august 13, 2014
The Expendables movies have never been known for their excellent attention to detail, their well paced plotlines, or stellar performances from the aging stars, but one thing they have always, consistently provided is action. Exploding cars, ten minute punch ups, white-hot-cartridges-falling-from-helicopter-miniguns kind of action; the same kind that was so prevalent in the 80s, before everyone realised it was all a bit silly and upped their production values.
The third instalment of this steroid-fest features Mel Gibson, who joins Expendables mainstays such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, and (strangely) Kelsey Grammer; in this, the film is more of a friendly get together than a serious movie, a place where the halcyon strongmen can meet up and reminisce about the era when they were appropriate for audiences.
Gibson plays the character Conrad Stonebanks; perhaps the most Australian name Stallone could pick for the Aussie actor; an arms dealer who is revealed to be the now-rogue cofounder of the Expendables. Gibson is actually an excellent choice for the role in which he plays; well known for his action packed character portrayals; William Wallace (Braveheart), Max Rockatansky (Mad Max) and mullet coifed Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon); and pointedly dramatic performances in The Patriot, Signs and The Passion of the Christ. Gibson fits to a tee both the ‘say how you feel, do what you like’ mood of the 80s action movie world that the film so readily hopes to emulate, whilst adding his veteran acting talents to the already stellar lineup.
The similarities go further, however. Gibson’s character spends the majority of the film camped out inside a casino, an interesting note due to the fact that Mel has been a little bit unlucky and found himself running out of money in casinos in the past few years, including one incident in 2009 where, after running out of blackjack money, he ended up tearing the shirt of an undercover photographer in an Expendables-esque scuffle. Perhaps Mel should stick to online blackjack instead, that way he can keep it his private business!
The role is a refreshing change for Gibson, however. Having been on a relatively long hiatus from acting at the end of the noughties, this could spell the return of the aging actor to the silver screen. We can all hope and cross our fingers, but having currently received rather mixed reviews (33% on Rottentomatoes, 33/100 on Metacritic), Expendables 3 might not be the greatest film to signal Gibson’s triumphant return to Hollywood stardom. Only time will tell!