Action Takes Longer When You Get Older

Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham in The Expendables 3 (2014)

After Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and the Expendables rescue Barney's old friend Doc (Wesley Snipes) they go on a little mission to capture a ruthless arms trader. But it brings Barney face to face with Stonebanks () the man who he set up the Expendables with who he believed was dead. With Caesar (Terry Crews) almost killed because of Stonebanks Barney finds himself not only having to deal with a new agent in Drummer (Harrison Ford) but not wanting his friends to die he sets out with the help of Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) to recruit a newer, younger group of mercenaries who he won't feel for if things go wrong. But when things go wrong Barney can't turn away from who he is or his friends who will never let him down.

Bigger is not always better and that is clearly the case when it comes to "The Expendables 3" yet this third movie is by no means bad, in fact there are parts which are certainly good. One of those parts is the story which focuses on Barney not only confronted by a man he thought was dead but his friendships and the fear of losing someone he cares for weighing heavily on him following Caesar ending up in hospital. It is a nice combination of storylines which give us the expected action but also Barney coming to realise that he can't not care for someone who works for him which means the loyalty of friends is even more important than he thought.

Harrison Ford in The Expendables 3 (2014)

And to be honest the bigger cast which brings in the likes of Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson alongside younger stars such as Ronda Rousey and Kellan Lutz is also good. With so many of these big stars having worked with Stallone before there are plenty of in jokes as well as some which amusingly take a swipe at Bruce Willis who didn't return for this third movie after he reportedly wanted an increase in salary. In fact the writing throughout be it the comical dialogue or Barney realising he and his friends are not invincible is good.

The one trouble is that every single action scene has been super sized and unfortunately very few of these scenes are that entertaining with a less blood and guts feel to them which is what these movies were about and instead now have a more modern clean and over edited look. That brings me to the inevitable showdown between Barney Ross and Stonebanks which of course means Stallone versus Gibson, except there are so many distant shots, extreme close ups and edits I began to wonder whether I was watching a Steven Seagal movie.

What this all boils down to is that "The Expendables 3" certainly is entertaining with a great cast as well as some great writing full of in-jokes. But for me the action, it's over the top nature and modern styling lets this third movie down and at times makes it tedious.

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