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What is The Expendables about, really?

As a franchise, I mean.

It's about a bunch of old badass dudes doing badass stuff, killing bad guys in ridiculous ways, overkills aplenty, the whole thing peppered with bad one-liners and people overcompensating for several things with oversized weapons.

It's not exactly rocket science, but it doesn't need to be: it works.

And yet...

Somehow, in between the actually not too bad The Expendables 2 and this one, it seems that the franchise's maestro, Sylvester Stallone, has forgotten what the hell this whole thing was about in the first place. After a silly opening action sequence, we find ourselves in yet another silly action sequence except that, at the end of that one, a member of the "crew" is badly injured by Mel Gibson's villain. Something for which I blame Stallone's Barney Ross entirely, by the way, since he completely ruined the entire mission and put everyone at risk by yelling the bad guy's name and shooting at him from about a mile away with a handgun. No wonder that when the idea of stealth is introduced to him in this movie, he shrugs like he's never even heard about the concept! The Expendables, it turns out, aren't so expendable as one gets injured and the whole operation falls apart but they are certainly expendable when it comes to screen time, however. Jet Li's part is once again shaved off to a couple of last minute blink-and-you'll-miss-it shots, Bruce Willis is famously absent and Terry Crews is cast aside early on. In fact, the entire crew save for Stallone is pushed away 20 minutes in until basically the third act as Sly goes off to find shitty younger character with Frasier friggin' Crane.

Because that's what The Expendables was always about, right?

Recruiting unknown young blood?

Did Stallone's character completely forget what happened in the last movie? Whereby a young recruit got murdered by Van Damme and it all became a revenge mission? Man that sounds so much better than this movie as a plot, by the way...

Makes me want to Netflix back to one sequel ago.

This time, we're essentially made to WAIT for 45 minutes in the middle at least until the main cast reunites again at the end. Some new faces include an ebullient Antonio Banderas, who steals the show by actually trying to be entertaining and coming off as more cartoonish than Puss In Boots, Kelsey Grammar also does well in an otherwise excruciating second act and Wesley Snipes is a lot of fun... when he's on screen, anyway. Meanwhile, Harrison Ford looks like he's enjoying himself and Mel Gibson makes a cool villain despite the unimaginative, rushed conclusion his character receives. The Expendables 3 could have been a good time with its solid cast and a decent film right behind it but, by turning this into a boring recruitment mission of bland characters no-one cares about, Stallone has sadly shot himself in the foot, killing the film's momentum early and failing to get back on track despite Arnie's sweet call-backs to his old one-liners and Banderas' panto-like antics. This is also, I should point out, a horribly made film with some laughable CGI and green screen effects, badly put together action sequences and awkward editing and camerawork throughout.

The dire script doesn't help either.

Cash-ins though they may be, these movies can still be fun and The Expendables 2 showed that perfectly well. With this new (hopefully final) entry into the franchise, we've unfortunately regressed to a dull, forgettable mess that just doesn't work at all. Even the first movie was far better: at least that had a cool Mickey Rourke scene, Terry Crews being awesome blowing shit up and an epic Jet Li vs Dolph Lundgren face off!

Ah, those were the days...

Anyway, please stop these movies before I really turn against them completely and start actually hating them. I really don't want to have to do that.

The Disappointables.

(that means the movie's bad)  


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