I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

The Expendables III Official Trailer I: The Hopening

Now’s the part where we get excited despite ourselves.

Notes:

1. the action in this trailer is all shot clearly and steadily. This suggests a higher ACR than the second one and of course the first one, which I was hoping for from director Patrick Hughes (RED HILL). This could still be screwed up by bad editing, but if not it will go a long way toward winning me over more than the other installments.

2. I like that Snipes’s character seems to be just getting out of lock up. Or possibly cryo-freeze.

3. I noticed that one of the credited writers is a woman. Just for those mooks who tried to hype the other two as some sort of chest bumping bros only affair.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

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140 Responses to “The Expendables III Official Trailer I: The Hopening”

  1. caruso_stalker217

    June 17th, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I’ll be there for Mel. Looks like better action this time around.

  2. So I had to sit through that horrible other fucking trailer in front of every movie I’ve seen since like February and it wasn’t even the official one? I’m trying to keep an open mind here but these fuckers are really trying my patience.

    This one was much improved, I will admit. It looked like there was some good vehicular mayhem, shot from a respectable distance. The expanded cast makes it clear that there will be no time for my extremely tiny demands for the film (that each character be given a moment to shine and a small character arc that adds to the overall tapestry of the story) to be carried out, but oh well. It looks like they bought a tripod, at least. Maybe having all these extra bodies around means that a couple of them will actually get expended this time.

    I kinda wish Harrison Ford wasn’t it, though. Just looking at him bums me out. If there’s a poster boy for whatever the opposite of “Striving For Excellence” is, Ford in the 21st century is it. Indifference rises from his pores like stink lines off a garbage can in a HEATHCLIFF comic strip. This franchise doesn’t need any more high-priced slackers cashing their paychecks and having a laugh at their own persona. It needs another Mickey Rourke, somebody who’s gonna take this endeavor seriously enough to throw it on his back and run with it. Maybe Mel will be that guy. He seemed to relish being the villain in MACHETE KILLS. Maybe his spirit will be infectious.

  3. Looks like Banderas gets to do a lot of cool stuff. I like that.

  4. Since Connery retired Ford seems to have taken up the mantle of grumpy old bastard but oh well, his presence in this won’t be groan inducing for me like that of Banderas. I wouldn’t have missed his loverboy schtick if they left him by the pool with the cabana boys servicing plastic-faced former starlets from the 70’s and 80’s.

    I’m also on board for Mel. I watched Donner’s CONSPIRACY THEORY last night, and the story’s a load of hokum, but Mel is one crazy charismatic convincing bastard and I enjoyed every ridiculous minute of it.

  5. My enthusiasm for this was pretty much DOA after the host of awful teasers but shit, this trailer has more sense of fun to it than the whole of EXP2: THE LETDOWN.

    So great to see Wesley back on the big screen – welcome back, indeed (I hope that’s it with the meta stuff and there’s not a shit ton of gags about getting out of prison).

    Also: Banderas swinging around like a live-action Puss In Boots, Mel being scary, and the always hilarious mild racism aimed at Jet Li.

    Maybe we’ll get a rematch between Mel and Jet?

  6. That’s a damn fine looking trailer, but I’m not encouraged about them added, what, a dozen more characters to an already needlessly overstuffed cast. Seems like it might be a better idea to just write a screenplay and then cast characters that made sense, rather than to cast every person in the world and then try to work them into a screenplay from there. But what do I know?

  7. That’s crazy talk, Mr. S.

  8. The Undefeated Gaul

    June 17th, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I like that it seems for the climax Mel has kidnapped and chained up all the young cast additions and the old dudes have to go rescue them. Sly talks a lot about adding fresh blood and having them take over eventually, but it seems in the movies he makes sure to show them being second best to the old heroes. Either he kills them off like Liam Hemsworth in the last one or turns them into damsels in distress.

  9. What if this is the end of the first act and it ends with Mel killing all of the old guys and now the young ones have to take revenge?!

  10. The Undefeated Gaul

    June 17th, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    CJ – Well, I would have to respect Sly for having the balls to finally make some of the Expendables actually expendable!

  11. The Undefeated Gaul

    June 17th, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    never gonna happen though

  12. New Official Trailer for Seagal’s A GOOD MAN

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlClfgMM9Vo#t=15

  13. Knox Harrington

    June 17th, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    You don’t get it, Majestyk. Sly had to replace an indifferent action icon with another indifferent action icon. He couldn’t replace Bruce no-longer-gives-a-shit Willis with Kurt Russell. There’s a very intricate Expendable balance to maintain. It’s science.

    At least so far each movie has had one guy who really earned his paycheck (Rourke and Van Damme). I’m hoping in this one it will be Mel. Probably not Snipes, but we can hope.

    Oh hey, now that Fast and Furious has borrowed an Expendable for their next movie, maybe they can loan one of their guys to the Expendables franchise. I’d like to see Arnie and the Rock go mano-a-mano.

  14. My god I want to be a skeptic as much as the next guy because well you know… but this is actually a really good trailer. I love the fact that the young bucks are pretty much at Gibson’s mercy and the veterans have to stand against other veterans to get them back. This is what the first movie should’ve looked like.

  15. Broddie, I agree that the trailer looks decent, but it must be said that the other ones had good trailers, too. (Not as good as the fan-made one for the first one with the Andrew W.K. soundtrack. That one might be my favorite of all time.) You got all these amazing faces in one movie, you’re gonna be able to cobble together two minutes of awesome shots. It doesn’t really mean anything. As Mouth recently reminded me, PEARL HARBOR had had a pretty great trailer, too.

  16. Knox Harrington

    June 17th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Holy shit, PEARL HARBOUR had a great trailer. I still remember seeing that trailer for the first time in the theatre and thinking “This movie is gonna be a classic, and that Josh Hartnett guy is gonna be such a big star”. I’m glad it sucked, though. Otherwise we wouldn’t have the beloved maniac filmmaker that Michael Bay is today. I truly get excited every time a new Bay movie is around the corner.

    My all-time favourite trailer is the one for THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (try typing that five times fast). It’s so wonderfully put together. Just as evocative and classy as the film itself.

  17. Did somebody say, ANDREW WK?!?!??!

    True story: Not only have I seen Andrew play 7 shows (4 with a full band, 2 solo and one with Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg) and bought 7 different Andrew WK shirts, including 2 limited edition imports, I have also interviewed him twice.

    During the second interview, I asked him, “My girlfriend texted me just before this interview asking if you’ll be disappointed to find out that since I’m working, I won’t be able to party till I puke at tonight’s show.” Andrew gave a funny answer about how the song is about “Partying as hard and as best as you can. If that means puking, then puke! If it means not puking, then don’t puke!” The important part is, this woman was not yet ‘officially’ my girlfriend when I asked him the question. When the article was published, I sent it to her as a way of formally asking her out. We live together now.

    Another time, I ordered a few shirts from his site and the merch company botched it and then wouldn’t refund my money on one of the shirts even though it had been discontinued. I took to his official message boards to ask if anyone else had this problem. A few months later, I got a care package from Andrew sent to my dorm room with a handwritten apology for any ‘bad vibes’, an import CD, his live show DVD, a few out-of-print stickers, and a truly bizarre, signed 8″11 portrait.

    Another other time – actually during that same second interview – I asked him to play my favorite track “Totally Stupid” at his show. He said he would, then didn’t. A few months later, he played a secret gig at the Viper Room in LA. I tweeted him, asking for the song. He tweeted back encouraging me to yell out for it at the show. During the show, he played all of his first record in order. Then he came out for an encore and played the B-side from the record… THEN he said, “This next song is dedicated to a young man, is he here tonight?” And he played ‘Totally Stupid’ and my brain melted.

    Im short, Andrew WK is my favorite musician and a totally awesome dude.

  18. Yeah, people tend to make fun of Andrew WK for his kinda cheesy music and persona, but everything I’ve heard about that guy so far from people who have actually interacted with him, both on a professional and a fan level, makes me think that he must be one of the greatest and nicest people on earth. (I also heard similar things from someone who worked with Rob Zombie a few times.)

  19. He is not cheesy. Not is he kidding, even if it is all a joke. He’s post-irony. His work represents a form of “new-sincerity” that shares a lot with Vern’s general outlook.

    He also took a contract dispute with his record label into a brilliant, years-long piece of performance art. See, he signed a contract, but his albums bombed and the label basically refused to release new material. Thereafter, he could not perform in the US as Andrew WK because that was the name of the band. Except…that was also his name. So, he turned this tension into the core of his art. Fortunately for him, Andrew’s father literally wrote the text book on contract law, so he was able to find all sorts of loopholes and began to do speaking tours etc. eventually, he bought back his music rights. Oddly, the secondary career as a media figure had become so popular that he hasn’t released any new music, beyond an album of improvisational piano and a Asia-only EP called Party All Goddamn Night and a double disc of his third album and b-sides since getting back the rights. Today, I be the has tons of fans who don’t know about his music, or like him for reasons totally unrelated to music.

  20. I don´t believe in being hyped by trailers so I just sit this trailer out. As one of the few fans of this franchise on this site who doesn´t bitch about what it “should be” rather than what it is, I can´t wait to see the next installment!

  21. Shoot, I’m with you all the way. Maybe it’s a Scandinavian thing.

    Darren, The Mariachi ain’t no cabana boy!

  22. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Is Bandaras not well regarded any more? I liked Older Bandaras in HAYWIRE.

  23. The Original Paul

    June 18th, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    …So I wrote a rather nasty response to the positive comments about this thing, read Shoot’s comment above, and decided not to post it. No point bitching for the sake of bitching.

    I will ask one thing though: Harrison Ford and Antonio Banderas are in this? Where? The only guy I recognised was Mel Gibson.

    In conclusion, I await this with the same level of breathless anticipation that I have for “Die Hard 6: Resurrection”.

  24. Whilst this trailer is great, there is almost nothing for the original Expendables to do in it. I just hope Lundgren, Li, Crewes and Couture are not short changed again!

  25. Paul, if you didn’t recognise any of the guys you mention I think the the whole bitching plan of yours might have backfired.

  26. pegsman, I will extend my admiration for Banderas to ASSASSINS and DESPERADO. However, the balance gets severely tipped by his whole Puss(Wuss) In Boots pantomime style acting and the sight of his saggy ass while he’s boning Angelina Jolie in ORIGINAL SIN. To be fair, I blame the director for that one. If Angelina Jolie agrees to do an enthusiastic sex scene in your film, you keep the camera on her, not the guys ass. Only Michael Douglas in a sleazy film like BASIC INSTINCT can pull that off. We expect that from Douglas.

    Though as Jareth said, older Banderas is ok. He was funny and lighthearted without going into theatrical overdrive in RUBY SPARKS.

  27. re: Douglas – I mean’t we expect Douglas to be parading his saggy ass around the place. To our horror.

  28. So you dismiss his whole career in Spain and all of his sword movies because of a couple of cartoons? Interesting.

  29. Not to mention that Banderas’ Puss In Boots is one of the most delightful celebrity voice acting performances ever! Exactly the right mix between self aware parody and in-character disappereance.

  30. The Original Paul

    June 19th, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Ok Pegsman… let me go through this, piece by piece, and see what we got. To make a point, if you will.

    Until thirty seconds in, we see one person’s face (the black guy with the wild hair, not sure who he is but at least he’d be recognisable to someone who knew him.) Then at thirty seconds, we finally get a face shot of Stallone. The rest of it is all guys facing away from the camera, walking away from the camera, or seen from such a distance that we can’t tell who they are. That’s the first thirty seconds of the trailer by the way.

    The guy at 33 seconds who’s glimpsed at long distance in sunglasses stepping out of a helicopter… that might be Ford, I guess. Can’t really tell.

    40 seconds is clearly Gibson. That one I got.

    49 seconds… clearly Arnie.

    53 seconds… I don’t have a clue. Some grizzled guy with a beard and a hat, seen in profile? That’s Banderas, I guess?

    59 seconds… random female seen under disco lights, in indeterminate clothes, with glasses. We at least see her face at a minute one second, albeit only for a second. Can I point out that I’ve watched at least five Rhonda Rousey fights, yet I wouldn’t have a clue if this was actually her?

    Grizzled guy around the minute mark in… now you see the guy for a full two or three seconds. I don’t have a clue who he is although the face looks familiar. Doesn’t look like Banderas anyway. Also bald guy who looks kinda like Brad Pitt. He baffles me.

    A minute and three seconds… multiple quick-cut facial shots of people I don’t recognise! In sunglasses!

    A minute and four seconds… old guy in sunglasses in military uniform! Is THAT Harrison Ford? We actually get three or four seconds of him and I still can’t tell who the hell he is. Erm… someone who I think is Jet Li appears though, so that’s good?

    A minute and twelve seconds… younger guy, shocked expression. Looks familiar also. It’s probably somebody I’d know the name of, but we get half a second of him so who the hell knows?

    A minute and eighteen… ok so after pausing the trailer and studying it for ten seconds or so, I’m half-convinced the black guy in the bandana was Don Cheadle. At least we get to see his face for maybe half a second before they make cut #135.

    A minute twenty… a guy with a minigun, followed by a sniper. Both of whose faces are obscured. At this point I’m giving up.

    A minute thirty… nope, NOW I’m giving up. Quick cuts between a whole bunch of guys, and apart from what is clearly Mel Gibson’s face in extreme close-up, even pausing the video doesn’t help here. I have no idea who any of these people are. The nearest I can get to is the bald guy who kinda looks like Brad Pitt appearing for the second time (and somebody PLEASE tell me I’m wrong about this one.)

    A minute thirty-eight… Four guys! In identical uniforms! With hats and sunglasses! At extreme long distance! Walking towards the camera in a “cool” pose! See, I have a theory about this one. I think it’s “mirroring” the first thirty-seconds, when all we got were groups of guys walking AWAY from the camera.

    A minute forty-three… Stallone again.

    A minute forty-six… A shot of two guys having a hand-to-hand fight in what seems to be an aircraft hanger, apparently shot from about half a mile away. Followed immediately by a close-up shot of Stallone elbowing somebody in the face. I presume that this is supposed to indicate that Stallone was one of the guys from the previous shot, although the cuts are so quick in this trailer that it’s impossible to tell. For all I know, the first fight happened in a warehouse in central America, the second one at the North Pole.

    A minute forty-nine… A lovely stunt shot! Of a guy in a motorcycle helmet! Now you’re just trolling us, aren’t you, trailer? Followed by Stallone. It’s worth noting here that apart from a couple of glimpses of Statham, one of Jet Li, and one that might’ve been Dolph standing next two two other guys with large weapons covering their faces, there’ve been basically zero shots of the original Expendables where you can actually tell who the fuck they are.

    A minute fifty-one… This guy has the same wild hair as the black guy in the beginning… only now he appears to be white. Hmmmm. And no, I still don’t have a clue who the fuck he is.

    A minute fifty-two onwards… multiple quick-cut action shots of random people. Mel shoots somebody. The rest, God knows, because I sure as hell don’t. And even pausing the video doesn’t help. It might’ve been Cheadle in that red beret, but wasn’t he dressed in a bandana the last time we saw him? I’m confused.

    A minute fifty-seven… CARTWHEEL FU!!! YEAH!!!!!! Finally a legitimate reason to watch this movie. Erm… we see everybody fighting from above, with no chance to recognise who they are, although immediately afterwards there’s a clear shot of Stallone, and another one of Mel. As far as they’re selling anybody in this film, they’re selling those two.

    A minute fifty-eight… Somebody screaming into a radio headset while wearing sunglasses, but at least we see the face. This might be Harrison Ford. Or it might be Colonel Trautmann from “Rambo”. Or the guy who was the leader of the “A-Team”.

    Two minutes three seconds… AH! Possible Antonio Banderas sighting! Although he seems to have lost about twenty years (seriously, if that’s him, he’s looking a helluva lot more spry than he did in “Haywire”.) Yep – I’ll give you that one Pegsman – that’s clearly Banderas.

    Two minutes nine seconds onwards… now we finally get to see who everyone is! Almost! I got Banderas, possibly-Cheadle, Statham, Stallone, and… stars finally named. No Don Cheadle. And… ok, the blonde who’s partially obscured by what I think is Statham’s arm is clearly Rhonda Rousey. Although again it took the pause button to figure that one out.

    (Desperately searches the credits for black guys who looks like Don Cheadle…) Wait, was that Wesley Snipes??!!! Or was it Terry Crews? I think I can maybe be excused for mistaking one black guy for another black guy when there is literally no other recognisable feature that you can use to identify them in 80% of the shots that they’re in.

    …And that’s all I got.

    Yeah, I’ve actually watched this thing, pausing it every few seconds, and I STILL have no idea who the hell Harrison Ford is playing in it. I didn’t even see most of the original Expendables, I can’t tell the black guys apart, I can’t tell most of the old guys apart, I can’t tell most of the young guys with short brown hair apart. 80% of this trailer is people being seen in low lights, from behind, at extreme range, or in silhouette. I got Banderas, lots of Stallone, a bit of Statham, possible Li and Dolph sightings although I couldn’t swear to either of those, and somebody who looks like a bald Brad Pitt although he’s apparently not even in this movie.

    What I’m getting at here is that for a movie series that basically trades on its star power, and not much else, this trailer does not do a good job of showing you who its stars actually are.

  31. I can’t really tell if you’re joking or watched the whole thing on your mobile or something, but if you know what these guys look like it’s not that difficult to spot them in the trailer, is is? At least it wasn’t on my TV screen.

  32. Kevin Holsinger

    June 19th, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Good morning, Vern and all.

    Loved this trailer, though I hope that last bit of everyone partying at a bar wasn’t taken from the end of the movie, basically spoiling who lives.

    Enjoy your day.

  33. Kevin, can it be that they’re partying after an early successful mission?

  34. The Undefeated Gaul

    June 19th, 2014 at 5:05 am

    Paul – were you watching with the sound off? You would have recognized Snipes, Ford and Grammer easily by their voices alone. Otherwise I’m baffled by how you could miss those guys, especially Snipes. Ever watch Blade? You should check it out, it’s a decent film.

    What I will admit is that the newbies are for the most part unrecognizable. I kind of recognized Kellan Lutz, but only because I just saw him in that shitty Hercules film.

    By the way Vern, will you be reviewing that? In a way it’s not really worth your time but every Scott Adkins completionist should at least give it a watch. I think he does well with what he’s given to work with (which is, sadly, not enough kicking).

  35. Kevin Holsinger

    June 19th, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Good morning, Pegsman.

    I hope so. Raises questions about timing, though. The Expendables would have to rescue Mr. Snipes (5 to 10 minutes of screentime), recruit the 20-somethings (2 to 5 minutes), go on a successful mission (10 to 15 minutes), come back to party, and do all of this before the kidnapping plot kicks in.

    However, they advertise this movie as “one last ride”, or something like that…which leaves me to believe that even if, say, some of the older Expendables don’t die, they’ll at least retire. So at least it won’t be a total preservation of the status quo, as the bar scene implies.

    Enjoy your day.

  36. Knox Harrington

    June 19th, 2014 at 7:22 am

    I like Kevin. He’s very polite.

    Speaking of Banderas, has Vern ever reviewed THE SKIN I LIVE IN? He should, it’s really good (and really terrifying).

    P.S. Sorry to bitch, Chris and Vern, but you guys seriously need to update your reviews database. The films that you’ve reviewed over the last year or two aren’t on there, and since the search bar isn’t the best, it can be quite tough to find some of your reviews. Anyway, done bitching. Thanks. We love you. Have a nice day.

  37. The Original Paul

    June 19th, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Pegsman – I watched it on my 24-inch monitor in fullscreen. And that was exactly my experience. And no, I didn’t recognise Snipes once until I saw his name in the credits (I’m sure it’s been mentioned before on the forusm here that he was in it, I just forgot). If the guy with the wild hair at the 27-odd second mark is Snipes then no damn wonder I didn’t recognise him – he looks completely different to “Blade” or “Demolition Man”. It’s as if he’s aged about fifty years but without actually showing any signs of physical aging – he’s just changed.

    I know Harrison Ford and Kelsey Grammar (he’s in this?!) almost exclusively from non-action roles, with the very obvious exception of “Indiana Jones” for Ford. It’s been years since I’ve seen any of the Star Wars or Jack Ryan movies that he starred in anyways. So no, I wouldn’t necessarily recognise their “action” voices, and I didn’t here.

    And I find Snipes’ voice as generic and bland as I find Snipes himself. He does a good mumbled growl, maybe. Of the films I’ve seen of his – and yes, I realise I haven’t seen a lot of his best work, as has been pointed out many times to me on these forums, but of the films I’ve actually SEEN – “Blade” would seem to be the fluke hit. It’s the one role of his that I don’t think could’ve been done equal justice by a dozen other actors. Well, maybe “Blade 2” as well (I’m not a huge fan of that one, but I do give it and Snipes a lot of credit for mostly managing to keep the essence of Blade’s character, at least while the abominable Scud isn’t around to pussify him and there’s no slow-motion putting-on of sunglasses.)

    Anyway… I said I wouldn’t bitch, but what the hell… it’s a bad trailer. It cuts far, far too much between shots. If the actual film has this much cutting then it’s going to be excrutiating to watch. I don’t know how on earth you call the action “good” when you get about half a second of each action scene, strung into sequence in such a way that you can’t even tell which parts are the same scene and which aren’t. There’s a helluva lot going on but I have no idea whether any of it is actually filmed competently. The other disadvantage is that, analyzing it shot-by-shot over something like twenty minutes for the post above, I feel like I’ve literally seen half a second of every action scene in the entire movie. In fact, the only thing it doesn’t show is a single original idea or interesting character.

  38. The Original Paul

    June 19th, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Ok, that was a bit unkind to Snipes, but what the hell. The guy comes off as a complete and utter asshole anyway. Maybe “generic” is too strong a word but I’ve seen at least three films of his where I’m convinced he couldn’t even muster the enthusiasm to even try and LOOK like he wants to give a good performance. If he doesn’t give a shit, why should I?

    Look, I don’t “get” this one, ok? I didn’t like the first “Expendables” movie, it wasn’t iredeemably awful but the good bits were very few and far between. And given just how bad Stallone’s performance was in it, and just how little I’ve given a shit about him in any movie I’ve seen of his since, the idea of another Stallone-led “Expendables” movie immediately makes me want to run far away.

    There endeth my bitch.

  39. Kevin Holsinger

    June 19th, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Good afternoon, Knox Harrington.

    I’ll second Vern reviewing “The Skin I Live In”, I think. Not sure how I feel about recommending a movie that…given what little I know of its admittedly interesting premise…will forever kill Vern’s ability to enjoy a Puss in Boots flick. :)

    Enjoy your day.

  40. Paul, I’m no defender of this franchise, but if you can’t recognize Wesley Snipes and Harrison Ford, that’s your problem, not the trailer’s. The marketing for these films is very clear on who’s in them, because who’s in them is the only thing they have going for them.

  41. The Original Paul

    June 19th, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Majestyk – I STILL don’t know who Harrison Ford is supposed to be. I assume by elimination that he’s the guy with the flat-top, because the old guy with the beard has a smoother rounder face than Ford has. But honestly they’re two anonymous old guys in near-identical clothing and large face-obscuring sunglasses, mostly seen in the dark or through semi-opaque glass. It could be the zombified remains of Orson Welles in there and I don’t see how you’d tell.

    “The marketing for these films is very clear on who’s in them, because who’s in them is the only thing they have going for them.”

    No, it SHOULD be clear on who’s in them, because it’s the only thing they have going for them. To say that it IS clear belies the evidence of my own eyes. Are you honestly telling me that if you didn’t know Ford was in this movie from the credits at the end, you’d know it from any other part of this trailer? According to IMDB I’ve watched over twenty movies or TV shows with him in them and I don’t spot anybody in this movie who’s even barely recognisable as him. There are several guys who COULD be him, sure. There’s a guy at the end of my street right now who COULD be Patrick Stewart. On the other hand he could just be some old bald guy.

    But even disregarding that point… where’s Dolph? Or Li? Or Terry Crews? Or any of the MMA guys (apart from Rousey, you can just about see her behind somebody’s arm if you pause the thing near the end)? This is a Gibson-Stallone fest. Gibson at least usually comes off well in his movies when he has to talk. But Stallone? ALL of his best roles have him be near-inarticulate. Remember how good the first five or so minutes of “Escape Plan” was, when we followed his character through the process of breaking out of jail in a single sequence that had zero dialogue in it? And how that was completely ruined the moment he opened his mouth and revealed himself to be the same wisecracking asshole that he’s been in all of the Stallone films that I’ve most disliked? Why does anybody still think this comes off as “charming”? Why…?

    …Ah fuck it. It’s “The Expendables”. I’m done.

  42. I like the trailer alright for the same reasons many of you do but I am having trouble getting excited for 3X. I was probably one of the strongest defenders of EX2 when it was released despite its clunky groan inducing self-aware humor and other flaws but the film doesn’t hold up very well. I still enjoy EX2, but with each viewing I am less compelled to revisit the film and less excited about the franchise. The problem is that once the novelty of seeing these icons on screen together gets old there is not enough character development or story to make me care enough to want to keep coming back, and as good as the action looks in the 3X trailer the fact that the cast is even larger this time around shows that they continue to focus more on casting then actual story telling. I find it hard to believe that after having had a smaller cast for EX2 and struggling to properly develop that smaller cast of characters and make good use of them that they are somehow going to get it right while by ballooning the cast to an even larger size for this installment. I also, think that the impact of the casting which is the crutch this franchise uses to support itself gets weaker with each installment. I am excited for Mel, Snipes and Rousey, but the additions of Kelsey Grammer (WTF!?!?!? How is he in this movie? I would not have cast Grammer in this film even if I could only use actors from CHEERS to fill out the cast.) and Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones & Han Solo are 2 of the most iconic characters in the history of cinema but Ford has been phoning it in since the 90’s) seem forced. But I am not just disappointed with who is in the film I am also disappointed in who they left out. I get that money and scheduling are an issue when you try and make a film with a cast the size of the EXPENDABLES films, but if your brand is based on featuring stars of the action genre and you add Kelsey Garmmer but still haven’t utilized Seagal, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Donnie Yen, or Nic Cage you dilute your brand. I am still hoping I enjoy the film and I will probably still like it even if it is more of the same but I will be even less excited for an EX4 if I am even excited at all.

  43. Actually now that I think about it an EXPENDABLES film only featuring the cast of CHEERS isn’t a bad idea. The Core of the team would be Sam Malone who started the unit with his close friend and mentor who he lost in combat Coach. Woody would be his right hand man & hand to hand combat specialist, Carla could be the demolitions expert, Ciff would specialize in military intelligence, and Norm would handle the heavy artillery like Jesse The Body in PREDATOR. Kelsey Grammer would not make the cast.

  44. “I STILL don’t know who Harrison Ford is supposed to be.”

    I’ll give you a hint: He’s the guy who looks like one of the most recognizable movie stars in the history of the world.

  45. Knox Harrington

    June 19th, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Charles, I don’t think it’s fair to accuse the franchise of not “utilizing” Seagal, Chan, Cage, etc. It’s not like they have these guys locked up in a cupboard somewhere, just waiting to be used. A shit ton on planning and scheduling and negotiating and compromise goes into the making of a film, especially one with a cast of this scale. I’m sure there’s a very long list of people they’d love to include, but can’t for a whole host of reasons.

    And Paul, this is a ridiculous argument. If you’re trying to comment on the way the trailer was put together, then do so directly. No one believes for a second that you can’t recognise Ford or Snipes or whoever. And if you seriously can’t, I recommend you go see a doctor.

  46. Knox, I am realistic. I am not blaming the EXPENDABLES franchise for things not working out with Seagal or any of the other names I mentioned. I understand the challenges of trying to manage conflicting schedules and priorities as well as budget when assembling a cast like the EX films feature. However, at the end of the day if my brand is built around action genre stars of the 80’s & 90’s and I only utilize some of them while surrounding them with other performers that are not icons of the genre I am going to dilute my brand. It is the same as if a luxury car manufacturer like Mercedes ran low on parts and started to use parts from a less reputable manufacturer in its place when they are unable to get what they really need. In my example Mercedes may not have a choice in using those lesser parts if it wants to meet market demand, but they have to expect that they run the risk of damaging there brand by using lesser parts. 3X was going to get made whether the casting worked out or not and I am sure some of the cast are not Sly and teams first choice. However, that doesn’t mean the movie will be bad because of it but it is hard to continue to position yourself as the franchise that is home to action stars of the 80’s & 90’s when you continue to leave out iconic action stars of the 80’s & 90’s.

    PS: If his health allows it can they please cast Burt Rynolds in an EX film before he passes away?

  47. “It could be the zombified remains of Orson Welles in there”

    For God’s sake Paul, don’t give them ideas. This movie has enough people in it already.

  48. Knox Harrington

    June 19th, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Well, I think they’ve done pretty damn good so far. Shit, did you ever think you’d see Sly, Arnie, Mel, Snipes and Ford in a movie together? So far they’ve added a decent numbers of action icons to each installment. In that regard, I think they’re a huge success.

    I really enjoy this franchise. In some ways they feel like hangout movies. I’ve watched the first two films a number of times and each time I enjoy the company of these personalities. They could definitely afford to work on character dynamics a lot more, and on structuring the action, but I feel like I enjoy this franchise for the reasons the filmmakers want me to enjoy it. I’ve read a number of interviews where Sly said they’re gonna tone down the wink-wink jokes for this one. Hope that’s true.

    P.S. Burt Reynolds would be great. Personally, I’d love to see Nick Nolte play a part (but then, I want Nick Nolte in everything).

  49. The Original Paul

    June 19th, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Knox – I genuinely didn’t recognise Snipes – he barely looks like the guy from “Blade” as it is. And as for Ford… seriously… who the fuck is he? Military guy #127 in quick cut #145? Seriously, these white guys all look the same to me. It’s worse than “Bad Boys 2”.

    Anyway I’ll agree that this is perhaps the dumbest argument ever, so to end it I’ll throw my full approval behind a “Cheers” version of the Expendables.

  50. Charles, Frasier was the best character in CHEERS, so he’s in or the deal is off.

    And as far as I know Seagal, Chan and Cage was offered roles but turned Stallone down. Seagal because he wouldn’t work with the films producer, Chan because of the violence and Cage because of…who knows.

    I second the Burt Reynolds suggestion. But if they go down that route they would have to have Clint in there, and Joe Don Baker, William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, Robert Forster, Michael Caine, Robert Redford, Keith Carradine, Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach, Don Stroud etc, etc.

  51. Knox, I am not trying to be negative. I agree with you for the most part they have done a good job so far with casting and part of what I enjoy about the franchise is getting to spend time with these action icons hanging out with each other but if all the focus is on casting with little to no importance put on character development and story when the casting starts to get watered down because the best choice is not available or to expensive then you start to have a real problem.

  52. First trailer I’ve let myself watch for this. Looks pretty fucking glorious to me. I want to believe.

  53. Pegsman, I know many of the stars we are discussing have been offered roles and some were rumored to star in the project at one point, but that is part of the problem when the end product has to compete with the “what if” scenario that did not pan out but might be more appealing.

    I like all your suggestions and think any of them would make excellent additions to the cast but at this point I think we have a better chance of seeing Alec Baldwin or Charlie Sheen in EX4 then Clint or Burt.

    I admit Frasier is not a bad character. There is a reason he got his own spinoff show (and I give him points for moving to Seattle). Also, Kelsey Grammer is a good actor but how is he in anyway badass? In all seriousness can anybody make a good argument for Kelsey Grammer’s inclusion in the cast and how his inclusion has been marketed like it a great addition to the franchise. I laugh when I watch the trailer and they highlight Grammer’s inclusion to the cast like it is a big deal and a selling point to the audience. Do they expect someone that is undecided on whether to watch 3X will see the trailer and will be swayed by Grammer’s inclusion? Does he deserve the same billing as the other action icons in the film (Snipes)? Who sees that trailer and says “Holly Shit, Frasier is in it! Count me In!” Also, how long can you beat a horse before it is dead?

  54. Knox, that’s on me. To save overhead I removed the plugin that auto-generated the list and was doing it manually…until I wasn’t. I hope to get back on it soon and will look for a temporary solution after I update the site this weekend.

    Paul, I haven’t watched the trailer for a few days but if I remember correctly Ford is shown as a reluctant helicopter pilot. Grammer is shown with beard and floppy hat having a chat in a bar. Both also appear in group shots. My guess is Ford will be an old ally needed to get somewhere and Grammer will be an old handler.

  55. I enjoy the EX’s for what they are, so I’m with Knox on this one. They’re not meant to be Coriolanus. They are what I would call my comfort movies, when I want to be around familiar actors and characters from the past. I’m glad they exist.

  56. And as far as dream casting goes, I also would liked to have seen Cage in there, plus James Woods. Though I heard Woods and Stallone weren’t that chummy during THE SPECIALIST.

  57. Just to be clear guys I really enjoy the EXPENDABLES films (you can read the postative things I have said about them on this site), and I want this film to be even better then the last one. However, after repeated viewings of EX2 and seeing the trailer for 3X I have concerns. That doesn’t mean I still don’t enjoy EX2 for what it is. I am just noticing some potentialy alarming trends.

  58. The Original Paul

    June 19th, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Clubside – oh Grammar’s the guy with the beard?! Ahhhhhhh.

    Y’know I feel a sense of pride about this. Like we just put together a particularly difficult puzzle, or something.

    Anyway… just saw “Oculus”. it’s very good, although it’s not perfect. I’ll try and write something up in the forums on it at some point, probably when I’m a little more refreshed / less grouchy. Suffice to say for the moment that it gets a definite recommendation from me for slow-burn horror fans.

  59. The Original Paul

    June 19th, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Charles – normally I’m in favour of “stunt casting”. Serial rom-com lead Heath Ledger as a supercriminal in clown makeup? I’m there. Timothy Dalton as a moustache-twirling Nazi? Get me a seat and some popcorn.

    However, in Stallone’s movies in particular, it always seems to work to the detriment of the film. (Anybody remember “50 Cent” as a genius hacker in “Escape Plan”? No? There’s a reason for that. I love the idea, but the guy had about five minutes of screentime and still managed to look completely and utterly out of his depth.) Kelsey Grammar, of course, is no 50 Cent. The obvious route to take with him would be to make him some kind of a desk-jockey bureaucrat, which is why (for the sake of what little hope I have for this film after this trailer) I’d rather hope that they DIDN’T do that. Kelsey Grammar as a stone-cold psychopath or something would be all kinds of awesome.

  60. The couple more times I’ve watched this trailer has led me to believe it’s gonna be pretty fucking great.

    – The cinematography and action scenes look good. That motorbike stunt is fucking wow.

    – Gibson seems to be playing it Straight Villain, not OTT. The OTT will be covered by Puss In Boots.

    – Crews and Arnie on Gatling Guns – Predator style.

    – Lots of shit getting blowed up real good.

    – Prison-break by train smash.

    – Bar fights with hot chicks.

  61. Yes, it takes a mighty Australian to kick the door in and show these drongos what a tripod is. God damn it, I may have to go see this thing, guys. I want to believe.

    You’d think by now I’d be used to Paul’s bizarre, left-field nitpicks, but once again I am taken by surprise. Dude, there are remote tribes of the Amazon untouched by Western civilization that would have recognized Snipes, Ford, Grammer, et al in that trailer.

  62. Paul, I am not sure I would call Kelsey Grammer’s inclusion stunt casting. I bet it is more of a situation where his role was written for another action star with some acting chops like Nic Cage or Mickey Rourke that had to back out at the last minute and Grammer was available.

  63. How is Kelsey Grammer a badass? Motherfucker took down Magneto.

  64. Knox Harrington

    June 20th, 2014 at 3:36 am

    I’m very curious about what’s gonna happen to this franchise after the third film. I hope it’s the last one. A Wild Bunch or Dirty Dozen ending would be amazing.

    Still, I want this team concept to keep going. An Expendabelles movie could be fun, or maybe some spin-off with a younger team and an older mentor (that’s probably the idea with the proposed TV show).

    I just know I wouldn’t mind if this became the X-men of action franchises. Usually I’m quite precious about characters I love (I don’t want another Rambo movie, for instance. The last one was the perfect farewell), but since the Expandables characters aren’t really precious to me (or anyone, I guess), I say let them keep going. Who knows, maybe somewhere down the line we do start caring about them.

  65. Grammar and Stallone are both well known neo-cons. That’s my guess on his inclusion.

  66. I see no evidence that Grammar is playing a badass character. He looks like comic relief, the sleazy fixer in the Hawaiian shirt the gang needs to get them equipment or information or access or whatever. The M. Emmett Walsh in MISSING IN ACTION character. Not everybody in these movies needs to be a supreme badass. The first movie had Batista from DEXTER in a prominent role. (I was going to say Eric Roberts but then I remembered BEST OF THE BEST 2.)

  67. Mr. M, I am guessing Grammer is there to either provide comic relief or to deliver an emotional monolog like Rourke did in the first film. Really they don’t need to bring in outside talent for comic relief in an EX film. They already have Terry Crews for that and he is just as funny if not funnier then Grammer and was underutilized in the previous film. Besides, if they are going to bring in new a star for comic relief in an EX film shouldn’t Rob Schneider be the first choice? Also, it is not just the casting of Grammer that concerns me it is how his addition to the cast has been marketed that concerns me and speaks to my concern for the franchise. Grammer is a fine actor and I imagine he will be good in his role in 3X, but how they have marketed his inclusion to the cast as if it is as relevant as the additions of Snipes or Banderas is ridiculous and shows that the film makers are more concerned with trying to compile a list of recognizable names for a trailer even if they are not genre stars then getting the most out of the cast they have. It just shows poor priorities and concerns me.

  68. Knox, I agree with your idea about trying to make the EX franchise more like the X-Men franchise. I think if the EX films are handled right they could be developed like the X films or Marvel Studios films where they develop characters and build a cinematic universe that could keep turning out films for years even support spin off films.

  69. Charles: I see where you’re coming from, but seeing GRAMMER slammed onto the screen in bombastic metallic lettering in the same context as STALLONE and SCHWARZENEGGER is probably the biggest, most genuine laugh I’m ever going to get out of this franchise.

  70. Mr. M, you hit the nail on the head. It is as if they are completely unaware how absurd it is.

  71. I can’t tell if they’re completely clueless or if they know exactly what they’re doing. Either way, I’m oddly more intrigued by Grammer’s inclusion in the cast than I am about anybody else, except maybe Gibson. Seeing Frasier and Rambo interacting is just too bizarre a mash-up to pass up.

    Okay, maybe I’m a little excited. Fuck you guys.

  72. The first two weren’t very good, this one probably won’t be either.

  73. Knox Harrington

    June 20th, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Well, in all fairness, how else should they present Grammer in the marketing? Change the font on his name?

    Actually, that would be hilarious.

  74. They should have used Comic Sans and included a record scratch sound effect.

  75. Knox Harrington

    June 20th, 2014 at 11:07 am

    You might need Matthew Perry for that one.

  76. Knox Harrington

    June 20th, 2014 at 11:09 am

    And they should cast Sean Bean as the one Expendable who actually dies… after betraying them… and then cries.

  77. I think yeah, put Grammer’s name in the “Fraiser” font, with the outline of the city behind it. And then have the city explode.

  78. Mr. S, I love it. What if the siloute of city transformed into a skull with guns & knives sticking out of it the then explodes.

  79. Motherfuckers act like they forgot about Sideshow Bob.

  80. I saw PREDATOR with some of my kids last night, and these days it’s funny to hear how many times they use the word EXPENDABLE throughout the movie.

  81. I also think I was the only person who watched BOSS, which was a great proof for how scary Kelsey Grammar REALLY can be.

  82. I hope he kills someone using tossed salad and scrambled eggs somehow.

    Also, I know there’s MMA people in this, but can we keep the rolling armbar type shit to a minimum, please? If you want to break an arm, do it old-school- block a punch, twist the arm, and drive your elbow into their’s so it snaps.

  83. A perfect screener of this hit the torrents today. Been a while since one of these was leaked, on anything this big anyway. By end of the weekend half ‘the internet’ will have seen it. If it’s good who knows, may help box office, but if it’s dodgy…

  84. How the hell do these things get out? Is it a disguntled employee type situation?

    Like AU says, box office could be affected by this and that ain’t cool.

    Sly is no doubt busting some heads as I type.

  85. karlos – I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the studio themselves trying to build up word of mouth before the movie drops that way it has a greater turn out than expected if people liked it enough to give it another go on the big screen. Sort of like when Radiohead gives their music away for free and when the fans end up liking it they financially support it anyway.

  86. Broddie – maybe. If so, I hope it pays off for them. It’s one hell of a gamble!

    Just looked for it online and it’s all over the net like a rash now.

  87. Yeah, i know someone who has the copy and I saw the pre-credits sequence (the train bit). It was ok – not amazing, but not confusingly shot or staged. Perfectly serviceable. Nobody gets a minute to shine (I’m actually not even sure if Crews was there), but I do like that Wesley gets to do his badass poses after hitting people.

    But yeah, I refused to watch the rest because a) after the failures of The Last Stand, Escape Plan, Bullet to the Head, and Sabotage, these guys need all the help they can get, and b) I saw the last two Expendables opening night super-high after eating Golden Corral with my friends. It turned two mediocre movies into a pretty fun experience, and I plan on doing the same thing for this one.

  88. Neal2Zod – I saw the first 2 Expendables on day one as well, and I’m sure I’ll be doing the same thing with pt 3.

    Not only am I shocked it has been leaked but I’m also amazed at how quickly it’s spread across the net – even if Sly’s men try to pull it now there’s just no way.

    Sly will be remembering this shit at Christmas.

  89. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 25th, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    It’s not a perfect screener, little under DVD quality I would say, but it’s watchable, so I did (Honestly? It was the PG 13 rating, made me lose hope. Probably would have waited otherwise). Now I know the down-loading from the interweb is frowned upon around here, so just let me say quickly I will pay for a ticket when it is released. Sly will be getting my money (and again for the blu ray).

    I liked it. It’s obviously the best directed out of the three, the cringe worthy comedy has been toned down to a minimum and Snipes/Banderas/Gibson/Ford/Grammer are all having a goddamn blast. But the PG 13 rating hurts it (I couldn’t count the number of times they cut away from finishing moves) and it’s overcrowded. Not enough moments to shine for guys like Statham and Lundgren. Newbies didn’t make much of an impression, except maybe Rousey, she was pretty cool.

    I’ve got other points but I’ll save them for the discussion after the official release. Don’t wanna spoil anything for those wanting to go in fresh.

  90. Gaul – glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    I won’t be saying anything else about it on here until it’s properly released and not just rescued from a highly fortified train.

  91. Is there a lot of “lol, old people” type humour in it with the generational thing? When Grammar said “welcome to the 21st century” in the trailer, I immediately wondered if this is gonna be one of those movies where people act like computers were only invented a few years ago and the stuck in their ways old guys need to get with the times and learn how to use them.

    I apologise for using “lol”.

  92. What I heard about the film is that The main Expendables cast get thrown out by Sly for being too old, and they spend like 45 minutes with the new blood, before they get captured. Also heard that Terry Crewes and Jet Li are barley inn it. At least the film is over 2 hours long, which is a first, but it seem to still be The Barney Ross Show.

  93. It feels more sincere than the others and certainly is devoid of a misguided sense of cool– it traffics in the melancholy of John Rambo Stallone while never being that dour. There are no meta jokes although I think it does traffic in the familiarity of certain working relationships (Banderas-Stallone; and it’s not really an accident that Mel Gibson is the bad guy in an “Expendables” movie that finally feels like a travelling road show of familiar characters and aging icons– like the 4th Lethal Weapon). I would have loved for the film to be bloody and violent, but for better or worse they mostly made the film these should have been from the start.

  94. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 26th, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Yeah, out of the three it does feel the most like a “real” movie. In a way that’s good but I do feel they lost track of an important thing that makes these movies so fun, which is the goofy VS fights between big names. Stallone VS Stone Cold! Statham VS Adkins! Lundgren VS Li! There’s none of that here. In fact, the action is almost purely gunplay, very little martial arts or straight up punching. Makes it feel more generic.

  95. Whoever the punk is who leaked it is gonna lay up at night worrying about Dolph Lundgren coming for him, just like those guys that broke into Dolph’s house and then saw a picture of him and took off.

    I of course will wait to see it in the theater.

  96. My cousin tells me that Mel and Banderas really steal the show. Said that Gibson’s Conrad Stonebanks is pretty much the franchise MVP in his eyes and not just the best villain in the series. So that has me really looking forward to his scenes in this one because despite his misogynistic and racist ways offscreen when Mel is on fire he truly is one of the best to ever do it. With that said I’m with Vern in that I’ll just wait to see it on the big screen. Besides it’s only about 2 weeks away anyway.

  97. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 28th, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Mel is great. Would pay double ticket price to see that same part but unleashed in R rated glory though, PG 13 is too limiting for Mad Mel. People say ratings shouldn’t matter but I truly feel it’s one of the two major flaws that bring down the film, the other being the whole “bring in the newbies” angle.

  98. “…just like those guys that broke into Dolph’s house and then saw a picture of him and took off.” Vern, isn’t that a story Brandon Lee used to tell? Obviously he had a portrait of his father on the wall, not Dolph.

  99. Pegsman, I heard about it on the news a few years ago. Some guys broke into Dolph’s house, threatened and tied up his wife (but didn’t hurt her in any way, although it probably was pretty traumatic to her) and then noticed whose house it was and ran away. Dolph was on the other side of the planet, shooting a movie at that time.

    But I can imagine that happen to the son of Bruce fucking Lee too!

  100. Sounds like an urban myth, honestly. An AWESOME urban myth, mind you.

  101. Maybe the intruder was into science and saw that Dolph has a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and ran off? Almost all tough guy actors have a story like this to tell. I don’t think all of them are true, though.

  102. I saw Brandon Lee tell that story when he was on Leno. The intruders didn’t see pictures and run away. He said that he had a bunch of pictures of him and his dad and he wondered at the burglar seeing them and not running away. Leno said that he has pictures of Elvis at his house and that doesn’t mean he’s the son of Elvis. Anyway, Brandon came in and caught the guy and then proceeded to chase him around and around the house, like they were running laps. He eventually caught the guy and subdued him.

  103. He wasn’t that specific when he told it during a promotion interview for RAPID FIRE, but I can see now that it isn’t the same story as Dolph’s at all.

  104. Here’s the interview I saw:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGt4WHWeK84

    And just seeing the hair and clothes in this makes me feel old as shit.

  105. Yeah, it was Dolph’s house I was referring to. Might be a made up tabloid story, but this is what was reported:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1173697/Burglars-tie-woman–flee-house-realise-shes-married-action-hero-actor-Dolph-Lundgren.html

  106. Just back from it. EXPENDABLES 3 is the best entry in the series. That’s not saying much, I know, but it is a definite step up from the other two for me. It tones down the in-jokes greatly (though there’s still a few in there), without sacrificing the overall fun, and despite having the biggest cast ever, I think it handles it pretty well and there’s a few standouts(Antonio Banderas’ character is hilarious and Harrison Ford’s plays a bigger role than I expected).

  107. How’s the editing? I saw a clip on TV and the action looked like it was assembled at random, like three blind guys trying to make a burrito.

  108. 3.3 on the ACR scale, I’d say. It’s mostly fine, but there are some issues with closeups and fast cuts, especially in the climax. I’d guess partly to blame is having to remove stuff for a PG-13 rating, and not have a more complete alternate take instead.

  109. Holy shit you guys. I kind of loved it. Actually there’s no kind of about it. I loved this new Expendables movie.

    Man, am I glad I never gave up hope and didn’t spend the last couple years complaining about it. That would have been embarrassing.

  110. Oh god, don’t talk me into seeing it dude. I’ve already loudly declared that I’m done contributing to the action star retirement fund.

    Does Snipes get to do some cool shit?

  111. Snipes is my favorite part. He’s looser and funnier than he’s been in decades.

  112. I just got out of Expendables 3 and I thought it was pretty good. But I’m probably being too generous just because of how much awesome shit is in the last action sequence. To be honest, I could probably list more negatives about this movie than positives. So let’s put that theory to the test.

    First, the positives. Mel Gibson was fantastic as the villain. He hammed it up like crazy and stole every scene he was in. This is the first time I’ve ever seen him play a bad guy (though I think he was also the villain in the last Machete movie) and he was clearly having a lot of fun with it. Kelsey Grammar was also pretty great as an old friend of Stallone’s character who helps him recruit some new guys. They actually had a great rapport, and I enjoyed that whole sequence. Antonio Banderas was also a lot of fun as a goofy mercenary trying to join up with the Expendables. He actually gets most of the genuine laughs, and it was kind of awesome to see him in action again. I’m also surprised to report that Harrison Ford actually put some effort into his performance. He gets some great dialog to chew on when he’s first introduced, including the movie’s only instance of the word “fuck”.

    I also have to commend most of the action. I say “most” because there’s some editing that’s too fast, and some fights that rely on too many close-ups and some bad digital explosions, but for the most part it looks great and it’s all exhilarating. Everybody gets a chance to show off except Jet Li, who just kind of shows up and shoots a gun a few times while enduring jokes about his height. And if I were making this, I definitely would have given Wesley Snipes at least one awesome fight sequence where he takes on a few dudes single-handedly with spin kicks and flying elbows and badass posing. Missed opportunity, movie.

    And I guess that’s about all of the good things I can list. For me those are enough to recommend the movie, as long as you’re into classic 80s/90s action cinema. But if you do go, you’re going to find that the movie looks very cheap. I couldn’t help but notice how the movie just looked like a direct-to-video action flick. The cinematography was just barely passable, with occasionally poor coverage of action scenes. It had all the hallmarks of a really tight shooting schedule. The editing was also messy at times, often with poor pacing and some jokes not getting the appropriate timing to breath. And they were clearly shooting in Bulgaria or Romania or some Easter European locale where it’s super cheap to shoot.

    And for god’s sake, why is this movie PG-13?

    This movie is begging for some blood, but it’s almost nonexistent. There are a ton of moments that would have been much more effective with a little blood spatter. Not to mention the lack of swearing. I have a hard time believing these dudes don’t cuss like sailors. But alas, there’s very little swearing and even less blood. The last movies had lame digital blood splatters, but at least they tried. This one switches out the digital blood for lots of digital explosions that look equally as bad.

    All that being said….. damn that last action sequence was pretty fucking great. They clearly saved up their budget for the end. So many crazy, ridiculous stunts were packed into the last 20 minutes, I was just laughing and clapping the whole time. The movie could have used a little more whackiness like that sprinkled throughout.

    So not a bad movie all together. If you’re into this kind of thing, I think you’ll have fun with it. But I still like the second movie better.

  113. Oh, and I’d give it a solid 3.0 on the ACR. There were only a few times where I got confused about geography. And there are moments during the climax where there are almost too many things happening at once to take it all in.

    And I agree with Majestyk that Snipes was very good, but he didn’t get much of anything to do after the first 15 minutes. It was awesome seeing him take down the guys on the train and get his revenge, but then he just sort of blends into the background with Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren.

  114. The movie is basically a cavalcade of guest stars, with Sly as the straight man, so everybody is offscreen for big chunks of time at one point or another. I didn’t mind it, though, because it was in service of a “getting the team together” plot. For the first time in the series, I felt that the characters drove this movie, so I was cool with the way it ambled from one to another.

  115. I’m disappointing by some of the people I’m seeing who say it’s garbage, though hearing their complaints, I can’t really fault them for thinking that, even though I feel different. The younger cast are rather bland and interchangeable, with Rhonda Rousey the exception, though I wouldn’t say based off this that her claim to being a more worthy Wonder Woman than Gal Gadot is apt. I think the biggest waste with Snipes was less how they used him for action, but how they go to the trouble of establishing him as an original Expendable who also knows Stonebanks, but he plays no actual part in that conflict. In fact, given how they set him up as an Expendable who went kinda rogue by doing something Barney didn’t approve of and paid the price, there could have maybe been a sub-plot about Stonebanks trying to turn him over to his side that they could have done. Even if he’d ultimately not went for it, it would have fit easily with the antagonistic dynamic they set up between him and Christmas.

  116. For the first time in the series, I felt that the characters drove this movie

    Ahh okay you may have sold me now. Fuck it.

  117. I’m rewatching Expendables 2 right now. The opening 15 minutes of action in this movie is better than the entirety of Expendables 3. And JCVD hasn’t even shown up yet. And it looks WAAAAAY more expensive.

    Seriously, the budget is the main thing that’s holding back the 3rd one for me. It just looks so fucking cheap. It looks like it cost slightly more than Universal Soldier: Regeneration (and used several of the same locales) but they didn’t bother to be more inventive with their action.

  118. And JCVD is a better Vilain than Mel Gibson.

  119. Scott Adkins could totally be Ben Affleck’s stunt double.

  120. Just saw TE3. The whole thing just feels so half assed.

    MacReady, you’re right. NONE of the action scenes here are even remotely as good as the opening of TE3.

    Loved Rhonda Rousey and Wesley Snipes in it though.

  121. I disagree with everything MacReady is saying. There is no good action in EXP2. It’s all horribly imagined and executed and slathered with shitty CGI blood. EXP3’s action is hampered by the rating but at least the ideas are good. There is a sequence of events. The second one is just dudes standing around shooting at each other. I think it’s the worst action I’ve ever seen.

    So mileage may vary, I guess.

  122. Okay, some of the hand-to-hand is better than some of the hand-to-hand in EXP3. I just hate everything else about EXP2 so much that it doesn’t really matter. I’d rather see a meh fight in a movie where I’m enjoying the characters than a less meh fight in a movie where they’re all just cynical meta joke dispensers.

    Christ, I hate EXPENDABLES 2. The fact that I like the third one as much as I do is some kind of fuckin’ miracle.

  123. “And it looks WAAAAAY more expensive.”
    With respect, fuck no. The opening maybe, but after that, EX 2’s locations are, from what I remember:
    -that bar they always go to
    -some woods with a crashed plane, probably shot in eastern europe
    -some eastern europe town
    -some big empty set of buildings in eastern europe
    -some caves
    -the world’s smallest airport

    The sequence for Barney recruiting the new team alone in EX 3 has more variety in it.

  124. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 16th, 2014 at 10:13 am

    The climax had the most poorly done action in the film. Insanely choppy editing, endless cutting away from violence and forever switching between any of our 17.000 heroes so nothing any of them did had any weight to it, atrocious CGI helicopters, Statham fighting a big dude but not being able to see any of it due to the editing, and Stallone fighting Gibson in a fight that lasts exactly three punches.

    Banderas was cool though. I think he got the most screentime out of anyone during the climax and he made it count.

  125. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 16th, 2014 at 10:15 am

    In contrast, the opening train sequence and the whole sequence that ends with Terry getting hurt were filmed much better and way more fun to watch imho.

  126. I honestly can’t make up mind if I like Exp3 or not. I certainly like parts of it but not sure about the whole. Need to see it again, I think.

    I definitely thought it was much less meta than pt 2, or at least, better at applying it. I need to realise the Exp films just can’t help themselves in this respect, so I was glad it was done sparingly, here (A Judge Dredd gag near the end?)

  127. Yeah, I assumed that was a reference to Judge Dredd (“I am the hague”). Weird time to do a reference like that. It should have been a more original one-liner.

  128. RJ – Agreed, although I was hoping for a reference to REBEL.

    Overall, I liked it, mostly. I think. Shit, I need to see it again.

  129. “and Stallone fighting Gibson in a fight that lasts exactly three punches.”
    You exaggerate, but it was pretty short. Still, Gibson did do the biggest leg sweep I recall ever seeing on film.

  130. Hanging onto my extended thoughts for Vern’s review, but yeah this was better than the last two for sure… though still agonizingly short of greatness.

    The action at the end is pretty well done, it’s the cross cutting that really hurts it. Something like the hacker guy climbing that chimney or whatever it was would’ve played really well if we stuck with him for more than one rung at a time. Also they need to be a little more modest in their action goals, I say don’t even sweat the exploding building or skydiving sequence if you don’t have the budget to make them look cool – we’re here for the characters, it’s okay to change it to an exploding portapotty and have them travel around in a minivan.

  131. I agree, Dikembe. The action isn’t perfect but they made the characters worth spending time with, and at the end of the day that’s what I’m seeing these movies for. I know it’s never going to be cutting edge action, not at these budgets with these old dudes, so play to your strengths. Make it more intimate, more personal. Any studio blockbuster can buy massive explosions and crashes, but only this series can put all these great faces up on the screen. I think they mostly got it right this time. It’s far from a great movie but it’s a likable one, and that might be more important.

  132. What really helped the film was having Grammer, Snipes, Banderas, Ford and Gibson. They elevated the shit out of this thing from being the same old same old.

    My biggest praise is Sly stayed the hell out of the directors chair.

  133. I think it’s funny that you guys are saying you want character study over action in a movie full of action heroes, made to be the ultimate of action extravaganza. And when I say funny, I mean sad. Not sad on you guys. Sad that they couldn’t give us the action spectacle we all wanted, so we have to adjust our expectations and hope for the best we can get.

  134. You don’t know how right you are Maggie.

    She’s called us out fellas….

  135. The Original Paul

    August 17th, 2014 at 2:17 am

    Maggie – there is about as much chance of me seeing “The Expendables 3” as there is of me making a trip to the freakin’ moon this afternoon, so I’m not in a position to judge the movie. But I will say this: don’t separate “character” and “action”. Ever. That way lies madness.

    Lemme think of some of my all-time favorite action scenes to explain what I mean.

    Lee vs O’hara in “Enter The Dragon”. It’s six or seven blows, total, I think. I’d have to count but it’s not many. What makes this scene so great is that O’hara is basically a wild beast in it. We’ve already seen that he’s capable of savagery – now he gets let completely off the chain, even disobeying Mr Han. And Lee just HUMILIATES him. He shows just how sadistic he can be, in fact. If there wasn’t so much emnity between these two characters, this scene would be a decently-staged quick fight, no more. With it… it’s just absolute cinematic gold. IMO.

    Wu Jing vs Donnie Yen in “Kill Zone”. This is a fairly long fight, so there’s gotta be some development through it. If not, you’ve just got something like the final lightsaber fight in “The Phantom Menace” – beautifully-choreographed, but it’s basically ballet. (Even when Neeson dies, MacGregor’s fighting style remains much the same. His emotions might show on his face – barely – but they don’t come through in his actions.) In “Kill Zone”, on the other hand, both Yen and Jing have had their abilities showcased earlier in the film, and there’s history between these two. Whereas Yen is calm intensity and quiet desperation throughout, Jing starts out smiling, like this is gonna be fun. When he realises he’s fighting for his life his attitude completely changes. This helps to keep the tension up during the scene.

    If I was going to rank what I personally see as “important” in a good action scene, my requirements would probably go something like this:

    1) Characters that I give a crap about, or at least an outcome that’s somehow meaningful to me.

    2) Good scoring.

    3) Editing that lets me see what the fuck is going on.

    That’s not to say that (3) isn’t important – I’ve bitched enough about the editing of films on this very website, including (hell, especially) the original “Expendables” – but please note that in that specific film, Stallone’s awful performance and the terrible generic scoring bothered me just as much as the shakycam. All of it combined, in fact, had the same “white noise torture” effect overall that I got from films like “Bad Boys 2”. It’s just constant audio and visual noise with nothing at all to “grab” me.

    Oh, and the movie can be a dumb action movie and still have “character”. Why is Sully’s death so great in “Commando”? It’s because 1) Arnie’s quips immediately before and after it are comedy gold, and 2) we’ve seen him act like such a complete asshole that there’s a certain satisfaction to watching this character get it. Do you think anybody would even care about this if he was just some anonymous ex-military guy who does nothing but look sullen? It’s all about the character and the humour.

  136. Put me in the camp that thinks Ex 3 is the weakest of the bunch, despite some good stuff with Snipes and Banderas.

    Whoever said it above is correct, but the opening 15 min of Ex 2 are probably the closest these movies have come to nailing the action and tone they should be going for, and this one never reaches that level (the 2nd big action scene at the docks comes closest, but the incoherent editing through lots of it kinda spoils what’s amazing in concept).

    That final big action setpiece really highlights the major problems here. You’ve got way too many characters (here’s a great idea, lets sideline the people we’ve paid to see, and bring in a whole new round of young people nobody gives a shit about who are all terrible actors), so you just end up endlessly cross-cutting between 30 people bloodlessly firing machine guns at anonymous bad-guys we never see get hit. And then we cut between that and endless fake-looking CGI helicopters and explosions. There’s fun moments embedded in there, but they needed to scale things WAY back to a scope they could afford to shoot practically, cut down on the extraneous characters, put back the violence, and add a sense of danger by having our guys actually getting hit.

    As it is, you’ve got 15 totally invincible characters who never get a scratch bloodlessly mowing down 100s of bad-guys, and it’s INCREDIBLY BORING

  137. Another example of the importance of Character in Action is KILL BILL Vol. 1 and 2. Yeah, they were written as one movie, but split up, they both work as a series, and it’s not jarring how different they are in how Vol. 1 has more action, but 2 has more dialogue heavy scenes and character development. Not that Vol. 1 doesn’t have character stuff, it’s just that it feels more integrated into the standard action-revenge formula.

  138. Agree with you on the action scenes, parapa. The Helicopter effects were almost SyFy Channel bad.

    Like the fight scenes with Rhonda Rousey though.

  139. Perfectly said, parapa, the rapa.

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