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Expendables 3, The (Blu-ray Review)

21 Nov, 2014 By: John Latchem

Street 11/25/14
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Box Office $39.32 million
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language. Unrated version also available.
Stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Robert Davi, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

What is the real value of the “Expendables” movies? The gimmick is obvious, assembling a cast of action-movie all-stars to pump out some of the most testosterone-fueled films of all time. The films themselves are just boilerplate, generic shoot-em-ups designed to showcase a few scenes with the iconic cast and provide an excuse to lump them all together for a group photo on a poster.

This is to say, The Expendables 3 might be the best movie of the franchise, but ultimately that isn’t saying much.

Don’t get me wrong, the film is highly entertaining in a grab-a-beer-and-don’t-think-to-hard-while-staring-at-the-screen kind of way. But at some point, when the heroes are just mowing faceless bad guys down by the dozen, the law of diminishing returns has to set in at a point when it doesn’t really matter who is pulling the trigger anymore.

This movie begins just like the last one did, with the mercenary team led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) rescuing a big-name star from bad guys. Last time it was Arnold Schwarzenegger, this time it’s Wesley Snipes. Yeah, they have character names, but let’s face it, they’re pretty much playing the amalgam stereotype of their whole careers.

With his team depleted after the first two movies, Ross finds himself having to track down a former Expendable played by Mel Gibson, who is now a weapons dealer wanted for war crimes. So Ross recruits a new generation of Expendables, at which point the idea of the action all-star squad kind of loses some bite. Kellan Lutz? Glen Powell? Though, it’s fun watching MMA superstar Ronda Rousey roll around with the big boys, one because she’s hot, and two because it’s only a matter of time before she locks a bad guy in an arm bar. And Antonio Banderas pops in with a bit of comic relief.

That’s pretty much it. Stuff gets blown up, everyone downs a beer and we wait to see who’s left to show up in the next one (my money’s on Pierce Brosnan, though Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington are floating around too).

The Blu-ray offers a few featurettes that lets the new cast sing the praises of the old guard. There’s a 51-minute making-of documentary, a 16-minute program about the new kids, and a six-minute piece about the action scenes. There’s also a short gag reel and an extended sequence with Jason Statham.

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