A little less expendable than the last one.
In my bizarre form of personal narcissism I naturally assume that everyone I meet knows who I am and is familiar with me and my life. In particular I assume everyone has at least read my blog (if that were true then according to my tracking data California has a population of about 87 people). Of course my rational brain understands this is tremendously far from the truth and most people I meet assume I am some kind of mover, truck driver, or thug in the employ of the local criminal element. However when I let my blog fantasies write themselves in my head I see all of Hollywood eagerly reading each review, rejoicing at each crumb of praise and bemoaning each gentle criticism (“I really don’t want to hate it and him on all levels (even subatomically) but he just makes it so, so very easy” – recent Transformers review) and taking in my feedback to the betterment of their craft or at least committing ritual seppuku.
(classic Expendables poster from the movie t-shirt category)
The point is it almost feels like the producers of the Expendables 3 read my Expendables 2 review and took out 70% of the stuff that really bugged the hell out of me. They cut back on the classic action star deluge to a manageable level and didn’t have them popping out of the scenery like heavily armed prairie dogs. They got rid of the horribly invasive plot devices to include all of them. They had a story that didn’t suck (and was almost coherent). The non-classic action movie actors they hired could deliver a line with more nuance and emotion than an Animatronic buccaneer from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The plot advanced organically and didn’t leave giant plot holes in its wake like massive road apples. The film felt adequately long at 126 minutes. There was no completely unnecessary and annoying romantic love interest. The comic relief was actually pretty cool and fitted in well. In general a true improvement over the last film.
What, then, about the remaining 30% that annoyed me you ask? Well, unfortunately nothing was done to improve most of that. In fact it got tragically worse. The biggest problem this movies suffers from is the fact that they went in for a PG-13 rating. I have talked about PG-13 draping over other action films like a wet blanket but in this film it is like an ocean container full of wet blankets landing on the screen and flattening it out. They tried to push the PG-13 boundary as far as they could and took full advantage of the one per film allowable S-word and F-bomb but were I a witness in court and was asked if I had actually seen any of the several hundred peopled killed in this film die I would have to answer “I don’t know”. For all I know they were all stunned with rubber bullets fired by a completely different team never shown on screen.