Sly Stallone returns with his team of movie heroes to save the world from Mel Gibson’s ruthless arms dealer. This fun, action-adventure is out on DVD & Blu-ray Dec 8th
Sly Stallone is back again with his geriatric army of erstwhile movie heroes to save the world from a cliched, formulaic and ultimately stupid villain. I’m reminded of something Geoffrey Macnab of the Independent said in his review: “Stallone is the square-jawed hero. Gibson is the square-jawed villain – and that’s about as much story as we get.” The success of the first two Expendable films meant that a third instalment was almost inevitable if not totally warranted. Yet, part 3 is what we’ve got, and it arrives on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on December 8th.
Red Hill director Patrick Hughes is given the unenviable task of bringing this ensemble cast of egos and muscle to the screen. He presumably agreed to the decision to limit the film’s action to that of the PG-13 variety which, in many critics’ eyes, is the main reason behind part 3’s failings (the first and second films were both rated “R”). Writers Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt are brought in to make sense of Sylvester Stallone’s script but this might be one battle no one is equipped to win.
Picking up the story of “The Expendables” following 2012’s “chapter”, we join the group as they go head-to-head with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a rather nasty arms dealer and co-founder of the Expendables who has now set his sights on destroying his creation. If you can’t question Stonebanks’ motivation then you can at least draw attention to his severe miscalculation. Given that the group of guys he’s decided to mess with includes Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger, you’d have to ask: “do you really think you’ve got a chance?”
Stallone was eager to reach a younger audience with this film, saying that he sought a PG-13 rating to encourage a broader appeal. Certainly, the film was able to welcome more youthful viewers but some of its gritty appeal is lost. But that isn’t to say the critics were totally against it as some found entertainment despite the flaws. Rich Cline of ContactMusic.com said: “Striking a tone somewhere between the po-faced original and the silly Part 2, this rampaging action nonsense is badly overcrowded and chaotic, but there’s plenty of comedy and whizzy stuntwork to keep the audience entertained.” Evan Williams of The Australian was even more enthusiastic, saying: “Yes, it’s pretty much the same mixture as before, but slicker and more polished, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.”
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