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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » August 29, 2014
Film review
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The Expendables 3
August 29, 2014   
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If you thought Sylvester Stallone was all brawn and no brains, think again. Sly proved he had a sound instinct for marketing when he hit the jackpot in 2010 with The Expendables and the sequel two years later. His idea of bringing 1980s and ‘90s movie stars out of retirement—including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude van Damme and, of course, Stallone himself—drew crowds of viewers who did not seem to mind that the two movies lacked a sensible script. The various subplots forming a less-than-logical whole were an excuse to let the action heroes show off their skills at eliminating countless enemies and their ability to handle a countless array of weapons. But movie-goers lapped it all up.

The third installment is pretty much the same fare, with Stallone being joined by several other stars past their best-before date. Bruce Willis, however, has dropped out this time, apparently because he was too greedy and wanted $4 million instead of the $3 million he was offered for four days of shooting. Not that it matters, as he was promptly replaced by Harrison Ford, no less. The invincible team has also been augmented with Wesley Snipes (just out of jail, where he served three years for tax evasion) and Antonio Banderas, who gives the movie a touch of humor. On the other side is Mel Gibson, an A-list actor who in recent years has generated negative PR for himself in a string of scandals and anti-Semitic slurs. Stallone threw him a lifeline and Gibson delivers as a charismatic villain, shining in action scenes that take us back to his Lethal Weapon heyday.

Part two was not as profitable as part one, which is probably why Stallone has made the fight scenes less gory. The gushing blood is gone and there are no heads being ripped off any more. As a result, the movie has been given a PG-13 rating, which means younger teenagers can boost audience numbers.

To the same end, Sly has signed up fresh troops, several generations younger than the rest of the cast. In a nod to feminists there is also Ronda Rousey, a female judo Olympic medal winner turned mixed martial arts star, while the return of Jet Li is expected to appeal to Asian audiences. Featured in the previous two movies, this time Li is seen for less than five minutes and does not even appear in any spectacular kung-fu scenes.

Whether there will be a part four probably depends on how the DVD of the movie sells, as the response of audiences has been lukewarm at best, making The Expendables 3 the least successful of the three flicks. If Stallone decides to carry on, there will surely be plenty of actors keen to jump on the bandwagon. So far, the only ones to have declined a role in the series are Jackie Chan, who was not satisfied with the supporting role he was offered and demanded a lead role instead, and Steven Seagal, who has been too busy playing with his blues band and ostentatiously demonstrating his support for Vladimir Putin. Mickey Rourke, another fan of Putin, quit The Expendables after the first movie.
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