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The Expendables 3

The Expendables franchise is a celebration of the 90s action hero and the sheer action-packed insanity of the genre. Generations of people have grown up watching Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Dolph Lundgren blow up our movie screens. Now in its third iteration, the goal of the franchise is to put together a bigger cast with even bigger explosions to out-macho the previous film.

The Expendables 3 opens with a massive train heist scene as Barney (Sylvester Stallone) and the remaining members of the team break out former Expendable Doc (Wesley Snipes) during a prison transport. It’s an outrageous scene that involves a helicopter, anti-aircraft cannons, and ends with the train plowing into the prison resulting in a gigantic fireball. Everything is over the top, and not only does the film know it, but fully embraces the madness.

Forget the reason why there are train tracks leading directly into the middle of the prison or why Barney blows up their helicopter in dramatic walking away fashion when the mission is done. This isn’t a franchise you watch for the thrilling storyline and plot details. It’s why you can laugh when Doc says he was in prison for “tax evasion” or why the best moment is hearing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character yell for everyone to “get to the choppa!” The actors embrace the action hero’s they’ve portrayed on screen, and it makes The Expendables 3 a fun popcorn flick.

What the film does differently than the two previous entries is that it’s slowly transitioning towards a younger generation of action stars. When Barney’s old rival, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who was presumed to be dead shows up and vows his revenge against the Expendables, Barney disbands the old team and hires a new group of young experts with a death wish.

His new team consists of John Smilee (Kellan Lutz), Luna (Ronda Rousey), Thorn (Glen Powell), and Mars (Victor Ortiz), and they represent the new generation of heroes. Of course, by the end of the film both young and old are working together to blow the ever living crap out of everything in a one mile radius, but The Expendables 3 acts as one big passing of the torch. Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and the others aren’t getting any younger.

Audiences know exactly the type of film they’re getting into with The Expendables 3. It’s nothing but over-the-top action and one-liner jokes that embrace the action hero genre. The new additions of Snipes, Gibson, and Antonio Banderas add a little variety into the mix, but with all the young Expendables too it becomes a bit overcrowded. As far as the supporting cast goes, they’re not all that memorable.

The same could be said about the film itself. The Expendables 3 is a mindless action film that is fun and entertaining. It doesn’t try to do anything fancy. As Stallone’s character tells Banderas’, sometimes you just need a little fun.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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