Film Review: The Expendables 3

Expendables 3

The latest instalment, The Expendables 3 certainly brings star power. Nevertheless, the film is a bit patchy; the narrative and visuals could have done with more work.

Whilst on a mission, Barney Ross and his team of mercenaries take a personal hit. Barney is determined to track down the arms dealer responsible, requiring fresh blood to do so…

Director Patrick Hughes’ The Expendables 3 continues on the same tact as the previous two films. However this instalment lacks some of the humour of The Expendables 2, which was a highlight of that film.

The story in The Expendables 3 is not particlarly compelling. There is a focus on the new characters that protagonist Barney meets. This new breed of mercenaries, however, are not that interesting as characters. Only one of these new characters has a distinct personality, and is a welcome addition to proceedings.

The Expendables 3 would have definitely benefitted from more humour. The second film in this franchise got the balance right between action and comedy. This film reverts to the more serious style of the first film. This is a shame, as the second film was overt in not taking itself too seriously. The Expendables 3 has too many moments where it attempts to bring emotion (with lingering shots and the like). Unfortunately this simply is not there.

The film relies on some action heavy set pieces. Some of the effects in the film are poorly executed. Stock footage is used to a noticable point. The violence does feel as if it has been edited for a lower rating. The action works best with the physical combat, of which some of the new additions show their prowess.

Antonio Banderas is a welcome addition to the cast. Harrison Ford and Wesley Snipes seem to be having fun in their roles, while Mel Gibson is well cast. The chemistry between Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham so pushed in all three films still does not generate the laughs that it hopes to.

The Expendables 3 will no doubt satisfy fans of the franchise for its star names and brash action. Any further films need to remember the comedy, and offer a more gripping story.

Film Review: The Expendables 2

The dialogue is questionable, the action over the top and the plot negligible. In other words, The Expendables 2 is a hell of a lot of fun if viewers leave their expectations of something grander at the door.

Barney Ross and his band of mercenaries are tasked with a straightforward job by Mr Church. The group agree to carry out the task, but when things don’t go according to plan, The Expendables find themselves in enemy territory and after revenge…

The Expendables 2 boasts more of a plot than its predecessor, but even here it is slight at best. Instead, Simon West’s film reels in viewers with its ridiculous body count and big action set pieces. The narrative functions solely as a device in order to engage in violence on grand scale.

As long as viewers know what they are letting themselves in for, The Expendables 2 should not disappoint. The film does not offer any nuance in plot or any artistic endeavour. Instead, the film seeks to entertain viewers by giving them some of the biggest action stars of the 1980s and beyond in a overblown action flick. This will not appeal to all demographics, but there is a sizeable group that will lap it up.

The dialogue in the film is so hackneyed that it is amusing. It is questionable whether this amusement is intentional or not, at least in the scenes which aim for a more serious reaction. These more emotional interludes appear perhaps not as sombre as intended by the director. The Expendables 2 works best in its action scenes; there is really no need for the reflective moments.

West’s film boasts a stellar cast. The acting is poor at times, but this adds to the charm of the film. No one seems to be taking it too seriously; this is the appeal of The Expendables 2. The line towards the end of the film, which should get a lot of laughs, emphasises this. Viewers of the first film will be pleased to know that Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzeneggar have slightly meatier roles, while Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme are welcome additions.

More satisfying than The Expendables, The Expendables 2 is mindless fun that does not take itself seriously. The latter aspect is what makes the film enjoyable.

Trailer Round-Up

This week, we have new trailers for Oz The Great Powerful, Dredd and Hope Springs, as well as a clip from The Expendables 2 and the latest TV spot from The Dark Knight Rises.

Oz The Great and Powerful

Despite not being a hit on its initial release, The Wizard of Oz has gone on to become one of the best-loved fantasy films, and an influence on countless others. Given the success of the musical Wicked, it is unsurprising that a new film based on L. Frank Baum’s stories has been made. Oz The Great and Powerful concentrates on the young wizard, played by James Franco. The film, which also stars Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, is due for release in March 2013.

Dredd

This is an interesting teaser. Based on the comic book character, Dredd seems to be playing up the stylistic violence with its slow-motion close ups. Starring Karl Urban, Dredd will inevitably be compared to Judge Dredd, the 1995 Sylvester Stallone starrer. Dredd is out in cinemas on 7th September 2012.

Hope Springs

Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star in Hope Springs, a comedy drama about getting the magic back in a long-term marriage. The thing that strikes me first about the trailer is how Meryl Streep seems to be able to transform herself so easily. Streep looks every inch the dowdy housewife, a strong departure from her glamorous public persona. Also starring Steve Carell, Hope Springs is out on 14th September 2012.

The Expendables 2

Here’s a very short clip from The Expendables 2. I really hope this is indicative of the entire film, with its cheesy dialogue, its ambiguous ‘other’ antagonists, and a high body count. I also hope that Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger feature heavily, even though the latter two are more likely to appear in a cameo capacity. The Expendables 2 is out in cinemas on 16th August 2012.

The Dark Knight Rises

A week to go until The Dark Knight Rises is released and I cannot wait. Above is the latest TV spot for the film. With the plethora of clips and spots that have been released in the last few weeks to promote the film, I have tried to avoid watching all of them, lest too much be revealed. If you just can’t get enough TDKR watch them all here. The Dark Knight Rises is out on 20th July 2012.

Stuff To Look At

Some delights for the eyeballs with Frankenweenie, Monsters University, The Expendables 2 and Pitch Perfect.

Frankenweenie

With these images, you are really spoiling us, Disney. Not content with releasing the first image of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent at the beginning of the week, Disney have also furnished us with new images from Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. Obviously, I am choosing to share the image of Sparky, the hot piece dog at the centre of the film. Frankenweenie is due for release on 17th October 2012.

Monsters University

I have a terrible confession to make. I have never actually seen Monsters Inc. I know, shoot me down. Many centuries ago, in my brief stint as a ‘Cast Member’ for The Disney Store, we used to sell all kinds of Sully-emblazoned merchandise. Thus, I am aware of the characters and the general happenings of the film, even though I have never watched Monsters Inc. The follow up, prequel Monsters University, is due for release next summer so I have plenty of time to see the original.

The Expendables 2

Of the films out this summer, The Expendables 2 is one I am really looking forward to. With the inclusion of Jason Statham, Jet Li and others, The Expendables 2 is not really an eighties action star reunion. Nevertheless, the film does feature Norris, Stallone, Lundgren, Schwarzenegger and Willis. Not exactly a bad cast. The Expendables 2 is out in cinemas on 16th August and I cannot wait.

Pitch Perfect

What’s this? Another Glee-inspired film about a singing competition? Yes and no. Like Joyful Noise, it is unlikely that the success of Glee did not impact Pitch Perfect being green lit. However, the film seems to have more of an attitude than the television show, so hopefully amusement will trump saccharine sentiment. Pitch Perfect is out in UK cinemas on 19th October 2012.

Trailer Round-Up

This week is all about the The Expendables 2. Well, not really but the trailer was released this week. Gangster Squad, Brave and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter also feature in this round-up.

The Expendables 2

This film looks amazing. I was one of the people who quite liked the The Expendables, so I am looking forward to this sequel. The Expendables 2 features more of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as Chris Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. Let’s hope the film matches this stellar action cast. The Expedendables 2 is out on 17th August 2012.

Gangster Squad

Gangster Squad is the new film from director Ruben Fleischer. Starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling, the film tells the story of the LAPD’s battle with gangsters in the late 1949. The film is being distributed by Warner Bros, who were famed for the gangster movies in the 1930s. Hopefully Gangster Squad will bring back some of that magic. The film is released on 9th November 2012 in the UK.

Brave

Here is an amusing little video to promote Disney’s Brave. The Scottish theme is really being played up in the film’s publicity. Brave will be out in the UK on 17th August 2012, although cinemagoers in Scotland will be able to see the film two weeks before this. Brave will premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June, so expect to hear more about the film around that time.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Above is a short featurette about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The film’s UK release date has been brought forward; the film will now open on 20th June 2012, bringing it in line with the US release. Given the premise of the film, it should be a lot of fun to watch Lincoln fight vampires in 3D.