THE EXPENDABLES 3 Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Despite several flaws The Expendables 3 is an entertaining two hours. Although its parts are much better than its whole, it's easily superior to the second installment in the franchise, and almost in line with the first. But like all three films there are certain niggles that get in the way of them becoming great movies.

The main two problems with The Expendables 3 are overcrowding and the PG-13 rating. The latter deprives the film of any gore or blood splatter, which although isn't essential does kind of alter the tone of the movie altogether. They've lost a big part of the original homage to 80s action flicks that the franchise was built upon. But maybe that's the point of this installment, it's The Expendables: The Next Generation.

The Expendables 3 sees Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) assemble a new younger team to take down the ruthless arms dealer, and Ross' co-founder of the Expendables, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). It's great to see Mel Gibson back on screen, after spending the best part of the last decade shunned by Hollywood thanks to a very public private-life. I'm not condoning Gibson's beliefs and actions but if everyone in Hollywood who was a bit of a dick stopped getting work then we'd probably only have 5 new movies a year, for them to single him out seems a little pot/kettle/black. Gibson's role here as the fallen hero is the perfect part for him right now and I hope it re-opens some closed doors.

The Expendables 3 does seem to be a testing ground for troubled actors as we're also treated to the long overdue return of Wesley Snipes. Fresh from incarceration Snipes owns the first act, and delivers the best self-referential line in the whole movie (although Harrison Ford has a great one regarding the absent Bruce Willis, and listen out for Stallone paying tribute to his time as Judge Dredd). It's a real shame that after the first 30 minutes he's relegated to bit part player as the new recruits take centre stage.

And this is my main problem with the film, with a cast of somewhere in the region of 16,000 (or thereabouts) it's very hard for everyone to get a proper look-in. As good as the younger team are, and I can't fault them they are all cast well, I'd have happily sacrificed any one of the new younger recruits for 5 minutes more screen time for Snipes or any of the old gang. The original team have very little to do, with Arnold Schwarzenegger probably coming off the worse. I'm really not sure why he even bothered showing up, even Kelsey Grammer makes more of an impression than Arnie.

The middle section of the movie dips somewhat, it's here that Barney Ross disbands the old crew and focuses on the next generation, and the movie is only rescued by the timely addition of Antonio Banderas as Galgo. He provides many moments of humour and is also given one of the series' deepest scenes we've ever seen. You'll want to shoot his motormouth off but you can't fail to love him.

The Expendables 3 is topped and tailed with two great action scenes, some of the best we've seen, plus it's funny. Not cringe worthy funny like Part 2 was, there are some genuine belly laughs to be had here. So all in all there's enough in the movie to make sure you have a good time, but you'll likely be left hungry for more - more of the old timers that is!

So here's hoping that if The Expendables 4 gets green lit then a good culling takes place. If we could have a 15 certificate (or higher) two hour movie with just Stallone, Statham, Snipes, Banderas, Couture and Crews making up the good guys - which surely is enough to sell tickets? - then I'd be very happy.

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