New Year's Bang
Despite harking back to the action films of the eighties, The Expendables is disappointingly only a 12A and while extra lashings of blood and guts would not necessarily improve the third outing for Sly and his team it does stop Stallone and his assemblage from really letting loose.

And what a collection of stars; Ford, Schwarzenegger, LI and um Crews.

Therein lies the main problem for this destructive ensemble: There are just too many big names given little more to do than growl and look tough. Dolph Lundgren was as wooden as a garden shed twenty years ago and time has not improved his ability but from this you would never know as he has about two lines, the same for Randy Couture and well basically the whole team. Wesley Snipes has a promising start to his renaissance, as it seems his incarceration has left him slightly unhinged, but then disappears stage left.  Kelsey Grammer is always worth a watch but, yep not enough screen time. Even the Stath gets little more to do than laugh unconvincingly at Stallone’s bad jokes.

The fault for all this the yawn-fest of a plot; make way for the new generation of heroes with fancy gadgetry, rock climbing expertise and err motocross skills. It’s tired, unoriginal and stops the explosions for large parts of the run time and what other than big fiery balls of death are people watching The Expendables for?

That is not to say there is no fun to be had from the third film in the franchise; Mel Gibson snarls his way through dialogue with zeal but he like the movie are never really allowed off the leash. Antonio Banderas makes a welcome addition and his entrance is quite excellent. The opening prison brake, where baddies line up to be shot, is a pleasing reminder of yesteryear and the finale, when it finally arrives, is gung-ho entertainment at its best. However the inevitable showdown between Sly and Mel is shockingly short, though the kiss off line has to be heard to be believed.

Verdict: Considering the talent on show The Expendables really should be so much more than it is, though you could say that about the previous two. Forced banter, unconvincing CGI , tired cliches and not enough explosions are the order of the day.


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