Remember when I reviewed The Expendables 2, and I said the only '80's action icons that haven't been in an Expendables movies were Harrison Ford, Hulk Hogan, and Mel Gibson?
Well, two out of the three made it into the latest installment of the aging hero action-fest. This time around Mel plays uber-villain, and co-founder of the Expendables, Conrad Stonebanks while Harrison Ford's Max Drummer replaces Bruce Willis' Church as the team's CIA contact.
This time around there are no innocent chicks and children to save. Even new Expendable Luna (Ronda Rousey) has more testosterone than the average man on the street.
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1) The addition of Wesley Snipes as one of the original members of the Expendables. His Doc is even crazier than Dolph Lundgren's Gunnar.
2) This time the in-jokes centered around the actors' real-life trials and tribulations, including reputations, jail time and helicopter crashes. See how many you can catch.
3) Kellen Lutz as Barney's newest protege, who actually survives this movie. The kid's showing his chops as an action hero. And let's face it, he was the best thing in Twilight as Emmett Cullen.
4) Antonio Banderas seems to be embracing the lighter side of his talents since his Galgo was the comic relief for this film (though unfortunately not as sexy as Puss in Boots). The role also shows the depth of his ability with any script. When his back story comes to light, he left my eyes stinging.
1) WTF?! Is there a quota on how many black guys can be in an action movie? That's the only reason I can think of for Terry Crews' Hale Caesar to miss most of the movie. I get the plot point, but why couldn't it have been done with Dolph or Randy Couture.
[Edit to add] Oops! Forgot to give my rating! I give it 8 out of 10 just for Ford's maniacal laughter while flying a helicopter like it was the Millennium Falcon.
What about Hulk Hogan? Well, there are already rumors swirling that he will be in The Expendables 4.
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A lot has been made about The Expendables 3 ($15.8 million) making slightly more than half the opening weekend take of The Expendables 2 ($28.6 million). The blame was placed squarely on the pirated DVD quality download circulating on the internet a couple of weeks before the movie was released. But the majority of downloads were by non-U.S. users, and even if every download had been converted to U.S. ticket sales, the movie would have only made another $4 million, still well below the second installment of the franchise.
I think Stallone made a mistake by deliberately aiming for the 'PG-13' rating to broaden the franchise's audience. The first two movies were rated 'R', and the majority of flicks these guys are known for were 'R'-rated. Sly missed the point of why his core audience love The Expendables. They were made in the same vein as these stars' movies that my generation grew up watching.
Secondly, The Expendables 3 had to fight the summer word-of-mouth phenomenon that Guardians of the Galaxy has become. In fact, GotG regained the number one spot on Sly and buds' opening weekend. Normally, a testosterone-fest doesn't have much action competition this late in August, but the Marvel sci-fi hero story surprised even their Disney masters. It's made nearly half a billion dollars worldwide in its first three weeks in theaters.