Gibson, Banderas steal the spotlight in ‘Expendables 3’
During an action-packed sequence in Patrick Hughes’ “The Expendables 3,” Glen Powell was charging down a hallway full of enemies. The newcomer, who plays the group’s expert hacker, looked around him—with a twinkle in his eyes!
Truth is, Powell was feeling like he had just won the sweepstakes—because he was sharing the scene with Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Jason Statham! He exclaimed, “It’s like the greatest action-movie sweepstakes ever, where I get to shoot guns with all my favorite action heroes!”
We can’t blame Powell for feeling so lucky, because the other members of the group are considered the biggest screen heroes of their respective generations.
With Stallone, Banderas and Statham are Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes and Mel Gibson, who takes to portraying a villain like a duck to water. In fact, in the movie, it looked like Mel could credibly take on the whole Expendables gang single-handedly—well, except perhaps Statham!
The action franchise’s previous installments also included Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis, who reportedly left the movie when the producers refused to acquiesce to his demand for a $1 million/day pay hike.
Jacky Chan was willing to join the team, but didn’t like the supporting role assigned to him. Another no-go was Steven Seagal.
The film is worth watching if only for the novelty of seeing how Sly cleverly juggles those humongous egos with short but sensational scenes that allow his testosterone-pumped action luminaries to shine.
Its story is no great shakes, really—but, we’re pleased to note that the movie is better than the bloated and clangorous second film, even if the guys’ latest adventure doesn’t veer far away from formula:
This time, Barney (Stallone) and Christmas (Statham) reunite to battle nemesis Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who cofounded the Expendables with Barney, but soon turned to the Dark Side. He was believed to have been killed by Barney—until he resurfaces as a deadly arms dealer.
The Dark Side
Speaking of the Dark Side, Harrison Ford isn’t asked to do much (like Jet Li, who vanishes after five minutes of screen time), other than fly a plane and replace Church (Willis) as the group’s manager, CIA officer Max Drummer.
Mel Gibson’s portrayal of the sinister Stonebanks is exceptional, because he needn’t resort to wide-eyed histrionics to appear frightening—which makes him a more formidable foe, compared to the strapping Van Damme in “Expendables 2.”
Like Gibson, Antonio Banderas takes advantage of his limited screen time. As kooky war veteran Galgo, he leavens the production’s occasionally repetitive action scenes with his wisecracks and self-deprecating humor.
He may not have the bulging pecs and bare-chested machismo of his bulkier peers, but his acting skills are more potent than their karate chops—and, if they don’t watch their backs, Banderas can steal crucial scenes from right under their noses!