Bottom Line: I get what Stallone has been trying to do with this franchise – bring in a crew of well-known actors, character artists, cinema strongmen – turn on the camera, blow stuff up and the story will virtually write itself. His efforts have been hit or miss (mostly miss) the past two outings – so no reason to think this would be any more enjoyable, right? That’s what I thought until Sly himself wrapped my brain around a well written and surprisingly enjoyable little action flick that pits Rambo, Indiana Jones, Blade, The Terminator, Zorro and Frasier Crane (?!) against one particularly snarly William Wallace/Martin Riggs. They got my attention, and along the way delivered a boots-to-the-ground, kick-to-the-pants, testosterone-powered adventure that (for the most part) had me (shockingly) smiling from ear-to-ear for the better part of two-hours. Playing out like some maniacally insane, moderately gritty, gung-ho inbred offspring of a BLACK HAWK DOWN and powerless AVENGERS love tryst, this make-war-not-love, summer season bookender fires heavily on most of its geriatricly roided-out cylinders. The edge may have been softened considerably with the removal of blood (to easily warrant a more consumer friendly, PG-13 rating) and the middle might droop with a little too much time focused on the recruitment of fresh-faced, newbies – but this movie still finds an agreeable groove and hums along at a brisk pace. Agile and efficient, this is an energetically action-packed, cheerfully gut-busting, stoically gun-toting cavalcade of action stars doing what they do best. THE EXPENDABLES 3 is a brilliantly and ballistically buffoonish blast that should leave you begging for 4.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Ronda Rousey, Kellan Lutz and Kelsey Grammer
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Running time: 126 minutes
Studio description: In THE EXPENDABLES 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team come face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (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, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables -- but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables' most personal battle yet. (C) Lionsgate
Official site: www.theexpendables3film.com