Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select




FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Jason Statham
Jet Li
Antonio Banderas
Wesley Snipes
Dolph Lundgren
Mel Gibson
Harrison Ford
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Kellan Lutz
Terry Crews
Kelsey Grammer
Ronda Rousey
Robert Davi
Sylvester Stallone.
Directors
Patrick Hughes.
Screenwriters
Sylvester Stallone
Creighton Rothenberger
Katrin Benedikt.
Running Time
126 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Annie
2 Star Empire Rating
Theory Of Everything, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Bringing Tibet Home
3 Star Empire Rating
Kon-Tiki
4 Star Empire Rating
Enemy
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Leviathan
5 Star Empire Rating
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating

The Expendables 3
War is Mel!


submit to reddit


Plot
After sacking the old squad, Barney Ross (Stallone) recruits a new team to capture weapons dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson) – a former Expendable hell-bent on wiping out Barney’s mercenaries...


Review
The Expendables 3
Browse more images »

When you have a very spare minute, check out the posters for The Expendables 1 to 3. They say a lot about the evolution of the retro franchise. Poster 1: minimal background, nine members, all scowling. Poster 2: huge explosion, eleven members, still scowling. Poster 3? /Sixteen/ members, squeezed in like a marketing world record attempt, no scowls, all grinning. It’s looks like an action greetings card for Happy Man Day. Most telling of all, though, is that 12A certificate in the corner. Mass murder... for all the family!

The Expendables’ tactic has always been brutally simple: it points a grenade launcher at an ‘80s video store; we watch as the clichés explode out. Without the gratuitous gore and inventive swearing, all part of its 18-rated excess, what we have now is action with the safety latch on - everything explodes, nobody dies, and there’s a haunted feeling you’ve dialled The A Team by mistake.

In fact, this feels less like homage than an unapologetic action revival, aping the Marvel model with four younger recruits and the promise of a Next Gen spin-off. Given he fathered the franchise, Stallone’s new role as a reluctant surrogate-dad fits, but apart from some hi-tech subterfuge, the new batch, led by Kellen Lutz, are more The Dispensibles – no legacy to trade off, and deserted by direlogue, they have the combined personality of a firing range target. The one with the sunglasses.

What this episode has, and the others didn’t, is an adversary to match Stallone’s crew. If Mel Gibson’s idea of redemption is brazenly embracing his outcast image, let’s see more of it. Gibson doesn’t just play a villain – he’s a hero gone rogue (sound familiar?) and his malicious charisma jumps the film into life. Good job too, as the entire plot amounts to little more than Mel vs. The Expendables.

As the for the new additions, expect little more than a fustercluck of extended cameos. Antonio Banderas’ cocky mercenary skips off with every scene but spare a thought for poor old Harrison Ford, lumbered here as The Explainable, thanklessly barking out exposition until he’s finally thrown the keys to a helicopter. Ford does all his action sitting down, possibly in his slippers.

The Expendables are like a cactus toilet seat – they don’t take shit from anyone – but here’s the thing. Blowing its wad pre-credits with a merrily preposterous prison-train breakout, there’s not one action beat that sticks. In fact, the warzone finale, set in a booby-trapped building, is just a grander, grungier variation on the standard warehouse shootout. It’s a weird truism of action cinema that too many climaxes make an anti-climax. That, in a bombshell, is Expendables 3.

Still, simple pleasures. Stallone gets the stupidest zinger since, “Diplomatic immunity”, Arnie yells, “Get to the chopper!” and there’s the extraordinary sight of Dolph Lungren leaning against a tree and accidentally merging into the scenery. In The Expendables’ new 12A world, jeopardy’s taken a holiday– there’s no threat, or fear, or even much adrenalin. Just a big, dumb display of bulging alpha-male action. Best get your retro rocks off while you can – we’re perilously close to The E Team.


Verdict
The Expendables 3 has its cake and shoots it: armed to the nipples with vast action and bulging A-listers, but over-over-blown and overcrowded. See it for Gibson’s big-bad.


Reviewed by Simon Crook

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Expendables 3
Empire Star Rating

RE: Thoroughly enjoyable, mainly due to Mel Gibson's badass-ary.

For me this movie is amazing but the funny part is with Anthonio Banderas, he looks like an idiot...but funny as well. ews ... More

Posted by Rodham at 07:14, 14 October 2014 | Report This Post


Thoroughly enjoyable, mainly due to Mel Gibson's badass-ary.

Read my full review on http://straighttelling.co.uk ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TroyPutland at 11:55, 01 September 2014 | Report This Post


An entertaining evening.

I don't understand the hate for this third outing. I'm glad I went to check it out myself, on the big screen and not illegally download a leaked copy. Truth be told, I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was the best of the lot. As a comparison I caught Spider-Man 2 in 3d two evenings ago and wow, what a stinker. Apart from decent effects work, the film was so boring and uninspired. The original trilogy even with all it's faults is far superior. I was infinitely more entertained by Expendables ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bosscoe at 10:26, 28 August 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Action-fuelled fun, missing a little something to stand above the rest.

From my point of view, the movie had nothing to offer ... More

Posted by GamObs at 10:17, 26 August 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Action-fuelled fun, missing a little something to stand above the rest.

L: Hood_Man This was my favourite of the three by an absolute mile. thing it was made by people who actually knew how to direct action sceneshey were mostly edited at a much faster pace as well. Also, Mel Gibson is the villain that films 1 and 2 desperately needed. He wasn't great by any means, but at least he chewed the scenery and seemed like a match for the heroes. However... they really shouldn't have split the team up. It was pointlessly generic, and everybody knew the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 11:17, 25 August 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Wham, bam; Thank you Han...

L: jonson L: TheMightyBlackout 'The Expendables 3' is the Lynx Africa of action movies; ot that it makes any sense but that should be on the poster /quote] ... More

Posted by rich at 00:49, 25 August 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Action-fuelled fun, missing a little something to stand above the rest.

This was my favourite of the three by an absolute mile. For one thing it was made by people who actually knew how to direct action scenes, and they were mostly edited at a much faster pace as well. Also, Mel Gibson is the villain that films 1 and 2 desperately needed. He wasn't great by any means, but at least he chewed the scenery and seemed like a match for the heroes. However... they really shouldn't have split the team up. It was pointlessly generic, and everybody knew the "old... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 00:23, 25 August 2014 | Report This Post


Action-fuelled fun, missing a little something to stand above the rest.

If the first 2 films were anything to go by, you could expect there to be the same 'defeat the bad guy, save the day' plot, filled with full-on action and a plentiful measure of mediocre 'acting' thrown in. That seems to be recipe here as well, but that does not make for a less entertaining ride. The plot involves Stallone and the boys being tasked to track and capture an illegal arms dealer, by the name of 'Conrad Stonebanks', played by the brilliant Mel Gibson. Along with Gibson, action... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Benoit03 at 11:50, 24 August 2014 | Report This Post


no more than ok

Let's face it, if you go to see this you have a certain expectation, and in that context it is ok. Much better than the second one in which there were some moments so crass that the audience laughed when they were not supposed to (Chuck Norris - "I just happened to be in the neighbourhood"). But with Mel as athe bad guy and an understanding that lots of elderly action heroes are being wheeled out just for the sake of it, it kind of delivers what is says on the tin. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 10:29, 20 August 2014 | Report This Post


Good film

I'm really surprised by the terrible reviews this film has received. The first expendables movie had dreadful, odd dialogue and it was a messy film that didn't know what it wanted to be. But it was still watchable (ish). The second film improved things (apart from the overdone self referential humour, and choppy story developments) and was a pretty decent action film. I think the Expendables 3 is the best of the series and a good solid film. The dialogue was much better (thankfully none o... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Angel interceptor at 14:03, 19 August 2014 | Report This Post


Jet Li as an extra...

I loved The first two Expendables films and I love all those old action stars I grew up watching. Sadly, E3 has a lot of problems. First of all, not enough humor. Then, this film is way too crowded. Storywise, a lot of the cameos don't make ANY sense. If you think about it, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li don't play any part in the actual "plot". The film's plot would be exactly the same without them. Like with Chuck Norris in E2. Snipes is just there... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Toursiveu at 16:13, 18 August 2014 | Report This Post


I agree with the review - shame you didn't go further.

I love the first 2 but the 3rd has betrayed it's core audience. As stated, very little violence. The more mystifying element for me though is that the Expendables team are only in the film for 1 hour 8 mins - it is a 2 hour 6 min film. It is such a silly move - only using your leads for 50% of the film. If the Avengers tried this it would tank. I really don't understand why they thought this was a good idea. The 'Deletables' (the newbies) were terrible. They were like some narrative cock-b... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Silvio Mugabe at 14:47, 18 August 2014 | Report This Post


expendables 3

yesterday i went to go to see expendables 3. I enjoyed very bit of the film and i would tel every body about it, also i was pleased that jason statham got a bulseye with the knife from suzanne i would rate 5 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by suzannemingay at 12:52, 16 August 2014 | Report This Post


expendables 3

yesterday i went to go to see expendables 3. I enjoyed very bit of the film and i would tel every body about it, also i was pleased that jason statham got a bulseye with the knife from suzanne i would rate 5 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by suzannemingay at 12:52, 16 August 2014 | Report This Post


Too many interviews, not enough criticism...

Sometimes happens at Empire Towers they get to close to a film and it's makers. Expendables 3 being one of them. Jokes that aren't funny, action that's not exciting. An embarrassment all round. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hazy at 15:26, 15 August 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Wham, bam; Thank you Han...

L: TheMightyBlackout 'The Expendables 3' is the Lynx Africa of action movies; ot that it makes any sense but that should be on the poster s for the film, great fun, it always was going to be. Expendables 3 is the Hai Karate Soap on a Rope of action movies. That reassuring nostalgic smell glosses over the fact it's a bit hard and brittle and falls off the rope well before you've finished using it, then eventually blocks your shower waste and leaves you with just the rope, water c... More

Posted by jonson at 08:07, 15 August 2014 | Report This Post


Wham, bam; Thank you Han...

You've got to hand it to 'The Expendables' as a franchise; it's never promised more than it's delivered. Clichéd, mechanical and gloriously dumb, 'The Expendables 3' is the Lynx Africa of action movies; very easy to take the piss out of, but far better than the alternative, ie stinking... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 00:19, 15 August 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Terrible movie and surprised at empires praise.

I didn't go in with high expectations, so there were no surprises for me. I still found it entertaining despite it's many flaws. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by romet6 at 22:41, 11 August 2014 | Report This Post


Terrible movie and surprised at empires praise.

As im of the generation of that witnessed the greatness of the bloody violent action movies of the 80's and 90's these movies are so childish limp and weak that they are ruining the images of the guys i used to worship as a youngster. The fact this latest installment is a certicicate 12 just says it all, its for kids and not for the adults like myself who enjoyed movies like Die hard, cobra, commando, predator, rambo etc. Sly and Co have just lost the respect of this action junkie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rosskelly at 17:14, 11 August 2014 | Report This Post


SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The 10 Best Games Of The Year
2014's top pixel-pushers duke it out for the number one slot

Dan Stevens: The Breakout Star Of 2014
We congratulate The Guest star on his year to remember

The 15 Most Memorable Character Deaths Of The Year
2014’s RIP honour roll

Review Of The Year: 10 Best Soundtracks Of 2014
The scores and OSTs to add to your playlist

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)