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article imageReview: ‘The Expendables 3’ learns younger is not always better Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 16, 2014 in Entertainment
For viewers who enjoyed the first two films, the second sequel, ‘The Expendables 3,’ offers much of the same with a fledgling twist.
Even in the third installment, watching beloved action stars of old and recent past team up to beat the bad guy is still fun. Though The Expendables 3 essentially attempts to reboot the franchise in its infancy by replacing the whole team with younger mercenaries. The new recruits sum it all up with a closing rendition of Neil Young’s "Old Man."
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is the last original member of The Expendables — until the team rescues Doc (Wesley Snipes) from an armoured prison transport. That mission is immediately followed by a paid gig to take down an international arms dealer who turns out to be former Expendable, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). Not willing to risk his friends against a dangerous enemy, Barney retires the team and with the help of Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) puts together a new squad of crack shot kids. When the mission goes awry it'll take every gun in arsenal to make it right.
There's no shortage of explosions, gunfights or knife throwing. Outnumbered 100 to 1, it's the bodies of the hundred that litter the battlegrounds. There's a car chase, flying boat, helicopter standoff and tank assault. An entire building is leveled in a dramatic assassination attempt. Basically, it's got everything you'd expect based on the last two films.
In addition to the core five (Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture), there are a number of new faces risking life and limb for a payday — or in some cases, for kicks. The younger crew consists of Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Victor Ortiz and Glen Powell. The team is also supported by Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford. And even though Bruce Willis does not make an appearance, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li return to dish out a familiar style of comedy and action.
While the operation of the main crew remains intact — particularly the repertoire between Barney and Christmas — the fresh recruits are only effective to varying degrees. First, the good: Gibson and Banderas are excellent. Viewers may not agree with some of his personal choices, but Gibson makes an awesome screen villain. The venom with which he's able to deliver certain lines is chilling. Similarly, Banderas could not have been more perfectly cast. His character is a lone wolf desperately seeking a pack whose ears he can talk off. The movie's humour is unevenly weighted in his direction. Ford is inherently cool in any role so no discussion required. The only disappointment in respect to his part is the lack of any comic reference to either Indiana Jones or Hans Solo. And Grammer owns one of the best jokes in the picture. Snipes, on the other hand, contributes little to the film's entertainment value, perhaps having never regained a personality after shooting the Blade trilogy. Finally, the younger actors really only decrease the average age of the performers.
A bit of a step down from the second movie, this one is still enjoyable as it continues down the same path as its predecessors with a few unnecessary bends in the road.
Director: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Mel Gibson
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