I have to be honest, I gave this movie an advantage by accident. See, I showed up for it a half hour early because I had the wrong start time. I hate waiting so I walked over to Applebee's, sat at the bar and had a drink. Well, that turned into three or four drinks and before I knew it, I was drunk. I staggered over to the theater, bought a popcorn that was too big for me and plopped down for the movie. When you think about it though, that's a perfect metaphor for The Expendables franchise; you know it's not good for you but you just can't stop yourself from enjoying it. Sure, you may not feel too well when it's all done but you'll have a pretty good time while you're in it.
This film series that prides itself on being nothing but mindless shoot-em-ups is now in its third installment and it's more of the same. The only difference is that along with the returning cast members of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Swarzenegger, Jason Statham (Transporter, Snatch), and Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, Masters of the Universe) are joined by a lot of new faces. The old timers that were added are inspired and brilliant; we have Wesley Snipes (the Blade trilogy, To Wong Foo), Kelsey Grammar (X-Men 2, Fraiser), Antonio Banderas (Desperado, the Shrek films), Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson.
All these A-listers showing up in the series for the first time is excellent and elevates the film to a new level. Banderas especially is hilarious as an out-of-work mercenary who is thrilled that he's just part of a team again. His character is stupid and silly but Banderas' commitment to it is pretty awesome. I also love seeing Gibson in a film again. I know he's an a-hole in real life but the man is a talented actor and even more talented director; I hate that Hollywood has turned its back on him. He's the villain in The Expendables 3 and he seems like he hasn't missed a beat during his hiatis. Like all the characters in this series, it's cliche and paper-thin but Gibson plays it perfectly.
Where the movie is pretty off-putting is the painfully obvious addition of new, younger characters. I don't mind it when a film franchise is reset with new characters. If you're a huge fan of the series it's exciting to know that a new team will carry the torch onward. The first problem with these new characters is that they're played by Kellan Lutz (the Twilight series), Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises), professional boxer Victor Ortiz and super sexy MMA fighter Ronda Rousey. You might be thinking to yourself, "WTF?" Yeah, that's exactly right. If these are the people that Stallone has invested his retirement fund in, he's in trouble. The other problem with it is that, even if they were good actors, which they're not, that's not what makes The Expendables fun. You watch these movies to see an all-star cast of ghosts of action film past dust off their fists, do some deep stretches and get back out there doing things you thought you'd never see them do again. Without that, it's just another sh**ty action movie.
It's common that people get disgusted by a franchise that feels like it's squeezing blood from a Stallone...I mean stone. This film doesn't feel like it yet. In fact, I think it's the best in the series but that's like being the skinniest kid at Fat Camp. They're bad films that are fun to watch. Again, that's why it's appropriate that I watched this with a brain falsely wired on alcohol, salt, sugar and fat. When I sobered up halfway through, I did feel a little gross enjoying the film as much as I did. But if you're considering going to see The Expendables 3, you know exactly what you're getting into and you know whether or not you want to see way before you read this sentence.