Rental Corner: “Expendables 3” packs action but little boom
While I’m not a big fan of “The Expendables” franchise, what I do admire is how they are taking well-known action stars and crossing them over. The plots are nothing special as they tread cliche storylines from movies like Rambo or Die Hard. The franchise concerns a group of mercenaries that are set out to do missions outside the American soil to avoid terrorism and stuff like that. The first film was explosive seeing Sylvester Stallone work with Jet Li or Jason Statham along with how much effort it took to get these stars together. The series itself is very tounge-in-cheek but not to the point where its too “wink to the camera.” The third one on the hand has some good ideas and concepts but feels lacking.
Barney Ross (Stallone) returns as they plan to track down a new baddie played by Mel Gibson who is targeted for a never-ending line of war crimes. But when one of his crew mates gets injured close to death, Barney has no choice but to rely on a new crew to try and take out the wanted fiend. And this is where my main problem comes in. Not the concept of having a new crew but where they take it. Maybe its because I’m not up to date with the current trend of today’s action stars but I found Barney’s new members forgettable. They are all labeled by their personalities and what they do than rather let them be diverse. But isn’t that the point of a team? They have to have different abilities in order to feel like an important part. True but there’s nothing outside of what they do that makes then stand out. Jason Statham’s character of Lee Christmas was more than a knife expert as he was always fun to watch for his angry personality but knew when to be serious and kid around. Outside of knowing technology, there is nothing else I remember.
The worst of the batch being Antonio Banderas who is surprisingly the only one I recall but for the wrong reasons. His character Galgo only exists to be annoying comic relief but to the max. Every time he’s on screen, he doesn’t remain silent. Every ounce of his dialouge can be summed up as being typed by Jar Jar Binks and acted out by Chris Tucker. In fact, if this character was played by Chris Tucker or Eddie Murphy, then I can see the comedy working for a comedic actor that be annoying but likable. But it doesn’t work knowing how slick and fast Antonio can be. This is Zorro here and all he does in this movie is talk about having social issues and constantly hitting on one of the new recruits during a raid near the end. Nothing personal as Banderas is trying to have fun with the role but I just found him unfortunately obnoxious.
The only outstanding thing outside of the action scenes, the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger says “get to the chopper,” and we get to see Harrison Ford fly a fighter jet, is that Mel Gibson gets to play a villain right. This is his second time being the antagonist and I think he does a great job here. There’s one scene when he tries to get inside Barney’s head and manipulate him that is effectively creepy and intense. Every time he was on screen, I felt engaged by his personality and menaced by his Hannibal psychology. Its a shame there’s not enough of him in it to save the movie.
Maybe the idea was to parody how lackluster the “third” film can be, but even that can be a huge risk. Satire is fine as long as viewers are rewarded. The only reward here is mindless action and seeing there was some effort in character depth here, I felt somewhat cheated. I know “The Expendables” franchise is all explosion and less brain but it doesn’t hurt to have both. “Die Hard with a Vengeance” was able to pull that off with McClaine’s character pitted against a bitter Samuel L. Jackson that made up for some great comedic moments while being entertaining. I just wish the story was stronger and the cast of new recruits were more than just a plot element or at least interesting. I don’t care if you get Wesley Snipes tossing knives or have exploding buildings. I know its an action movie but it feels too routine and one-note for me to recommend.
Posted on December 18, 2014, in Rental Corner and tagged Action flicks, Antonio Banderas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, rental corner, Sylvester Stallone, The Expendables 3, third sequel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.