DVD review: The Expendables 3
The Expendables 3
Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li
Director: Patrick Hughes
A quick look at Sylvester Stallone will tell you he never knows when enough is enough. The Rocky series was brilliant in its beginnings, but then milked every drop of creativity before its corpse was finally (hopefully) lowered into the ground with its sixth instalment.
And as good as Stallone has been across a career which has thrown up a few surprises - Cop Land (1997) was one - the feeling when The Expendables came along was that here was a man looking for one last shot. Or men, rather, given the exercise is built around a group of ageing action stars playing off the on-screen personas (and friendships) we know all about.
The first surprise with the first edition was how much fun it was for the audience, who ticked off the stars' appearances like a shopping list and enjoyed how everyone seemed to be having a laugh. And it was the same with the second film, which expanded its cast list, if not its creativity.
Third time around? Well, the ambition is still impressive, with the old boys keeping one eye on the cash registers by recruiting cinema's next generation of action stars, among them Twilight's Kellan Lutz and Ronda Rousey of the UFC.
The action - and the violence - continue to surprise, too, and it remains one of the wonders of modern cinema that the likes of Stallone and Mel Gibson (playing the bad guy) can still cut it when it comes to the rough stuff.
But the simple fact is that there are now so many characters involved that in the desperate desire to share screen time, any semblance of plot, or of interest, soon fades from view, replaced by a series of one-liners and explosions.
Again there's something about The Expendables being betrayed, and how Sly wants revenge for something or other. But then something blows up and any thread of narrative is lost in the confusion.
It might make more sense on your smartphone, buried under all the other distractions.
Extras: The Expendables 3 documentary; New Blood: Stacked and Jacked and The Total Action Package featurettes; gag reel; extended scene: Christmas Runs The Gauntlet with Jason Statham.