Friday, August 15, 2014

The Expendables 3 Review: A Major Missfire

In 2010, the movie world was introduce to the all star action film The Expendables. The idea was simple: gather action stars like Sylvester Stallone, Jason Stathem, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis together for one major motion picture. This film was action fans' dream come true, and the film delivered with the movie-going community. The film was such a success that a sequel went into production and The Expendables 2 hits theaters in 2012. While the movie was not as memorable as its predecessor, this sequel did well enough and it didn't kill the momentum to the action franchise. Now in 2014, the third installment of the Expendables has hit theaters.  Along with returning action stars, Expendables 3 featured new faces and a major story for the team revolving a former Expendable. The film looked to be either a conclusion or a new beginning for the franchise, but did The Expendables 3 keep the series momentum going or is time for the action stars to hang up their guns.

The Expendables 3 continues the story of Barney (Sylvester Stallone) and his group of die hard mercenaries. Things take a turn for the worse when Barney discovers that a former Expendables member, Conrad Stonback (Mel Gibson), is alive and has become a war criminal. To take Conrad down, Barney forms a new group in the hopes that Barney can defeat his former friend without risking the lives of his teammates.

The idea of the story was not bad. The concept of having a former Expendables member as the main
antagonist certainly had weight to it. However, where this may have been a good idea, it fails in the film's execution. The story took no opportunity to establish anything. The point of Conrad being the co-founder of the Expendables was not even brought until midway through the film. One would think that point would be an important factor and help shape the overall film. Instead it just gets lost with the other plot points such as the next generation of Expendables. Not only was the story uncertain of itself, but its pacing was slow. There were several moments that were padded in there so the movie could make its runtime. The progression of the plot did not seem too predictable; but then again, there was nothing memorable about the story.

The returning characters were just about the same as they have been since the first film. The difference for the third installment is that we do not see much of Jason Stathem, Terry Crews and Dolph Lundgren; which was not doing the movie any favors. However, new additions to the cast did bring something to this third installment. The movie's show stealer was no doubt Wesley Snipes as Doc. Snipe's seemed to be having fun with his role as he made each scene his own. While he could have been a stronger character with more screen time, Gibson did play a compelling villain as Conrad Stonbanks. Other additions such as Kelsey Grammar, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford were enjoyable, though Banderas could get annoying at times. Then there were the new expendables. The nicest way put this is that this team of new-blood made Liam Hemsworth's Billy the Kid look three dimensional. This new group had to be the most boring team of youthful stars you could find for an action films, and their performances didn't help either. Though Victor Ortiz and Ronda Rousey deserve some benefit of the doubt, there was no excuse why this new group of heroes couldn't be more compelling; seeing that they did take up a major portion of the film.

At this point, you could only hope that the action made up for everything else. I wish that were true, but the. action packed moments were pretty bland. There didn't seem to be any action scenes that stood out from the film's predecessors. The camera work didn't help either as the cinematography made some moments unwatchable. If the camera work wasn't bad enough, the effects for this film were horrendous. Granted, The Expendables have never had the most glamorous effects; but the cgi used for this movie was so terrible, you think you were watching a straight-to-dvd action flick

While I have never been a big fan of The Expendables, moviegoers deserve better then this. The film has some good ideas and there was an entertainment value for this third installment, but it does not make up for the mundane execution of The Expendables 3. Unless you are a die hard fan, skipping Expendables 3 may be your best option.