Every year Hollywood releases several movies aimed specifically at an older demographic. I’m not talking about Academy Award nominated films like 2013’s, “Nebraska”, which had a broad audience appeal, but more like this year’s “And So It Goes”, with Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas, “Red 2”, with Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren, and now, Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables 3”, a slightly dusty, yet mostly enjoyable action feature.
“Expendables 3” continues the exploits of a “mature” team of mercenaries, led by Barney (Stallone, who wrote the story, and co-authored the screenplay). The guns-for-hire include Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger, with an assist from Harrison Ford, who takes the place of original cast member, Bruce Willis, cut when he demanded too much money.
The plot really doesn’t matter, it’s more of an excuse to get a bunch of 80’s action stars together to run around and blow things up, and isn’t that pretty much all we want from these guys?
In this installment, the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (a gleefully ham-fisted performance from Mel Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, is now making it his mission to destroy The Expendables.
“Expendables 3” has several things going for it that elevates it above the 2nd installment: an infusion of younger players including mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey, and heartthrob, Kellen Lutz (“Twilight”) and the very smart additions of Wesley Snipes, whose character’s absence from the previous films is explained by the fact that he has spent eight years in a Third World prison for “tax evasion” and Antonio Banderas – who steals the show as a manic new member of the gang.
“Expendables 3” is mindless summer entertainment. It’s fun to see the old gang blowing things up, and showing up some of the younger cast, and it’s delicious to see Mel Gibson’s manic and maniacal performance as the over-the-top bad guy.
The Bottom Line: “Expendables 3” won’t win any awards, but it’s a nice break from the summer heat. Sure, it’s violent, but the action is cartoony violence, and you can’t make a movie like this without blowing stuff up. Don’t bother to bring the kids or grandkids, they’ll be bored silly.
Rated: PG-13, for violence, including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language. Runs 2 hr. 6 min