Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammer, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz and Robert Davi
Rating: 1 star
If you thought you stumbled upon the geriatric ward of Hollywood’s nonsensical films while watching Expendables 3, you wouldn’t be entirely off the mark. The franchise throws in a glittering bunch of erstwhile A-listers and its latest offering is only bigger, though not much better. It almost appears like one of those Bollywood films that rope in mega A-listers, have little to offer in terms of plot but inexplicably do well at the box office.
What does ‘expendable’ mean? The Oxford Dictionary will have you believe that it is something ‘of relatively little significance, and therefore able to be abandoned or destroyed’. There could not have been a more appropriate name for a film especially since the series as well as the actors can easily be expended or abandoned and no one would really know. That this is the third time Sylvester Stallone, producer and lead protagonist of the series, is testimony to just how much a Hollywood audience in similar to Bollywood’s. Throw in a bunch of big names, whether or not they’re relevant in pop culture today, and have the most loosely written, contrived plot thrown in with a few punch lines and few more expletives; you have a successful film. How many stars does it take to carry a weak film? About 8. How many stars does it take to do the same in Bollywood? One. Ek Hai Salman. Eat that, Hollywood!
Since we really have to make an effort to give this review of the film a touch of the cerebral, let’s begin with the plot. Barney Ross (Stallone) and his mercenaries discover that the arms trader they intended to bust was actually a co-founder of The Expendables Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) who decided to turn on the team in favour of profits from the arms trade. The confrontation leads to a dangerous fight that results in Hale Caesar’s (Terry Crews) grave injuries forcing the team to retreat. Ross, driven by his unrelenting pursuit of Stonebanks, puts together an Expendables 2.0 of sorts with young talent in the hope of putting an end to Stonebanks’ tyranny. That he finally had to take the help of the original Expendables to bail out the new crop that finds itself in a fix makes one wonder what really was the line of thinking while the story was being written. The film follows a boringly predictable path and after a lot of explosions and hand-to-hand combats, the two-hour-ordeal called Expendables 3 comes to an end.
Now’s the tough part. How does one talk about performances in a film when the standard level of expression is reminiscent of a toddler with bowel struggles? Stallone looks like he hasn’t had much toiletry success in over 48-hours and he is joined by the likes of Schwarzenegger (of course!) and Jason Statham. Statham, for whom such roles are de rigueur, is not a patch on his previous roles that range from Snatch to Death Race. The piercing blue eyes of Mel Gibson actually aid his performance and one must really give credit where its due: Gibson is the only one who emerges from the film looking like he went into it with some talent in the first place. He is scheming, mean and has superb command over his lines and their delivery. He plays a fairly contrived role with admirable conviction.
The rest of the younger cast deliver one-note performances and there’s little to speak of them. Ronda Rousey, who plays Luna, is unbelievably annoying and makes you wonder why the director would flesh out a role like that from the only woman in the cast! But then again the film is so flawed that there are greater disappointments to face. Nothing matches the let down of a role that Antonio Banderas (of delicious-due-to-all-thing-
Expendables 3 reminds you of the mindless Bollywood films of the 90s that were rigid in formula and high on star power that combined delivered something in the sub zero range. Such a waste of time. Expended for no reason at all.