Can't say I remember all that much about any of the previous two The Expendables movies but I do remember that neither of them was as good or entertaining as it potentially so easily could have been. Sadly the same could be said about this third series installment. though at the same time I also still have to admit that I absolutely didn't hate watching this movie.
It's weird, all of the right ingredients always seem to be there in all of the The Expendables movies, yet they just can't seem to manage to work out as both impressive and memorable action flicks. I actually surprisingly liked "The Expendables 2" but yet I still can't remember an awful lot about it. I remember Jean-Claude Van Damme being in it as the villain and doing some kick-ass moves and I do remember Chuck Norris having an awesome cameo but I just can't remember a thing of the story but more importantly, nothing of the action neither. It's disappointing when a big budget action movie, with so many stars and big names in it, fails to make much of an impression as an action movie.
Not saying that the action is bad in this movie, it's actually shot pretty well and director Patrick Hughes definitely seems like a good and right choice for the "The Raid" remake, which he already is attached to but thing that is lacking from this movie are any memorable action set pieces. Instead of featuring 2 or 3 big, long and impressive action set pieces in it, the movie is featuring a whole bunch of smaller ones, that are all rapidly following each other, which is all nothing that we haven't seen done before in any other movies. Sure, it's entertaining to watch but it's absolutely never anything truly impressive or memorable as well.
Another obvious problem with this movie is of course the story. Now, it seems straightforward enough but it's actually still confusing to follow, since too often I had absolutely no idea what was going on in it. I for instance still don't know or understand what the Mel Gibson character, who is the main villain of this movie, wanted or why the Sylvester Stallone character felt the need to form a new team. So that more action stars could become part of the franchise of course but it just doesn't ever makes much sense in the context of the movie. And do the new characters bring anything new and fresh to the table? Not really. When a movie features about 20 different characters in it there of course isn't going to be an awful lot of time and space for any proper character development. Having said that, some of the new actors still are a very welcome addition. Not because of the characters they play but simply because of their acting. Let's face it, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture, etcetera, are all awesome action movie stars but they just aren't the best actors around as well. This movie however also does feature the likes of Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammar and Antonio Banderas, who obviously all are some far better and more skilled actors, who also definitely manage to give the movie something extra.
I simply have to say that despite everything I still had a good time watching this movie but that in this case isn't saying an awful lot about its quality. It's fast paced and even when there isn't anything going on in the story it never feels like a bad or annoying movie to watch but I really do wish that they would work a bit harder and longer on the script next time (since surely there will be more The Expendables movies) and focus more on getting 2 or 3 big action sequences right, instead of trying to constantly feature smaller action set pieces in it, all throughout.