action movie freak
(15 Aug 2014)
If there was one moment of The Expendables 3 that captured that Expendables/Action Movie feeling and the reason why we go, the reason why we're Action Movie Freaks, it was Arnold laughing manicly as he shot out of the helicopter. That rush of pure pleasure in the mayhem and violence . . .
It was awesome!
I couldn't wait to see The Expendables 3, so I went to the first showing on Thursday night. It delivered and then some on the Action! I enjoyed every minute of it, loved the lines, and will watch it again and again. It was spread a little thin on the screen time for all those roles because there were so many stars (at first I thought too many), which is kind of a waste because they don't really get to shine. But, it's like complaining there's too much food on the buffet while your mouth is full and you're filling 2 plates. Speaking of shining, Wesley Snipes had a big intro (the scene reminded me of Sucker Punch), but then he took a backseat (literally and figuratively) after that. He was great! I loved seeing him in Action, where he should be, in this Ultimate Boys Club.
I was a little puzzled at the way they decided to add the younger team members. (I didn't watch the trailer.) <<SPOILERS everywhere . . . >> I guess I thought they would just recruit more people and add them to the mix, not decide to get rid of the existing team! WTH?! [[But when I saw it the second time, it gave me the warm fuzzy feeling at the end when they are all back together. And even though I predicted the original crew would be on the runway, it was really great to see them show up, ready to go. Ronda's line about family was perfect.]]
At first I also thought plot wise, they really could have left out Jet Li, Randy Couture, Antonio Banderas (great comic relief though), Victor Ortiz, Dolph Lundgren, and Terry Crews, except for the final scene where there are ridonkulously outnumbered anyway so what's 5 more against hundreds? [[But, again, that was my first reaction. The second time I watched I really liked seeing ALL of them even for just a few minutes. The fact that they're all 'in the club" is part of the great feel of The Expendables. I also thought even though they were outnumbered they did a great job of killing TONS of the bad guys. Can't wait for someone to do a killcount.]]
Every time I see an ensemble cast of Bad Asses like this, I go back to the introductions in The Rundown. It's a device that's like a shorthand to give you their strengths but I loved it and it would have worked really well here. They're super Action Figures. They should be hyped. Ronda Rousey's scene was the closest, but I hated that she was in a dress and heels (sigh). Still the "heels" line was funny. When it came to her becoming an Expendable, I wanted her to be in long sleeves and a crew neck like the guys, instead of something with cut-outs and a low-cut zipper.
The one liners kept me chuckling. Antonio Banderas was amusing (how was he not named "Chit Chat"? but he doesn't belong in this Action Bad Asses and Fighters group). Mel Gibson was oily and intense, but I needed more back story to hate Mel Gibson (other than real life . . . ZINGER!), so it would be more satisfying at the end when they take him out.
The building/ruin scene at the end (reminded me a little of Saving Private Ryan and The Raid) and my first impression was it a little unrealistic because there was very little cover and the numbers were too crazily overwhelming. I remember thinking The Expendables crew might be good, but there's no way they would have enough ammo. I also found it improbable that they would just walk together in a tight little group like that, so exposed. It was like there was no military training at all. Don't send a scout, don't take cover . . . ? [[On the second viewing, it seemed they kind of knew that Mel had something in mind. It was too easy so they just went with it.]]
Kellan Lutz shone here with his (his stunt double's) motorcycle hijinks (I liked that there was a creative payoff for him being a motorcycle rider), but you know even as a moving target, with that many soldiers, he would have been shot. [[On second thought, they would have been thinking he was one of theirs. The scene where he rides up the tail of the downed helicopter was incredible.]] (The credits don't list who did the motorcycle riding—they should! When will that ever change?). Kellan has unquestionable star power and he and Barney have a conversation about him taking over The Expendables . . . It will be cool to see if they go that way (young crew in charge) for The Expendables 4. I hope they start it with a bad guy we can get behing hating so the ending is more satisfying. Also, some things for the young Expendables to overcome so we get to know them better and root for them.
At first I thought Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford were a little bit of a waste as well. Still, it was cool to see Harrison Ford there (and I loved the "he's no longer in the picture" line about Bruce Willis). It gave you that 'crossover' rush. Like they were playing cards and a King trumps a Jack. [[As I re-read the next bit, I was just wrong:]] I thought the story seemed like it was written around some of the stars rather than for them. For it to work, we have to be invested in the mission (finding/killing Mel Gibson). I didn't feel like I was rooting for Barney Ross to 'win' against the bad guy. They needed some personal history up front. It's nitpicking but the paper file seemed old tech.
In the end, I feel like these are comic-book type characters and we don't get their individuality enough. Mainly because there are too many of them, and partly because The Expendables' back story has never been defined. They also need/needed to be hyped by someone. What makes them (the crew) so good? What brought them together to create this band of brothers?
Visually, I love the whole look of The Expendables and that
really shone here. The
black they wear, the cool vehicles and planes, the weapons, and the
Even their off-duty casual clothing and the setting of where they hang
out. We still really enjoy seeing
old-school Action heroes hanging out together. It sells itself.
believe we almost lost
in that on-set accident. Where was everyone that nobody
dove in to help him?!
Whatever criticism/suggestions given here, let the last words be what I said at the beginning: "I enjoyed every minute of it!"
ARTEMIS Women in Action FILM FESTIVAL
Artemis Year 3: April 21-23, 2017