I assume Expendables 3 takes place shortly after the second film in the franchise but I honestly have almost zero recollection of either of those films. The original Expendables was a decent hit for Lionsgate and Stallone but was hampered with negative reviews. Its sequel managed to build upon the success of its predecessor both financially and critically, but the Expendables 3 seems like the derailing piece of that train. This summer's addition has garnered the lowest critical reception and will receive the lowest grosses for the franchise yet.
The third film in the franchise opens with Barney (Stallone) and his old crew from the previous films infiltrating a prison and saving Wesley Snipes' character. However, there is no time to rest for the weary team because they happen to run in to Conrad Stonebanks, the maniacal genius played by Mel Gibson; a man hellbent on selling guns in peace and away from the expendables. Once the team runs a relatively safe distance away from the main villain, Barney decides that he cannot risk his new team in a face off against Stonebanks and quickly dumps them for younger, poor outcasts that are actually willing to die on this impossible mission Barney has dreamed up.
These new, youthful expendables represent the worst part of the film. No one in the audience arrived at the theater wanting to see Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules), Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises), Victor Ortiz or Ronda Rousey. This is not to say they are horrible actors; they honestly are probably no worse than the team from the first two films. The problem is the lack of charisma, the machismo so present in the original team. The audience came for a grand show of force from the biggest movie stars of the 80s and 90s, not no-names from today.
Beyond the pretty powerful negatives, I came away pretty impressed by this movie. I went in with relatively low expectations and while the very shoddy camerawork and editing hurt the film, I managed to find a lot of humor interspersed between the action scenes. I always love seeing Mel Gibson on screen and it seems he was born to play an over the top villain in a large scale production. Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas are the two bright additions to the team and introduce more humor in their limited screen time than the younger additions to the cast.