Technical assessment: 2.5 Moral assessment: 2.5 CINEMA rating: V14
Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team of retirable former something of the military intercept a shipment of bombs meant for a Somalian warlord but is shocked to see Expendable co-founder turned traitor Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who is believed to be dead, to be the man behind the dealing. Ross, in order to protect his old friends, assembles a younger team to run after Stonebanks but the latter evades capture and instead imprisons the younger members as a trap for Ross. Ross is forced to reassemble his old team with a few additions of equally retirable ex-experts to save the younger Expendables and eventually end Stonebanks’ crimes.
It is excruciating to watch all these 80s-90s action heroes struggling to relive their glory moments via an equally excruciating movie. With all the big names with no real acting prowess packed into a plot which can be told in 20 minutes, one can just image the ingenuity needed to sustain the movie for two hours. Between the gist of the story are endless repetitive action sequences aimed to remind the audience that the actor had a career once and unfortunately reinforced that he could only manage two expressions at most. Only Mel Gibson, who must have had an offer he could not refuse for allowing himself to be associated with the movie, and Antonio Banderas, gave some level of depth and enjoyment in their respective character portrayals. That the technical aspects are above average is irrelevant because frankly it is expected for the obvious investment producers poured in. With all the big stars in movie, producers are bound to hit enough patrons who adored the once upon a time action heroes or are just curious to see how badly they’ve aged. Other than this, we cannot think of any other reason why one will withstand 120 minutes of idiocy.
Somewhere in the muddled storyline and monotonous chasing and explosions, one character utters, in a desperate attempt to pour in some heart and soul in the film, that for their mission /objective to succeed, they have to work together –set aside their differences and be a team. So that about sums the decency of Expendables 3. Quite true and honorable but really—can two lines salvage the poor narrative, ridiculous characters and senseless and tiresome testosterone overkill? It does not help that at the end of the film, supposed morally upright Ross choses to kill Stonebanks just because he had enough of the latter’s evil ways. Thankfully, most of the fans would be aged 40 and above so there may be little danger in sending the wrong messages.