Old dogs, new tricks. That's the mission statement of the "Expendables" franchise, the series of action films that sees Sylvester Stallone assembling all of his old 1980s action hero pals for one more run at the big-screen.
The hard-knuckled action series has its fair share of supporters and detractors. Both sides tend to agree that when it comes to an "Expendables" film, more often than not, you get what you pay for. It appears to be no different in the case of "The Expendables 3," directed by Patrick Hughes, and in theaters now. This time out, the franchise adds genre veterans Antonio Banderas and Wesley Snipes as new heroes, and Mel Gibson as the villain. Do they bring enough juice to make the new "Expendables" worth checking out — or should this film be destroyed?
Certainly, reviews of "The Expendables 3" aren't exactly over the moon, but many agree that Banderas, Snipes and Gibson keep things entertaining enough. Read on for more of what critics are saying about the latest "Expendables" excursion:
"Kicking off with the rescue of ex-Expendable Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes) after eight years spent in Russian clutches with access to neither scissors or razor, this third instalment of Stallone's geri-action franchise serves up an armored prison train, choppers, planes, speedboats, tankers, trucks, jeeps, missiles, guns and knives to make Crocodile Dundee wee himself in its first 15 minutes. Everything explodes, Caesar (Terry Crews) winds up in critical care and the target of the mission, arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), flees unscathed.
"Retiring his team for their own protection, Barney (Stallone) then zips across America and Mexico to gather a younger, even dumber team (Ronda Rousey, Kellan Lutz, Ortiz, Glen Powell) with the help of Kelsey Grammar’s grizzly Bonaparte. Also signing on is Antonio Banderas’ eccentric Galgo, his verbal diarrhoea driving everyone mad – most of all viewers. New guys and gal in place, a 36-hour window opens up to take down Stonebanks in Bucharest…" — Jamie Graham, TotalFilm.com
The Antonio Banderas Review
"Banderas does some of his most charming work since his turn as the Nasonex Bee as a chatterbox Spaniard who loves mercenary work, but can’t find a job. 'I love killing people!' he pleads to Sly’s Barney Ross and his recruiter (Frasier Crane) and while the ethics of playing such a scene for laughs may be troublesome, Banderas’s gyrating, nearly-lisping, parkour-loving maniac is the best thing that’s ever been in one of these movies by a country mile." — Jordan Hoffman, Film.com
The Wesley Snipes Review
"The biggest misstep 'The Expendables 3' makes is getting rid of Wesley Snipes early on. His character, Doc, is a little 'off' after spending eight years in a pit, and he’s fun… until the team gets disbanded and then he's just chilling out offscreen. He never quite recovers from getting tossed aside, an enormous missed opportunity. But since this is 'The Expendables' nobody dies or is even permanently hurt, so he could always come back in the next film." — Devin Faraci, BadassDigest.com
The Mel Gibson Review
"If Mel Gibson’s idea of redemption is brazenly embracing his outcast image, let’s see more of it. Gibson doesn’t just play a villain — he’s a hero gone rogue (sound familiar?) and his malicious charisma jumps the film into life. Good job too, as the entire plot amounts to little more than Mel vs. The Expendables." — Simon Crook, Empire Magazine
The Final Word
"They are enjoyable moments in a film that entertains for much of its run-time, and it’s still a blast watching these ‘80s icons get together to blow stuff up onscreen. But the novelty is starting to wear thin, so if Stallone does decide to reassemble the team for a fourth instalment, here’s hoping he changes up the formula a little, or these particular actions stars will be going out with a whimper rather than a bang.
"The Expendables doesn't re-invent the wheel, but it does provide fun Friday night fare, so if you liked parts one and two, you'll doubtless enjoy the third." — Chris Tilly, IGN Movies
"The Expendables 3" is in theaters now.