A Winning Combination
We’ve got it made these days. Imagine a motion picture featuring all your favourite Western heroes. This could include John Wayne, Tom Mix, Alan Ladd, Roy Rogers, James Stewart and a whole bunch of others. Well with The Expendables saga, we get the next best thing.
If you’re not partial to sequels, don’t worry. The Expendables 3 just might surprise you. This mounting medley of mayhem features confident direction from Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) and an extensive line-up of Hollywood demolition men. Apart from the regulars -- Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, et al. -- Harrison Ford and Wesley Snipes provide additional layers of intrigue. Ford takes over from Bruce Willis as the government bigwig, who sends Barney Ross (Stallone) after the ruthless Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). The latter simply electrifies the screen. Meanwhile, Snipes plays Doctor Death, a wizard with knives.
The Expendables 3 makes some awkward stops during the first hour. However, the finale turns things around dramatically. Among the new recruits, Ronda Rousey (be still my heart!) packs a welcome punch. After her dazzling first appearance, she settles into some comfortable banter opposite Stallone. Overall, she feels like a veteran member of the original team as opposed to a last-minute replacement.
Regrettably, this royal rumble sports one or two needless players. For instance, Jet Li shows up, makes a poor impression and then disappears. As wonderful as Antonio Banderas can be, he has far too many lines which, jammed together like a pack of sardines, lack the necessary comedic emphasis.
Overall, The Expendables 3 offers fast-paced action, several tip-top performances and numerous highlights, which more than justify your time and investment.
(Released by Lionsgate Pictures and rated "PG-13" by MPAA.)