The Expendables 3 (movie review)

We saw the third (and final?) film in the franchise you didn’t ask for (or didn’t know you wanted, depending on your point of view) in The Expendables 3 this weekend and I must say that, for what it’s worth, this is the best film yet in the franchise.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think The Expendables series is Transformers bad – they’re just not especially well written movies. They sacrifice story for star power and action, but I’ve seen worse movies.

That being said, the movie isn’t perfect.

The biggest problem with The Expendables 3 is I don’t care about any of the kids on the new team. It doesn’t help that they’re not exactly movie starts and they do give each one a character gimmick and they all pay off, but… there’s just too many characters in the movie. I know having a million characters is the franchise’s sole purpose for existing in the first place, but it doesn’t necessarily make for the most entertaining movie. See, if you don’t care, it’s hard to pay attention… but fortunately, they’re not a big part of the movie.

And overall, the movie works. Why, you ask?


It gives the audience what it wants.
Yes, "Get to the choppa!" It’s that simple. The Expendables 3 loads up on Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford and Jason Statham – even Wesley Snipes and Kelsey Grammar have their moments. Oh, and just when I thought the movie was going to be all about Snipes, Antonio Banderas comes in and kinda steals the show. It’s fair to say that Banderas gives the most memorable performance of the movie, even if Grammar was easily the most likable and funniest.
What I’m saying is if you like these old guys, this movie will make you happy.

Scary bad guy!
Speaking of old guys stealing the show from Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson knew exactly what to do with this character. His performance really solidifies the movie because he makes you want to see the good guys win because he’s so bad. I know it might sound trite, but if your bad guy is ineffective and you’re making an action movie, that’s a real downer, but Gibson pulled it off with style.

Some characterization, but not what I was expecting.
As I mentioned, there are lots of character setups and payoffs (for example, when we meet each one of the young expendables, they show off a specific skill and it pays off later in the movie’s climax as it should), but it’s Banderas whose character has the most interesting story and, dare I say, arc. This isn’t the sort of movie where characters change and grow, but if you’re looking for substance, it’s mostly surrounding Banderas – and he probably doesn’t show up until the thirty-five minute mark.

It’s not a masterpiece, but if you like the idea of fast paced action with familiar faces, The Expendables 3 is worth a look – I’m giving it a 7 out of 10. I think it’s safe to say this is the only one in the series with any serious rewatch value – Gibson and Ford really class up the joint.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on September 2, 2014, in lists, movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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