The Expendables 3

Directed By: Patrick Hughes

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Robert Davi, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

There comes a time when retirement is no longer a luxury but a duty, particularly when one's line of work demands a certain physicality.  Professional wrestling, a young man's game, has some of the best examples of why this axiom is so true.  Just look to the 65 year-old Nature Boy Ric Flair whose chops have lost quite a bit of their sting or to the 49 year-old Phenom Undertaker who shamefully lost is undefeated streak at Wrestlemania earlier this year.  At this point, all these two do by not retiring is tarnish their respective legacies.  The same principle can be applied to action stars.  With a slew of box office duds, the 68 year-old Rambo Sylvester Stallone and the 67 year-old Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger should both consider terminating their acting careers.  It's their duty.  The old action star gimmick has come and gone, and their model of action stars has expired.  The Expendables 3 makes this crystal clear.

Barney Ross (Stallone) and his crew the Expendables need another man for an upcoming mission to take down an arms dealer.  With this in mind, Barney, Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture) break out a former Expendable named Doctor Death (Wesley Snipe) from prison.  Though a medic, the original Expendable is also a knives specialist, which generates some tension with fellow knives specialist Christmas.  When the crew arrives in Somalia for the mission, they meet with Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) and get started on taking down the warlord dealing arms.  The only problem is that this warlord is Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a former Expendable Barney believes he killed long ago.  Outgunned, the Expendables are defeated, and Caesar is seriously injured.  With this stunning defeat, Barney decides to retire his current crew.  With a mission from CIA field operations officer Max Drummer (Harrison Ford) and a score to settle, however, he turns to Trench Mauser (Schwarzenegger) and Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) for a couple of favors.

The Expendables 3 boasts one accomplishment.  It reaches the pinnacle of ridiculous, cheesy filmmaking.  The names of these characters alone say it all.  Where the hell else are you going to find Doctor Death, Conrad Stonebanks, or Hale Caesar?  I'm not making this stuff up and can't think of a single film to top the latest entry into The Expendables franchise in this department.  As expected with a cast of characters like this, the premise unfolds in the most implausible manner fathomable.  Like its predecessors, this outdated action flick is incontrovertible evidence that it's time for these elder action stars to step aside for the next generation.  After all, half the cast is knocking on death's door.  These guys look more like they need canes than guns.  With more explosions and bullets than any normal human being would care to count, The Expendables 3 is an unwanted encore to a swan song that happened years ago.

As always we get a mixed bag of performances.  It's needless to say that Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger leave a lot to be desired and continue to taint their legacies.  At the ripe old age of 72, Harrison Ford has no business in an action role.  Look what happened on the set of Star Wars when he broke his leg recently.  Jason Statham has no business in these painfully sentimental scenes with his brother in combat Stallone.  As Galgo, Antonio Banderas is amusing at first but quickly becomes annoyingly silly.  The two redeeming performances come from new cast members Wesley Snipes and Mel Gibson, two veteran action stars trying to make comebacks.  Looking younger than his fellow Expendables as the Knife before Christmas Doctor Death, Snipes brings some much-needed charisma to the film to break up the monotony of poorly delivered “zingers” by his fellow cast members.  For his part as Conrad Stonebanks, Gibson makes a calculated villainous turn that connects despite all his personal issues off screen and the slew of aging action stars surrounding him.  Both Snipes and Gibson clearly have some gas left in the tank.

It's clear that The Expendables 3 misses the mark.  I'm not going to belabor the point and go overkill with this obvious critique of the film.  Like its predecessors, the film dwells in nostalgic mediocrity.  The Expendables 3 gets a 0.09% rating.  Have some whiskey sours with this one.