Following a spectacular stunt aboard a moving train that opens this third instalment of the action franchise, Arnold Schwarzenegger turns to Sylvester Stallone and wearily confides, “I’m getting out of this business... and so should you.”
Sage advice from the former governor of California.
His words fall on deaf ears because The Expendables is a cash cow for Stallone, who directed and co-wrote the opening salvo in 2010 and has been reliving his muscle-bound glory days ever since.
Australian director Patrick Hughes, who impressed with the gritty low-budget western Red Hill, takes charge of this outlandish mission festooned with bone-crunching hand-to-hand combat, pithy one-liners and deafening explosions.
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his crew of battle-hardened mercenaries – Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) – orchestrate a prison breakout.
Their target: original Expendables member Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes), who has been off the grid for years.
The team heads to Mogadishu at the behest of chief Max Drummer (Harrison Ford), where a skirmish at the dockyards brings Barney face-to-face with a ghost from the past.
Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), co-founder of the Expendables, who Barney was ordered to kill, is alive and well on the ill-gotten gains of the arms trade. Faced with an adversary, who possesses unlimited supplies of state-of-the-art weaponry, Barney retires the old team and enlists the help of Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and retired medic Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) to bring down Stonebanks.
The Expendables 3 is a ridiculously far-fetched tour of duty that sensibly welcomes fresh faces to the fold and provides Banderas, Ford, Gibson and Snipes with sizeable roles to turn back the clocks.
6 out of 10