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Wick's Review

Created Aug 19, 2014 07:56PM PST • Edited Sep 29, 2019 05:35PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Very Good 3.5

    Barney Ross makes his third and likely last big screen appearance in The Expendables 3, an overstuffed moviestar montage. Sylvester Stallone has gathered a new crop of kick-ass action heroes to go along with his returning set of aging action heroes. Add Mel Gibson as the super-villain and you end up with a poster like the one above, stacked to the brim with stars. Every dog gets his day. Then they gotta play together.

    Patrick Hughes’ film from Stallone’s story starts off great, swooping in on an armored prison train heading for a prison fortress. (Let that one sink in for a minute.) Barney Ross & the Expendables enter the situation. It’s Big Movie Fun from then on out, till say an hour and a half in. If only The Expendables 3 ended there.

    The other problem is that none of the younger generation look like future headliners, while the older generation is stocked with `em. Stallone, Statham, Ford, Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Snipes, Lundgren, Banderas & Li is a moviestar array extraordinaire. Love `em or hate `em, each has carried several movies.

    For me, having enjoyed The Expendables 2, I ended up feeling the same about #EX3. Yes it’s got issues, but it’s a damn entertaining movie. Fans of any two of its stars are guaranteed of an overstuffed good time.

  3. Very Good 3.5
    Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross

    Stallone has crafted himself an ideal late-career character in Barney Ross, now the third of his multi-sequel personas, along with Rocky & Rambo. Though pushing 70, he can not only still take a punch, he can also take a punchline, mostly about wanting to do things that worked in 1985.

    Jason Statham as Lee Christmas & Wesley Snipes as Doc

    Statham also proves a damn good sport, as when Harrison Ford constantly says he can’t understand him.
    Snipes gets asked why he got sent to prison in Siberia. “Tax Evasion” he replies. Now that’s funny.

    Harrison Ford as Drummer & Arnold Schwarzenegger as Trench

    Ford gets in on the action at the end in a scene that is perhaps the closest he’s ever done to Han Solo.
    Schwarzenegger gets no memorable moments, but doesn’t screw anything up either.

    Dolph Lundgren as Gunnar Jensen & Antonio Banderas as Galgo

    Lundgren is downright sympathetic. Go figure.
    Banderas is a hoot, livening up a cast that really needs it. Think of this as a live-action Puss In Boots.

    Mel Gibson as Stonebanks, super villain

    Mel proves a good sport as well, embracing his reviled fate.

    Secondary Aging Action Heroes
    • Randy Couture as Toll Road: The former WWE star shows well.
    • Terry Crews as Caesar: The former NFL player and comedy veteran is perfectly cast.
    • Kelsey Grammer as Bonaparte: The big TV star easily essays a martial headhunter.
    • Jet Li as Yin Yang: The martial arts superstar is forced to fight with guns, which leaves him damn near twiddling his thumbs. Pity
    New Crop of Action Heroes
    • Ronda Rousey as Luna: Rowdy Ronda has screen presence.
    • Glen Powell as Thorn
    • Victor Ortiz as Mars
    • Kellan Lutz as Smilee
    • Robert Davi as a Mr. Big
    • Sarai Givaty as eye candy
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5
  6. Female Costars Good 3.0
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5
  8. Great 4.0

    #EX3 could of been great had Stallone trimmed it to 90 minutes. Instead he super-sized the entertainment value with a runtime exceeding two hours. Less would have been more, but then Sly doesn’t think that way.

    His story provides opportunities for every one of the notable names in the cast to have at least one closeup moment. Then his screenplay, written with Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt, gives them decent badinage to toss around, much of it playing on their personal histories of the real or cinematic variety.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Very Good 3.5
  11. Music Very Good 3.5
  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5

    Notable Credits

    • Every major star had a stunt double, plus 80 more stuntmen. That’s a lot.
    • 50 drivers
    • Lots of armorers
    • Drone Crew
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.5

    Savage violence but precious little gore. That’s how you keep it PG-13.

    Stallone’s cross to bear is that he makes war into lighthearted entertainment, which is especially questionable now that the world is living through a new age of medievally savage warfare.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.4
  16. Violence Savage 3.6
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Supernatural 3.4

    Apparent reality that’s nearly supernatural, aka IndyJones’ quality hyper-reality.

    What is hyper-reality? See my reality commentary on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

    Here it’s all in service to action porn.

  19. Circumstantial Supernatural 3.7
  20. Biological Supernatural 4.0
  21. Physical Surreal 2.6


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