DVD review: The Expendables 3

expendablesThe “Expendables” franchise, a glue factory for aging action heroes, ran out of ammo at the end of “EX2.” But why would that stop anybody?

For what is series star/co-writer Sylvester Stallone if not a believer in sequels unto infinity? “Rambo” and “Rocky” kept on going till the studio ran out of numbers. Work has begun already on “EX4.”

How long will it be before Stallone brings his superannuated ensemble cast back for a new series, “The Dependables”? Scene 1: Schwarzenegger tells the kids to get off his lawn. Scene 2: Harrison Ford uncovers an international conspiracy to fix the bingo games at Burger King.

That said, “EX3” is fun in a noisy, boysie way. Lots of shooting, mass depopulation of bad guys, explosions and kung fu. As you might expect, relating the plot is like describing the narrative arc of a rock slide. But here goes:

This is the story — the continuing story — of Barney Ross (Stallone) and his devil-may-care crew of mercenaries. Among the crew, besides Sylvester, Arnold and Ford, are Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren and Kelsey Grammer. Each has a marvelous moniker. There’s Drummer, Trench, Doc, Toll Road, Caesar, Bonaparte, Thorn, Galgo, Mars, Krug, Yin Yang and Cyclops. Each is outstanding in one or more of the black arts: knife throwing, karate, explosives, marksmanship and, of course, machine gun massacre. New to the gang is a young lady, Luna, played by Ronda Rousey. Rousey was the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo (Beijing 2008), so you can probably guess what her specialty is.

The Expendable team is recruited by a CIA officer (Ford) to stop a ruthless arms dealer by the name of Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). Here is where the plot thickens. Stonebanks co-founded the Expendables with Barney. Then he went over to the dark side.

That is pretty much it. The guys blast their way into and out of the bad guys’ fortress. Oddly, despite possession of all manner of firearms, the final battle is Barney and Stonebanks going at it mano a mano. (No, they do not play the theme from “Rocky” as Barney beats Conrad like a gong.)

One final note, which is kind of sad if you have nothing better to feel sad about: Mel Gibson is still a good actor. In this movie, he is the only actor. Until July of 2006, he was admired for his acting. He could have landed any role, directed any picture, commanded any salary. He had a 26-year marriage and seven kids. That was a lot to blow.

BTW, if these guys are so expendable, how come nobody ever gets expended? If anything, the gang adds a member of two each iteration. As does the franchise which, as mentioned, is working on No. 4.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]

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