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SYLVESTER STALLONE HEADS UP THE EXPENDABLES 3

year: 2014
It wasn’t long ago when Jason Statham, Randy Couture and Terry Crews were the young EXPENDABLES… But now it seems, they’re all old timers…

Thanks to Mel Gibson’s dirty rotten Stonebanks, a founding member of the titular mercenary team who went rogue in a bad way. Following a gallant introduction of a jailbreaking Wesley Snipes, the group, blundering a mission intruded upon by our new lead villain, is considered sloppy and over the hill. So Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross seeks out a whole new group of gung-ho dynamos, all kids in comparison to the old familiar faces.

It’s always fun seeing characters being introduced in this sort of drawn-out montage fashion: With the help of Kelsey Grammer’s soldier-salesman, Barney hires the young warriors, all taking part in various fights and exercises, visually pronouncing each member’s skill...

rating: ***
This leads to the first of two missions to kill and/or capture a lecture-spouting Mel Gibson, thriving with energetic dialogue to make up for his initial lack of hands-on action… Most of that goes to Barney and the kiddos, wherein Statham, Dolph Lungren and the newly resurrected Snipes take a reluctant, shortlived sabbatical.

Filling out the elder positions are Harrison Ford as a benign CIA head who winds up getting dirty along with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s passive coordinator, and yet another pointless Jet Li walk-on. Meanwhile, a motormouth Antonio Banderas, trying way too hard for comic relief status, winds up even more annoying than he’s supposed to be. And yet, despite the surrounding ensemble, Ross, given his personal vengeance for Gibson's heavy, seems more in it for himself... Rambo would be proud! 

The action sequences are involving enough, and between gunplay there’s the usual pulpy banter rooted in 80’s action nostalgia when sarcastic one-liners, limitless ammo and tons of testosterone meant pretty much everything. So if mindless doesn't matter, you won't be disappointed. But anyone expecting a fleshed-out espionage thriller, which this attempts to be, should have known better. 
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