As anyone that’s ever twisted after they’ve finished to have a quick peek in the bog basin can attest, poo comes in all different shapes and sizes.
The Expendables movies are movie manure – but each installment has gradually been a better bowel movement than the last. The first was utter diarrhea, the second endurable crap, and this third, sloppy but not as stinky as you’d expect.
Sylvester Stallone’s third in the “Dirty Dozen” meets “Cannonball Run” starry skirmish saga essentially follows the same stencil as the first two – bunch of old action vets team up to take down another old action vet, while patronising themselves with quippy one-liners that usually pertain to their previous roles. Thankfully, they’ve cut back on the meta jokes this time around, they’ve also found themselves a couple of old sports who weren’t told “don’t act, just play”, and there’s a plot that, while horribly thin, isn’t half as diet-meat as the librettos of the previous chapters.
This time around, the ‘Expendables’ – the usual crew are joined by series newbies Wesley Snipes, Ronda Rousey, Kellan Lutz, Antonio Banderas, and Harrison Ford – and go up against an old enemy of Barney’s (Stallone) – non-dutiful scumbag Conrad Banks, played by Mel Gibson (yes, he’s that desperate now).
Aussie Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) serves up a slick-looking, super-energised action movie here. Sure, the script is no match for Hughes’ obvious skills behind the camera, but the movie is all the more better for the injection of enthusiasm and imagination that Hughes’ presence adds to the film.
In fact, it’s the franchise ‘newbies’ that actually bring most of the film’s enthuse, let alone supply most of the film’s good moments : Wesley Snipes gives his most energetic and sprightly performance in a decade, Harrison Ford, though likely bored, has the best fake “I’m having fun here” look of them all, and Antonio Banderas is amusing as the over-eager middle-aged rookie. Best of all, Mel Gibson as the film’s bad guy. Trying to elevate the film, Gibson really throws himself into the role of Banks, giving an enjoyably aggressive and welcomingly hammy performance as a formidable – if underwritten – villain.
You’ll forget most of this thing five minutes out of the movie, and there’s been more character motivation in a 140 word tweet, but if it’s a half-decent action movie you’re beseeching… Here’s one, it’s half-decent.