The Expendables 3, directed by Patrick Hughes, is the continuation of the Expendables franchise, where we have the honor (or dishonor) of watching our favorite 80s and 90s action stars team up to defeat a common baddie. In this movie, the crew unite to take down Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a ruthless illegal arms trader who also happens to be a former expendable. Our crew of protagonists include: Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Doc (Wesley Snipes), Trench (Arnold Schwarznegger), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Caesar (Terry Crews). A new, much younger batch is also indoctrinated into this clan: Galgo (Antonio Banderas), Luna (Ronda Rousey), and Mars (Victor Ortiz), among a few others.
The plot of this movie was digestible and non-convoluted. You don’t need to watch the previous two films in the franchise to understand what’s going on here. There was also a good dynamic between the younger and the older expendables. We saw both age groups complement and learn off each other; something that was much needed for the epic final action sequence of this film. The finale of Expendables 3 takes place in a well selected setting: an abandoned building within a wrecked and desolate town controlled by an army under the grips of Stonebanks. It was an epic showdown featuring helicopter chases, tanks, shoot-outs and hand-to-hand combat. This was the highlight of the film.
The CGI was about 70% good and 30% under-par. It gets better as the film progresses, but it seemed very obvious that any sight of fire or any explosion was computer generated. Since we were also dealing with a cast with an average age of 49 years (I did the math), the use of stunt-men (and women) were unsurprising. In fact, they were very noticeable in certain sequences, which mildly irritated me. The action overall was fine. As I mentioned previously, the finale was epic. However, in general, the action seemed very shaky and hard to follow. The Expendables 3 suffers from the Bourne Syndrome.
Overall , this film exceeded my expectations. I had a distaste for this franchise, largely due to how poorly conceived the previous two films were. But, Expendables 3 stands head and shoulders above the rest. It had a star-studded cast, an epic finale and a simple to follow storyline. However, the CGI and action were underwhelming at times.