Eye on Film: Expendables 3

There are good movies, bad movies, and then there are movies like Expendables 3.  Forced to put its awesomeness into words, one can describe it as an action adventure comedy.

Written by Sylvester Stallone and directed by Patrick Hughes, the Expendables 3 is the third installment in a franchise that few could have even imagined would have gained as big a cult following as it has.  It’s somewhat campy with large doses of 80s style action, complete with motorcycle acrobatics, helicopter dogfights, and a veritable hurricane of machine gun fire. One would have thought this were a summer blockbuster from 1985 as it is reminiscent of, or contained some homage to, just about every mid-80s action film that one can think of.  It’s Rambo, Commando and Eraser all rolled up into one action packed film.  Gone from the last Expendables movie is Bruce Willis due to squabbles over money. But the gang of Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Jason Statham, Terry Crews and Sylvester Stallone are joined by fellow former action film stars Wesley Snipes, Jet Li and Arnold Schwarzenegger. And just when you think you’ve got the right amount of recognizable faces, in comes Kelsey Grammer and Harrison Ford. 

In this third installment, the team is in trouble again as arch nemesis Stonewall (Mel Gibson) returns and the unit is in need of back up. Retiring the aging squad, a team of fighting millennials are hired, featuring actors Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, and Victor Cruz. Called in to level the playing field as the army of a small nation is closing in to seal their fate, the action sequences are well choreographed, plentiful, and in hilarious b-movie-like form, over the top and a bit unrealistic. But that’s what makes this film funny. The lack of realism doesn’t matter as the rollicking roller coaster ride of a movie brings jokes about itself and old school film references at a rapid fire pace. 

Great seeing Wesley Snipes back on the big screen after serving time for tax evasion, his wit and comic timing were on point.  But everyone – including a super funny appearance by Antonia Banderas – has their fair share of comedic moments. 

Truthfully, Expendables 3 was just as much a comedy as it was an action film. Ronda Rousey’s signature scowl was cheesy enough to bring the b-movie feel.  However, the very same moves that have made her the biggest female MMA fighter in history, are on full display showing her kicking multiple butts throughout the movie. In addition, Harrison Ford’s dry brand of humor was blended with the clowning of Schwarzenegger, as not a single A-lister failed in making fun of themselves.

Expendables 3 had just about everything you could possibly want from a testosterone driven send up to the 80s. Never taking itself too serious, this movie makes the viewer forget about the impossible nature of stunts, overacting of its leads, and the fact that none of this could actually happen.

Being the best of the prior Expendables films, The Shadow League gives Expendables 3 a B.




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