Directed by Patrick Hughes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas
Stallone is at it again, flexing his old muscles for yet another punch at any country that falls between Middle East and Central Asia, with poor old Somalia as collateral damage. Specifics don’t matter, and a thermonuclear bomb and CIA black ops are background noise in a film that’s about bullets, biceps, blasts and lot of blah.
It starts with a break-in into an armoured train carrying all of one prisoner somewhere in the deserts of an old Soviet bloc country, and ends apparently not too far away in a fictional country called Uzmenistan populated only by a very sorry-looking army. The Expendables, led by the creaky Stallone, are sent around these places by Drummer (Ford), a man-of-few-words and dodgy smiles from the Agency. Drummer wants the Expendables to get him Stonebanks (Gibson), an arms dealer and a war crimes accused.
Stallone’s Barney puts together a new, younger team with fresher skills as he is worried about his old, friendlier one getting hurt. That allows this Expendables franchise to draw fresh blood and keeps the doors open for a fourth film. For the most part though, this new group of four, including a woman, is no patch for the oldies, particularly Gibson. The actor who can do little right these days is the only one who gives half a shot at acting in this blast fest, clothed in full-sleeve formals rather than the regulation, fitted black Ts.
Banderas is added to provide the comic relief, but in this spoof of his several swashbuckler fighter roles, he is just irritating.
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Not the most expressive of actors, Stallone doesn’t move anything apart from his biceps. Director Hughes is brave though, going in several times for a close-up, at every chance to catch a misty eye. Nope, still nothing.