Directed by Patrick Hughes (who is also attached to The Raid US remake), The Expendables 3 sees Sylvester Stallone's action dream team get even beefier to combat arms dealer Conrad Stonebank (Mel Gibson).
The draw of the first film was seeing Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis together for the first time ever, albeit for one scene. Their roles were expanded in the sequel, before Willis was dropped from the third for demanding too much money. But his loss is our gain, as he was quickly replaced by the legendary Harrison Ford. Playing CIA officer / Pilot Max Drummer, he still enjoys getting his hands dirty after dishing out new assignments.
Just in case that line-up wasn't exciting enough, 1990s Stallone rivals Wesley Snipes (Demolition Man) and Antonio Banderas (Assassins) reunite as Doctor Death and Galgo. With life imitating art, Doctor Death has spent the last several years in prison. A knife expert, he soon clashes with Jason Statham's Lee Christmas. Banderas is also brilliant as Galgo; a well-meaning but over-enthusiastic sharpshooter with verbal diarrhoea.
Mel Gibson's Conrad Stonebank is as much of a psychological as physical threat to Stallone's Barney Ross. Having originally helped set up the team, he switched allegiances in the self-serving pursuit of money and power. Exuding the same maniacal charm from his Lethal Weapon days, Gibson is on top form as he switches from charismatic art buyer to boiling over with rage as he confronts the Expendables.
When Barney Ross needs fresh blood, he seeks the help of Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer). Recruiting the services of Mars (Victor Ortiz), Smilee (Kellan Lutz), Thorn (Glen Powell) and Luna (UFC champ Ronda Rousey), they bring a fresh, tech-savvy approach. Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture and Terry Crews also return for a third slice of action.
At this point, it's almost easier to list action icons that haven't appeared in The Expendables yet. With rumours already flying about a 4th instalment, obvious names for consideration include Steven Segal, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Pierce Brosnan, Clint Eastwood, Will Smith, Kurt Russell, Vin Diesel and Jackie Chan. In the meantime, we have The Expendabelles to look forward to, uniting female action icons.
The Expendables 3 is unapologetically cheesy and provably isn't going to win any Oscars for Best actor next year. But never mind all that. If you want to have a great time at the cinema, look no further. Full of in-jokes and references, Wesley Snipes' character even has tax evasion issues.
Stallone has created another thrill ride of pure, unadulterated fun that will have you grinning throughout. Part war film, buddy movie, nostalgia trip and comedy, The Expendables 3 is the most explosively entertaining film of the year!