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ikkegoemikke's Movie Reviews (479)

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The Expendables 3 
A mindless movie that provides momentary amusement
2/4 stars

"I need a job! All I know what to do is kill! Goddammit!"

The first Expendables movie was a hit. A collection of 80's action heroes whose expiration date already expired and look like a pile of shriveled potatoes that have lain too long in the sun. It was a tribute to those legendary years when Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Lundgren and consorts annually kicked some ass in one or other (sometimes cheap looking) action movie. A healthy dose of self-perspective and self-deprecation was abundant, with a wink to the past and using well known one-liners randomly. The second film continued on this momentum with some newbies in it, so that the entertainment value still remained at a reasonable level. And now there is the third part of this trilogy. This movie presents the same again with the established values Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Statham as figureheads, accompanied by a whole bunch of other action figures like Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Mel Gibson. Expect some overwhelming action scenes and a series of fist fights and deafening crossfires. They needed a massive amount of boxes with ammunition I guess, since there's quite a lot of shooting in this film.

It's as clear as daylight that the first "Expendables" was a sort of parody. However, I get the impression that they do realize that the hype is over, since the seniors club is pushed aside and needs to make room for a bunch of young heroes. But wasn't that the whole idea to start up a parody with a club of senior action heroes ? Is this a symbolic gesture to say that it's time to pass it on to a younger generation? Looks like it. But if that's the case I think it would be a good idea to stop with this whole "Expendables" formula, because these youngsters don't impress me. Those "Benidorm Bastards" however still have an impressive appearance. As long as they don't move along the screen with a walking frame and need an infusion with some serum, they still look like dangerous fighters who can be very destructive.

Although there isn't an intellectual story with shrewd devised twists, it sure is an episode full of action again. From the very beginning, where you'll see a fast moving train in which an ex-member of "The Expendables" is locked up, until the end, where Russian troops seem to crush the retirees, you won't have time to get bored. The gang of enormous muscles, who could use a mega pack Oil of Olay anyway, guarantee an explosive show. And I'm pretty sure they've broken the record of the longest action scene (almost 20 minutes) ever. If you are into that, this is surely a must see.

Next to the old timers, it's Antonio Banderas and Mel Gibson who excel the most in this film. Banderas is a rattling chatterbox who takes care of the comic section. An irritating always-getting-in-the-way kind of guy who demonstrates in the end he's capable of defending himself. Mel Gibson is convincing as the deviated-from-the-straight-path former "Expendable" who decided that he would rather gather a fortune as a weapons supplier, instead of risking his life as a soldier of fortune. So in the end it becomes a personal matter between the two founders of "The Expendables." The only one who didn't fit in completely was Harrison Ford who looks very old and rather meager in between this gang of "Duke Nukem" caricatures. The biggest surprise was Kelsey Grammar as the intermediary who introduces Barney Ross to some candidates for a new team. A perfectly selected person who presents the candidates in a "Frasier"-like way one by one with the necessary crystal clear analytical explanation.

Ultimately this movie is a fun inbetweener that provides momentary amusement. A mindless movie with hard-hitting action and a story as a side issue. The expectations are met. Although the intention has its charms, it feels as if the "Expendables" formula has gotten pretty stale and lifeless. It's a combination of well-known clichéd attributes which have been used already a zillion times. It still irritates me how ridiculously dumb the opponents react. They are always standing in a queue like brainless chickens, so they can be butchered consecutively. Apparently they weren't trained in strategic attacks. It's no coincidence that the phrase "franchise fatigue" is used everywhere. I'm sure the list of old generation action heroes is exhausted and every known person in that segment had a guest appearance in this series. It's not just the action heroes whose expiration date expired, but also the whole concept suffers of this phenomenon.

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