This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
We have made it to the final Expendables film so far. 3 is a solid title and still beats the first although I wouldn’t say it is quite able to match up to the second film. That one ended up being just a little too good in the end. Still, if you want to see some solid action scenes and a pretty good blend of characters then you have come to the right place. The whole thing feels like it’s over quickly because of how much action is here.
The movie starts with the Expendables going on another mission and clearing it as always. They were able to rescue one of their older members named Doctor Death. Still, it was a tougher one than it would have been and one of their members gets injured. Barney decides to call the whole thing off and tells the Expendables to each go their own way. Age is the official reason for why he calls this off but we know the truth, it’s because the latest villain has him spooked. Conrad is the big bad this time and he used to be one of the most deadly Expendables of all time. Barney knows that the others will be in serious trouble so instead he decides to hire a bunch of newbies. I find it interesting that for the first time the team lives up to the name. These guys all do appear to be truly expendable in Barney’s eyes. Can they really handle this?
Expenedables 3 is definitely not the kind of film that’s going to throw a lot of twists and turns at you. From the moment he starts recruiting you can tell how this is all going to go. It might be because of that but the actual recruitment saga isn’t quite as hype as it usually is. I tend to really enjoy seeing each character get picked up and added to the team but it was hard to take most of them seriously. They just don’t see all that powerful compared to the old guard. I think if you wanted to get this across then you would have had to bring in a bunch of big names for the new team.
Matt Damon, Tom Cruise, Dwayne Johnson, Daniel Craig, etc. If you brought those guys in as the replacement squad then this would have been very interesting. Of course I’m not sure if they would love these roles but then you would have to actually stop and wonder if these guys would end up beating the older fighters. I think it would have taken the film to the next level. Still, I’ll give it props for being a more ambitious plot. It’s almost like you have two different movies here as each team gets their share. Of course if you’re a big fan of Barney’s crew you may be a bit disappointed since they don’t get to do as much here.
Church is gone but now you’ve got a guy named Max instead as the government guy who hands out the missions. He’s not quite as fun as Church but he can still help out in the field as needed. I like how nonchalant he is about the whole thing, Max has a lot of confidence here. Then you also have Trench appearing although his role is also fairly brief here. He gets some good shots in of course but that’s about it. I still like the rivalry dynamic he has but I feel like the end of his plot could have been longer. When Max assembles a team to stop Barney since the guy is going rogue, you expect some fun battles with team against team but they don’t show up until the climax and just end up helping out so it felt like a bait and switch. Yin’s role is also really small once again so he misses out.
One thing this film did better than the last two was in having the best villain though. Conrad is considerably better than the older villains as he has skills on par with the main characters and can hold his own verbally. There’s a nice scene where he complains about how all of the minions teaming up aren’t doing anything so he decides to show them how to change that. He knocks off two of them in the blink of an eye which was effective. He’s got a very sarcastic kind of demeanor too which works well. You can tell that the guy is super confident about everything that he does. It’s also fair to say that he was fairly deranged from the start to turning evil was always going to happen there.
As always Barney is a fun main character but I did disagree with most of his decisions here. Putting together a team just to presumably have them get wiped out didn’t make a whole lot of sense. If your enemy is the strongest one ever then that’s absolutely when you need your old team at the ready. They all really wanted to help too so it’s not like he was going to have to twist any arms. Just accept the help and keep it moving. That would have absolutely been the right thing to do here. When it comes time to fight then Barney is able to do what he does best and take everyone out of course.
For the old characters, they’re about the same as always. They’re always fun characters and Christmas is the guy who really has Barney’s back. He has a rivalry with Doctor Death since they’re both knife throwers. I was glad with how that plot line ended too and it made for a good way to close the film out. Doctor Death may suffer the most from the original team getting sidelined for most of the movie since this would have been his big chance to get a big role. At least we do see that the guy has not lost any of his skills from the action scenes that we do get though.
As to the new team, well there’s not a whole lot of time to get used to them. You’ve got the tough girl who is always saying how she doesn’t like men because they’re all awful. You’ve got the quick talker who can never be silent but comes through when the team is in a pinch. There’s the tech genius who knows how to handle a more modern operation and finally you have the tough guy who seems to be the leader of the group even when Barney’s around. I think this group could absolutely hold their own film but you just can’t compare them against the originals. They lose in just about every category and it’s hard to forget about the original guys since they’re still here. There’s a scene where the originals come in to intimidate the new ones. To their credit, the new guys don’t back down but you can’t help thinking that they would get absolutely destroyed in a fight.
Overall, The Expendables 3 is a pretty good film but it almost tries to tackle too much. The plot itself is also rather basic. If you just tell someone that this is a revenge film then that’s all you need to know. At the end of the day Barney just wants to take this guy out and fast. The actual villain plans and everything are really secondary. I think a better way to do this would be to have had the rest of the team get captured or something and that forces Barney to get a new team but that would be embarrassing for them. Either way the film’s just a lot of fun though and really breezes y.