Leon van Nierop
1 minute read
15 Aug 2014
5:00 pm

Movie review: Expendables 3

Leon van Nierop

If one had to include all the big-name actors involved in this film (and their massive egos) in this review, there would be no space left for evaluation.

BIG BOYS. Director Sylvester Stallone (centre) has signed up every ageing action star in the book for The Expendables 3. Picture: Supplied

But that’s okay: it is critic-proof, has been assembled on a computer to boost the stock of its plethora of action stars, and looks like a wide-screen video game with real people.

Few, if any, of the actors resemble real human beings that we care for, so “characters” is perhaps too broad and flattering a term here – which means stars like Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li are almost indistinguishable from the stereotypes they portray.

The plot goes something like this: years ago, the characters played by Sylvester Stallone and Mel Gibson assembled a group of has-beens to help bring criminals and other despots to justice. Now, in their third outing, the group set out to kill Stonebanks, played with a self-conscious glee by Gibson. Viewers are desensitised by the onslaught of violence here, with

humans turned into entertainment fodder as they are killed and maimed – whether they are guilty of something or not. It is frightening and disturbing that a film can treat human life with such disdain and disrespect.

The consequences of death are never shown and the film never takes a moral stance. But then that is not the point. All it wants to achieve is ticket sales, while dishing up fast food for audiences who want to sit back, munch blood-spattered popcorn and laugh at predictable one-liners. Such is the state of cinema nowadays. You can take several bathroom-breaks during a showing and only miss 50 killings by the time you dry your hands.

The only star who manages to achieve a reading on any emotional scale is Jason Statham, who is far better than this material.