to their credit – but even when they try and be serious, oh my, it can make you chuckle.
The cigar smoking, beer swigging former icons have still got some juice in the ol’ tank. When Jason Statham’s showing the rest up in the acting stakes, you know its not high-end drama, but these boys – and new girl Luna (Ronda Rousey) – know how to kick some serious butt. It is not much, but it has action value, and people will enjoy it. There is one thing for sure, The Expendables will keep on rolling.