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Movie Review - "The Expendables 3"

The Movie Hole

Movie Review - "The Expendables 3"

JJ Mortimer

To all the people who downloaded the movie when it was illegally posted online and watched it at home instead of in a theater - go pour water on your favorite body part and stick it in an electrical outlet.

First, I must say that my expectations going into this movie were moderate at best.  The PG-13 downgraded rating was one of the factors because the whole point of making the original Expendables film was to be an 80s throwback with gratuitous violence, ass-kicking, and body-exploding death.  The second film followed that nature even better than the first.  So, knowing that Stallone-and-Co. decided to keep the film a little lighter in tone turned me off a bit.

These guys made the 80s R-rated.  Let them at it!

These guys made the 80s R-rated.  Let them at it!

In a way, I was wrong.  The film was thoroughly enjoyable regardless of its rating, and mainly because of the fun you could feel oozing out of the actors involved.  The big plus this time around was with the dialogue.  In the earlier films, I felt like there was a lot of empty space, or places where there were jokes being built up or lines that were leading toward a punchline or a purpose that never quite did what they seemed to be intending.  In this film, Stallone had help from two other writers and it is noticeable.  They also cast the thing like a live-action film version of "Six Degrees of Whoever the Fuck They Want" (formerly Kevin Bacon).  Seriously, if Kevin Bacon were in this film, that game would no longer exist because nearly everyone in this film has been in a movie with each other.  Watching this film, you might watch a couple actors talking to each other, only a moment later going, "Oh shit, they were in Demolition Man together!"

Most of the best parts of the film come from the newest characters.  Wesley Snipes gives us a nice throwback line to his real life prison troubles. Antonio Banderas is great comic relief as a manic motormouth who just doesn't know when to shut the hell up.  Kesley Grammer has one the funniest moments in the film as Stallone's friend who helps him find new mercenary talent.  And Ronda Rousey is fine as long as she's just beating the shit out of people and not saying anything or looking at the camera with her permanent look of pissed-off disgust toward the world.

She could have been worse.  A LOT worse.  Like, Sofia Coppola worse.  Nothing is THAT bad though.  Except for Sofia Coppola.

She could have been worse.  A LOT worse.  Like, Sofia Coppola worse.  Nothing is THAT bad though.  Except for Sofia Coppola.

There's not much in the way of story, which isn't even the reason anyone went to see the other Expendables films to begin with.  This film has something to do with Mel Gibson's character being a former member of Stallone's team who turned sour, essentially becoming a ploy to bring the old team back together once more for one final mission.  I also have to note that it was great to see Gibson in fine form once again, playing a worthy villain with some appropriately vile dialogue.  You get the impression the man really is a very dangerous human being, even if his apparent demise is a bit hampered by the PG-13 rating (especially when compared to what Stallone did to Jean-Claude Van Damme's character in the second film).

Still pretty fucking nuts.

Still pretty fucking nuts.

Everyone here is having fun.  Harrison Ford, playing Bruce Willis' CIA replacement, is an excellent addition and gets the sole F-word in the entire movie.  Arnold "Get to the Choppah" Schwarzenegger literally looks like he's playing a video game while filming his scenes, enjoying the hell out of every machine gun-toting moment with destructive glee.  The new younger members aren't as annoying as I thought they would be, and set up the inherent regrouping of the old guys in an appropriate manner.  My main concern with this film was that the casting of younger actors was in some way going to be a "handing over of the torch" kind of situation, and indeed it was not.  The old guys are still the bad-ass mo-fos we want them to be.

No words needed. 

No words needed. 

The inevitable giant action scene in the last act of the film is extravagant and fun, albeit totally unbelievable.  Not a single scratch is seen on the team afterward, despite having to take out multiple helicopters, a few tanks, and about a hundred well-armed soldiers working for one of the most dangerous men on the planet.  Even Stallone's inevitable meet-up with his arch nemesis results in a complete lack of bruising upon his rubbery face.

In the end, my favorite of the three films is still the second one, but not by far.  The third is the more complete of the three as an actual film, with dialogue that fits and doesn't feel loose and empty at times.  Mel Gibson is a worthy villain, but Van Damme was the best from the second film.  The opportunity for gore was there but was sorely missing, especially with the promises that an inevitable match-up between two characters was making.

I also wanted THIS blowing up more bad guys into heaps of meat and respect.

I also wanted THIS blowing up more bad guys into heaps of meat and respect.

POSITIVES:

1)  The film has better pacing than the previous two films.

2)  The funniest of the three in terms of dialogue and payoff of jokes and character qualities

3)  Numerous throwbacks to many of the actor's previous films and real-life problems adds to a very nice, light-hearted feeling to the violence.

4)  Composer Brian Tyler's main theme is fucking awesome

5)  Well shot, well-edited

 

NEGATIVES:

1)  The reason for the first two movies existing is somewhat hampered by the choice to make the film PG-13, in turn kind of making it a bit of what the first Expendables was trying to veer away from in today's action films.

2)  Because seeing Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone in the same scene together is so awesome, I just wonder at how awesome it would have been had Bruce Willis also been here with them.

3)  No Chuck Norris.