The Expendables 3 (2014) Review

Director: Patrick Hughes

Genre(s): Action

Runtime: 126 minutes (standard version), 131 minutes (unrated version)

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (standard version), Not Rated (unrated version)

IMDb Page

The plot for The Expendables 3 couldn’t be simpler. A team of virtuous mercenaries is hired to capture a vicious arms dealer named Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). Yep, that’s pretty much all you need to know in terms of story. Of course, the draws aren’t the twists and turns, but the massive all-star cast and the heavy-duty action scenes.

The Expendables 3 was panned by many fans of the franchise for two reasons. The first was that this was the first movie in the series to get a PG-13 rating. Yes, the violence is significantly toned-down here, but did the computer-generated carnage in the first two pictures look realistic in the first place? The second major problem is the focus on the young, up-and-coming action stars, who use up precious screentime that could’ve been spent on the classic actors. I can’t defend this move, but the retro stars still get plenty of time to shine.

Despite a lack of blood and guts, the action sequences here are just as exhilarating as anything in the first two. The grand finale in a bombed-out casino – the perfect playground for mayhem – is prolonged and expertly-handled. The tone’s pretty light, but the villain, played by Mel Gibson, adds just enough intimidation to prevent the film from feeling flimsy or excessively jokey.

The cast is stuffed with almost too many stars and the violence feels a little restrained, but the novelty of seeing so many action legends working their magic hasn’t worn off yet. Harrison Ford, who plays Drummer, the government agent who hires the mercenary team in the first place, is a real scene-stealer. Despite drawing lots of flak, I think this is a great time at the movies. Unless all you’re craving is gore, I don’t see how an action buff can walk away from that final battle feeling unsatisfied.

My rating is 9 outta 10.

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