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Originally published Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 10:07 AM

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‘The Expendables 3’: Aging stars return for same old thing

A movie review of “The Expendables 3”: The aging action stars are back, doing what they did in the first two films — grabbing up big guns and ducking explosions, now and then cracking wise. The predictable actioner got two stars out of four.


Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review ★★  

‘The Expendables 3,’ with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Harrison Ford. Directed by Patrick Hughes, from a screenplay by Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt. 103 minutes. Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gunbattles and fight scenes, and for language. Several theaters.

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“The Expendables 3” is the movie equivalent of fast food, McDonald’s at the megaplex. If you’ve seen the first two “Expendables,” you know exactly what you’ll be getting with the third: a testosterone burger, heavy on the ketchup with a hefty helping of hot lead on the side.

“E3” is a triumph of stunt casting, an assemblage of aging action stars: Stallone! Schwarzenegger! Snipes! Gibson! Banderas! Ford! They’re relics, really, desperate to prove they’re still relevant. That’s particularly true of Wesley Snipes and Mel Gibson, eager to get back in audience good graces after running afoul of the law (Snipes: tax evasion; prison) and public opinion (Gibson: highly publicized, crazed, career-killing tantrums).

With Stallone’s and Schwarzenegger’s individual projects routinely tanking these days, only “Expendables” movies, with their worldwide big box-office grosses, have returned them to something approaching their former glories.

So back they go, grabbing up big guns and ducking big explosions, now and then cracking wise (Snipes has been given a tax-evasion joke), doing what they do because it seems they don’t know anything else they can do that audiences will want to see.

“E3’s” plotting is so lazy it qualifies as negligence. In the picture’s two biggest set pieces, Stallone’s band of Expendables mercenaries practically stroll into battle in broad-daylight raids mowing down hundreds of extras. Planning? Stealth? Believability? Forget it.

When a mission goes wrong and Stallone’s character feels obliged to fire his old crew and recruit a gaggle of younger guns, the newbies’ personalities are barely sketched. Then they’re quickly sidelined so that the old guys can ride to their rescue.

Predictable as the sunrise, all of it.

Soren Andersen: asoren7575@yahoo.com



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