'The Expendables 3' high on action, low on performance (Movie Review)
Posted on Aug 22 2014 | IANS
By Troy Ribeiro: Film- "The Expendables 3"; Cast- Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Jason Statham, Kellan Lutz, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell and Victor Ortiz; Director- Patrick Hughes; Rating- *1/2
"Age is only a state of mind" - this statement that I heard in the film, immediately made my mind wander and think about all possible quotes and phrases on 'age' to analyse this film.
To be young at heart is one thing and to act your age is another, sums up "The Expendables 3".
It is difficult to train old dogs to perform new tricks. Director Patrick Hughes finds himself in a similar situation, with actors who are past their prime offering deliberate histrionics and calculated pauses in this high-voltage action-drama.
Packed with unimaginative cameos and listless violence, the film offers nothing new or exciting to its audience. Like the earlier two films from the same franchise, this one too is about a group of death seeking mercenaries hired to do the CIA's dirty work.
They are 'The Expendables' because nobody would care if they would live or die executing their mission, which is not only dangerous but also a top secret.
The film begins on an intriguing note, when an ammunition firing helicopter with CIA contractor Barney Ross (Sylverster Stallone) and his team, that includes Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture) trail a speeding Armoured Prison Transport. The high-octane drama is to rescue one of Ross's former colleagues, the knife expert Doc (Wesley Snipes).
Once Doc is carefully secured and introduced to the team, the narration shifts to the coast of Mogadishu in Somalia on a mission to apprehend a notorious arms dealer.
It is during this Somalian raid that they discover that their target is actually Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), one of The Expendables' co-founders, who Ross was convinced he'd killed years earlier when Stonebanks went rogue. After the mission goes awry, they abort their attack enabling Stonebanks to escape.
Meanwhile, the CIA handler Max Drummer (Harrison Ford) confronts Ross and gives him one final chance to apprehend Stonebanks.
Convinced that the Mogadishu incident demonstrated that his comrades are past their prime, Ross splits from his team and assembles a new crew with the help of head-hunter Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer).
He travels all over from Moscow to Las Vegas to Mexico to New York City to recruit a younger, fitter and more tech-savvy team, adding ace sniper Mars (Victor Ortiz), computer hacker Thorn (Glen Powell), martial artist Luna (Ronda Rousey) and former Navy SEAL Smilee (Kellan Lutz) to go after Stonebanks in Bulgaria, where he is hiding with an army of mercenaries.
The outcome is rather obvious.
On the performance front, Antonio Banderas excels as the motor-mouthed wannabe merecenary Galgo. He brings much of the comic relief to the otherwise sagging tale. Mel Gibson is passable and the rest of the cast is deplorable.
Brian Tyler's background score is good. The song at the end, Neil Young's "Old Man," is well amalgamated into the script.
Overall, the screenplay is dull and predictable. It is crammed with either full-on absurd action scenes or with lackluster close-ups with droning dialogues. The speech too lacks punch and passion.
The composite plot does nothing to generate suspense and the film gets to you in a while.
What keeps you hooked is your patience or your fancy craze to see the once glorious A-list action stars perform. By and large, "The Expendables 3" may appeal only to front benchers who enjoy the adrenaline rush of mindless violence.