I have always found it difficult to offer a summary of any kind on the Expendables series. What should I say, if you’re considering watching this then what do you expect from it? It’s a film made up of your favourite stars from the 80s and 90s. It’s all wrapped up by a screenplay from Sylvester Stallone and with one gunfight and explosion after another. What do you think a film like this is going to be like? If you want to watch this film then you want to see an action film that should be coming out of the 1980s but is enhanced with various CGI elements. If that is what you want then this is what you get.
Two is regarded as the highpoint of the franchise for one simple reason, it’s fun. Yes it can be cringe worthy at times but still, I can’t be the only one who chuckled at the ‘I’ll be back’ conversation between Willis and Schwarzenegger. However, this one is not only more depressing than the second film, it’s more depressing than the first as well. The one that promised an ensemble of iconic action heroes and gave us nearly two hours of Stallone and Statham and nearly two minutes for Willis and Schwarzenegger.
This one suffers a similar problem, too many iconic actors are given too little screen-time. I wouldn’t mind if they only had a few lines of dialogue but were visible in the background as if they were actually part of a team. But no, it doesn’t. The reformation of these agents that were apparently gathering for a ‘final mission’ in the first film means that this instalment does not feel climatic or tense in any remote way. Instead it just feels more like a random sequence of explosions and shooting. The plot is as weak as you can get in an action film, so the entire film is a rather messy blend of action and uninteresting dialogue.
There are a few highpoints of the film. One of them is Mel Gibson, whatever you think of him as a person and his political views he is undoubtedly amazing and captivating when on screen. His no nonsense approach to playing the villain is certainly a more magnetic performance than Stallone’s no nonsense approach to the hero. There are a few thrills on offer but the toned down violence means that you can’t take the film seriously at all. But at the same time it tries to act like a serious film which means it can’t be fun when it needs to be, and it can’t be serious when it needs to be. Simply put, it tries to kill two birds with one stone, but misses completely.
Even the action and chase sequences become repetitive, not just left over from the first two films, but by the end it’s almost a de-ja-vu-like experience of the start of the film. They really appear to have used all of their tricks here, and all they can do to try and prevent the film becoming, god-forbid, sensible for a minute or two. It’s been fun and wild with a few laughs along the way but this group of retired mercenaries really have overstayed their welcome here.
A few cheap thrills and a star studded cast certainly cannot compensate us for the faults littered throughout this film. The problem comes from the weak plot, watered down rating, and not enough screen time to go around. However, as I said before what else do you expect from this film. On the basis of what you see if what you get, you can’t get much better.