Directed by Patrick Hughes
As a kid I spent countless hours running around in army surplus clothing with a plastic M16 blowing away imaginary enemies.
My favourite TV shows were full of explosions, action extravaganzas like The A Team, Tour of Duty and The Fall Guy.
So I come to the Expendables franchise with a thirst, nay, a lust for big screen excitement. And while the first film was genuinely electrifying, a great mix of action and self-deprecating comedy, the second instalment failed to add anything to the equation despite the appearances of Bruce Willis, Liam Hemsworth and Chuck Norris.
Third time round and The Expendables 3 does add something new to the classic mix which this time includes Mad Max and Han Solo – a fresh generation of budding action stars to take over as the original heroes fade into retirement.
Unfortunately though the very idea of The Expendables as a greatest hits of the biggest and best of our favourite 80’s and 90’s action stars needs those very names who the latest crop seek to replace. In the future, without Stallone, Statham, Li and Lundgren, it’ll be like a bag of mixed lollies without the yummy ones. And this film leans too heavily on the class of 2014 to be considered a classic. Those five big names are there, with added Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and the inclusion once more of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it just feels tired and laboured. Kelsey Grammar does an admirable job of burning up the screen.
There’s unnecessary character exploration of the motivations of the likes of Antonio Banderas’ character Galgo – definitely one of the most irritating characters on screen so far this year, and the pacing of the action is just off.
Slow, wooden and asking us to laugh at the same old gags doesn’t leave a lot to love about this edition.
It’s not bereft of entertainment, but the shallow patches overshadow the fleeting high spots.