Monday, August 17, 2015

Expendables 3 (2014)

Third time is a charm in Sylvester Stallone's action series. This is the best of the three and a real joy.

The plot of the film has Stallone and crew breaking out Wesley Snipes out of prison to help with their next job. Snipes is one of the originl crew, now several years in prison. They need him to take down an arms dealer. The trouble comes when they find out their target is a baddie played by Mel Gibson. Gibson,also an original Expendable was supposed to be dead, shot by Stallone but he survived. The raid goes wrong and one of group is nearly killed. Stallone fires the old crew and sets up a new group to get gibson (figuring he won't have feelings for them if it all goes wrong, but he has horrible guilt when it all goes wrong again and has to get the band back together (with new member Antonio Bandaras) to rescue the young ones.

With witty lines, real characters and set pieces that actually have weight this is the best of the series. Where the first film worked on the pure novelty of all the stars in one action film (lets face it was really a goof) the second film collapsed under the weight of 900 new faces most of which were given nothing to do. Worse the action in the second film felt fake. You could see the everyone walking through their paces since they were there for the party.

This time out we have a real story and real characters. If the characters are reduced to caricature its only because someone like Dolph Lundgren's Expendable has had two films of back story. We don't need to have them explained because we know them already.

The action set pieces are fantastic. They are so exciting that we can forgive the film it's use of CGI in the final moments when Stallone runs across the roof of a collapsing building.

The real joy of the film is Antonio Bandaras as Galgo. As a super soldier who talks too much and a need to belong he is both hysterically funny and a little sad-why he is looking for a new team is ultimately heart breaking. He makes the film- Though Mel Gibson as the former friend now baddest of the bad makes for one hell of a villain.

One of the real surprises of the year, I can't recommend it enough to action film fans.

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