Quick Movie Review: The Expendables 3 (2014)

The Expendables series would be like if Sylvester Stallone invited you to a party that he has every so often at his house. You want to go because you know it’s gonna be like a who’s who of action stars there. However, you have to drive 2 hours and 6 minutes to get there, and when you arrive there’s no music and no drinks–just everyone standing around watching these action stars talk to each other. In the moment it’s great and you can’t believe that you’re there experiencing all of that. You listen to their stories, and laugh as they poke fun at each other. But after it’s all over, you realize that you didn’t talk to a single one of them. You didn’t even take any pictures. You’re not sure if you’ll remember anything that happened other than the fact that you were there and they were there. Nonetheless, it was still pretty cool when you think back on it.

If you’re a fan of 80s and 90s action films, you will enjoy yourself here. But when it comes down to it, it’s just not a great movie. We come to see all of these huge names in one film, and leave wanting them all to be used a little better. The script is bad and the acting is mediocre, but it is entertaining nonetheless. It’s occasionally slow in the first hour or so–not including the enjoyable Wesley Snipes-focused 1st act. But we love how it keeps us laughing and continues to laugh at itself. 

While the acting is expectedly average, Mel Gibson steals the show. And the thing that this film does the most right is giving him a good amount of screen time. His character and Stallone’s character used to run together until there was some sort of betrayal or something (it wasn’t terribly clear). However, the script fails to let us feel that tension or to sense any deep-rooted emotions in order to give the drama between the two any significance. But let’s face it, the only reason why you sit through these films is to see all of these guys in one place–not for the stories. It’s the only thing that’s keeping it from getting a February release. 

Better than the first, but not as good as the second, The Expendables 3 is a great idea on paper. It could even be a great idea on the screen, but much of the plot is confused and meandering. What made the last one better was its dark tone and a sense of urgency in the premise. Throw in a nice twist towards the end and it satisfies the audience’s needs. In this one, nothing caught us by surprise and it seemed like there was more focus on cramming everyone into the film. If done right, it would have felt much more relaxed and natural. 

Overall, the pacing is frustratingly uneven and Wesley is underutilized, but The Expendables 3 never takes itself too seriously and that’s why we keep coming back.

Twizard Rating: 67

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