When I was younger I, like most kids, had toys that I would play pretend with. But playing with only one toy at a time was never as much fun as playing with lots of them at the same time. So I would add He-Man, Spiderman, a few Ninja Turtles, and Superman to the mix and have a blast. It didn’t matter if they were all part of their own toy lines, because mixing them all up together in one fun Battle Royale always made more sense to me. Then, while watching this movie, it finally made me realize why I loved the first film as well as The Expendables 2 so much. It reminds me of taking the very best toys from the toy box and putting them together to fight the bad guys. Watching the greatest action stars of the past 30 years, all on screen together, just makes you feel like a kid again.
Storyline: Mr. Church (Willis) calls in a favor to Barney Ross (Stallone) to collect on what should be an “easy paycheck”, but that mission becomes something much more dangerous when Jean Vilain (Van Damme) and a group of mercenaries kill a member of Ross’ team. Ross commissions his team to help him take down Vilain for the murder of one of their own.
I will go ahead and save you the trouble of making fun of Jean Claude Van Damme’s character name. Jean Vilain. Really? That is the best they could come up with? But in a way, it doesn’t really matter. Sure, if we sit back and poke holes in a very simple script we are destined to enjoy this movie much less. There are probably close to 200 (or more) people killed in this movie and no blood splatters on the wall/floor etc. In some scenes, people have their heads just disappear after being shot. But the fact that you get to see the people you grew up idolizing working together as a team should be enough to overlook that.
Surprisingly enough, Dolph Lundgren and Van Damme actually give some solid performances. Lundgren doing a few comedy bits that actually work is something that I was not expecting. And to see Van Damme as a villain in a movie works on so many more levels than watching him as the good guy…and the guy STILL has an awesome roundhouse kick.
Worth the admission? Without a doubt. Even my lovely wife, who is not a huge action movie fan (unless Nicholas Sparks decided to write one), liked it. Hats off to Terry Crews who, by some miracle, makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like a tiny tiny man. Seriously. Terry Crews is a massive physical specimen. The whole movie and the actors within it are fun and enjoyable.