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Film review: The Expendables 3

The Expendables 3. Picture: Contributed

The Expendables 3. Picture: Contributed

  • by Siobhan Synnot
 

“THAT would be a good plan, if it was still 1985,” sneers a whippersnapper to contract mercenary Sylvester Stallone. Even if Stallone could manage to look offended anymore, this would be hypocritical, since the Expendables franchise owes its very existence to the 1980s and a nostalgic affection for Sly and his family of stone-cold action men.

The Expendables 3 (12A)

***

In a minor twist to the formula, the core Expendables of Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and others face early retirement because their leader selflessly worries that they won’t live to an even riper, older age if they keep going. This also allows him to go shopping for a new baby Expendables task force to capture a heinously villainous Mel Gibson, who not only sells nuclear weapons to the highest bidder but sneers at large works of art.

Other newcomers to the franchise include Antonio Banderas as a chatty assassin who bores the pants off the rest of the unit, and Harrison Ford as a CIA penpusher who enjoys flying helicopters, just as Ford does in real life.

Aside from pandering to actor hobbies, The Expendables 3 offers basic plotting, clunky banter and valuable insights into how cosmetic surgery can go badly awry.

Admittedly, it also delivers some B-movie pleasures in the form of noisy action sequences, and is the second film of the week to suggest uses for older actors. The Congress proposes they should become special effects, The Expendables 3 just wants them to blow shit up.

Siobhan Synnot

General release from Thursday

Blood Ties (15)

***

A strong cast includes Billy Crudup as a Brooklyn cop trying to keep his ex-con brother (Clive Owen) out of trouble, while Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis and Marion Cotillard try to animate their generic femme roles as mistress, good girl and hooker. It’s nice to see James Caan getting work, as the brothers’ ailing father, but Guillaume Canet’s sprawling saga is overlong and overfamiliar.

Glasgow Film Theatre, Friday until 21 August

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (15)

***

Three teenagers take part in a robbery and realise they are out of their depth in a low-budget neo-noir feature from new writer/directors Simon and Zeke Hawkins. Fast-paced, pulpy action that deserves a look.

Glasgow Film Theatre, Friday until 21 August

The Rover (15)

***

A car theft drives Guy Pearce on an obsessive quest across post-apocalyptic Australia, using the ringleader’s damaged brother (Robert Pattinson) to track the gang down. David Michôd’s first feature, Animal Kingdom, was a fierce and pungent portrait of a brutish Melbourne family but The Rover is a slower, slighter and glummer fable, mistaking malevolence for significance.

General release from Friday

Hector And The Search For Happiness (15)

***

Simon Pegg is a psychiatrist who abandons his routine of living in a London flat way above his pay grade, treating quirky patients and getting (s)mothered by his adoring girlfriend (Rosamund Pike) for a round-the-world trip to research happiness. Already you can guess what conclusions Peter Chelsom’s film may reach: contains good intentions and exasperating whimsy.

General release from Friday

The Unbeatables (3D) (U)

**

An Argentinian animated film about arcade game football teams who come to life, with UK voicework from Rupert Grint, Ralf Little and Rob Brydon. Not unbearable, but more of a Sunday kickabout than a premier league kids’ film.

General release from Friday

 

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