“The Expendables 3”: New Faces, Classic Action


“The Expendables 3” is the long-awaited third installment and is packed with some of Hollywood’s favorite testosterone-packed action heroes. The sheer number of famous faces in this film is staggering, with fan favorites like Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson – just to name a few – returning to the big screen for one massive reunion.

“The Expendables 3” is strikingly similar to the first two films. Fans who are simply looking for another fun fest with the likes of familiar faces such as Schwarzenegger and Stallone are sure to be pleased by its formulaic plot. However, fans who are – perhaps unfairly – expecting something completely fresh and unique might not be satisfied by what is really homage to the first two films as opposed to a brand-new story. The banter between the characters is the same as the original movies, and the same can be said for the locations and plot.

That said, “The Expendables 3” looks and feels like an action blockbuster from the 1980s. If it had been a completely fresh take on the tried-and-true story, that might not have been the case. The actors’ fan bases are largely made up of viewers who grew up with those ’80s action flicks, so it’s easy to see why “The Expendables 3” needed to be somewhat formulaic. Otherwise, it may not have appealed to its biggest target audience. Keeping it close to the original was likely a wise move.

For fans of action movies, the cast of “The Expendables 3” seems almost too good to be true. Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson are just a few of the many familiar faces viewers will recognize as they watch the story unfold. Newer faces like Kellan Lutz, best known for his role as a tough-but-lovable vampire in the “Twilight” series, makes an appearance alongside these beloved action stars.

The plot of “The Expendables 3” seamlessly brings in the new blood by having Stallone’s character decide to add some younger muscle to the team. This means sending some of the tried-and-true warriors to retirement, but Stallone is all about business and doesn’t put his personal feelings first. He teams up with an ex-mercenary, played by Kelsey Grammer, and begins his hunt for replacement “expendables.” Along the way, they pick up a variety of oddball characters like ex-Navy “Smilee,” combat queen “Luna” and expert hacker “Thorn.” These new expendables are much like the old ones, paving the way for future films with younger actors, but the seniors still get to enjoy most of the spotlight.

Of course, no action film would be complete without a villain. Mel Gibson fits the bill as Conrad Stonebanks, an eccentric arms dealer with a passion for buying artwork he hates. The clash between Gibson and Stallone has a strong buildup and results in the exciting battle fans have been hoping for. In a sense, “The Expendables 3” pits Rambo against Rocky, and it’s pulled off effortlessly.

This movie is packed with the kind of action viewers expect from a film with such an exciting cast. It is not quite as violent as the first two films, resulting in a “PG-13” rating that might attract a younger fan base, but it still has plenty of old-fashioned chaos. The action scenes range from a moving train that must serve as a helicopter landing pad to speedboat pursuits and more. These exciting yet classic sequences are what really solidify this installment as paying homage to classic 1980s action films.

“The Expendables 3” has plenty of humor without crossing the line into becoming a comedy. The comic relief is especially appreciated when it’s sandwiched between action scenes. As should be expected from such a diverse cast, the sarcastic bickering and jabs between old rivals give “The Expendables 3” a unique tone among action movies. Well-timed references to the many actors’ past films and a few creative pop culture jokes are most likely thanks to Stallone himself. Stallone helped write the script and even included a few jokes about his own personal life, including his recent arrest.