So Stallone and Co. recently released some black and white character posters for each of the Expendables 3 posse, and oh man has the team grown. While we still have the A-list of 80’s badass icons from the original film (minus Bruce Willis), Sly has also thrown Wesley Snipes (Demolition Man, Blade), Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones, Star Wars), and Mel Gibson (Mad Max, Braveheart) into the mix, amongst many others. Hot off the heels of these artsy promo snaps, we’ve also been graced with a new trailer, one that promises plenty of merry violence and explosions to come. Oh my!
The fact I could list all those awesome films and actors in one place above is astonishing itself. But we’re also promised the likes of Mexican action superstar Antonio Banderas (Desperado, Haywire), professional fighters Ronda Rousey and Victor Ortiz, cinema legend Robert Davi (Goonies, Die Hard), and Kelsey Grammer (Frasier, X-Men: The Last Stand). That’s right motherfuckers, Frasier Crane is coming to blow you away. And of course we’re also promised more Arnie, which is only ever a good thing.
This time newcomer Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) has assumed the mantle as director, replacing Simon West (Con Air, The Mechanic) from the second film. Despite the change up, I’m still confident it can be the best in the series so far. Expendables was just awesome to see everyone I loved so much from the 80’s and 90’s all in one place. But the script was a bit flat, and the budget was very stretched. It also lacked the self-referential humour that it really needed to get itself over with the fans. The sequel cleaned up the script, and ramped up the comedy, particularly with scene-stealing moments from Chuck Norris (Invasion USA, Missing In Action). I’m hoping they took this as a cue and will still keep the film fun as well as awesomely violent.
I am concerned that we’re adding too many characters, and not killing enough off. Some of the background Expendables (notably Couture and Crewes) didn’t really have any moments of their own in the sequel. Adding more badasses will further dilute the time they all need to really establish themselves. But that’s the writer’s problem, not mine!
What both films did well was scene stealing performances from their respective chief baddies; the exasperated CIA agent-turned drugs kingpin James Munroe (Eric Roberts – Best of the Best, The Dark Knight) in the first film, and the wonderfully bizarre Satan-worshipping, jumping round-house kicking Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme – Universal Soldier, Hard Target) in the follow-up. This time we’re in for another treat, as everyone’s favourite madman, Mel Gibson, puts in an appearance as Conrad Stonebanks. Apparently Stonebanks was once a founding member of the Expendables, but true to form he went mental and had to be put down by Barney Ross and the boys. Now he’s back for terrible, terrible revenge.
This I can’t wait for, as Gibson hasn’t made anything of value since his bizarre call-for-help film, The Beaver, where he has a breakdown and can only communicate via a hand puppet. It’s like Ted but without the banter. Hopefully he’s back where he belongs – in the thick of it, blowing shit up.
Despite not being released yet for months, there is already talk of a fourth film, as well as the ludicrously titled Expendabelles – the all-female ass-kicking installment of the series. I’m all for them, but we’ll have to wait and see if they actually come to light.
Expendables 3 is released on August 15th, 2014.