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D.A. lives on Skullcrusher Mountain with his super-hero (for now) girlfriend and ever-growing army of feline followers. They will take over the world as soon as catnip and LED lights bore them so the world is safe...for now. He digs comics, television and video games. All three. At the same time. He also loves to write and is working on his first novel! Find him on Twitter: @DABlankenship1

Third Time’s Not the Charm: The Expendables 3

The first installment of The Expendables blasted into theaters in 2010 with an ensemble cast of actors from two decades of action films. Sylvester Stallone tapped known action stars like Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren and added newer stars and mixed martial artists like Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Jet Li. The idea wasn’t new but the idea of making action films with a cast of action stars that poked fun at itself was. Inside jokes and nostalgia existed for old school action film fans. New audiences met these older warriors while older fans get to connect with  present–day action heroes who’ve made their own careers in the business.

the-expendables-3

Image Credit: Lions Gate Entertainment

The Expendables 3 takes the buddy-mercenary movie formula to a new level. Patrick Hughes brings back our band of brothers while introducing us to a fresh crop of younger action stars and mixed–martial artists. Stallone returns as Barney Ross, the leader and the link between the two generations of warriors. The movie hits the ground running with the team rescuing Wesley Snipes’ Doctor Death from an eight–year prison stint. Snipes, like everyone else, is playing pretty much every character he’s ever played in one role. The team is nearly killed when they encounter Conrad Stonebanks, played by Mel Gibson, the former co-founder of The Expendables. Ross and Stonebanks were best friends but now they’re bitter enemies.

Instead of filling in his team, he disbands the Expendables and calls up Kelsey Grammer’s Napoleon to help him recruit a new team for Barney’s revenge plot. This part of the movie rings hollow. Ross cares enough about his friends to push them out but recruits a team of youths to join him on what he admits is a suicide mission. Ross only chooses to bring in his old team when the new team gets captured and brings in his old friends  guests Trench, Drummer and Yin Yang (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford and Jet Li, respectively).

The action in this film is brilliant but it doesn’t distract from the lack of story and character development. Stonebanks and Drummer are the most developed characters in the movie.  Gibson is written just a step above mustache–twirling monster but manages to give Stonebanks a bit more depth with his performance. Drummer is the company man in the suit who used to raise hell in the field and still does when you let him. Ronda Rousey’s Luna could be Barney’s daughter as they wear the same trademark scowl for most of the show. The action is almost non–stop until the end where the audience finally gets a chance to process everything. The movie doesn’t overtly leave room for a sequel but two more are confirmed. Who will Stallone bring in next? Only time will tell.

The Expendables 3 won’t be nominated for Academy Awards but it’s a good way to spend two hours.

My verdict: Wait for the DVD and have a bad movie night with the first two.

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