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 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.

Film Review: The Expendables

If you like your storyline thin and your body count high, The Expendables is the most enjoyable straightforward action film of the year.

A group of mercenaries led by Barney Ross are offered an assignment to assassinate the dictator of a small island is South America. When they arrive, things aren’t exactly what they seem, and the group faces a highly perilous mission…

Sylvester Stallone directs, co-writes and stars in this big-budget action spectacle. He has assembled some of the best-known action stars from the last few decades, including cameos from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. This works well; there is a real sense of camaraderie, as well as the obligatory in-jokes.

The plot is light, but then that’s not really the attraction of The Expendables. The main draw is seeing all these action stars – Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and others – together on the big screen. Coupled with this are the large-scale action scenes and the graphic fights.

The Expendables harks back to the testosterone-fuelled action films of the 1980s, through not only the casting but also the style. This is by no means a bad thing; after numerous action films attempting to combine a bit of everything it makes a change to see a film so unequivocally action-focused. Most importantly, the film is executed well enough to entice a range of cinemagoers; it is not just the action film devotees who will enjoy it.

The pyrotechnics and stunts are commendable, although there is one effect used in the film that looks a little unrealistic. The soundtrack matches the bravura nature of the visuals. The Expendables builds pace, combining action scenes with more dialogue-laden ones, until the frenetic finale. It is Mickey Rourke’s character who provides the only real depth to proceedings; but then again this film isn’t an emotional drama.

Overall, The Expendables is a highly enjoyable film, and a welcome return of the no-nonsense, unrelentingly violent, unabashedly masculine action film.