THE EXPENDABLES 3 (M)
Directed by Patrick Hughes
Back in 2010, Sly Stallone, always an underestimated creative force, had the idea of bringing a bunch of underemployed 1980s action icons back to form an ensemble cast that would have given the 80s studios a collective wet dream: Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Rourke, Lundgren.
Men who don't need much in the way of dialogue, or even first names.
Team them up with some solid B team players from the same era, and set them in a plot that could have been lifted wholesale from any of their collective heydays. Genius.
Expendables 2 was a small let-down. I thought it a bit smug and humourless, compared with the first instalment, but with Expendables 3, the franchise is right back on track.
The chemistry between Stallone and regular co-star Jason Statham is genuine and affectionate, and while Willis and Rourke have left the building, they are more than ably replaced by Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas and Mel Gibson. Gibson especially is terrific; trim, energetic and just as bat-poo crazy as we could have hoped.
They're not art, these films, but they get the job done with a wink and a nod at the golden age of cheesy dialogue and hammy acting. More please.
And Sly, if you're reading this, next time how about Pacino, De Niro, Grace Jones, and Alan Rickman? And bring it down our way to shoot. We've got the scenery and the tax breaks and we could use the work.