Lionsgate

Lionsgate

After months of teasers offering little more than onscreen font telling us the names of all fifty four actors starring in the film, we’ve finally gotten a proper trailer for The Expendables 3. And it looks… okay?

The first two films certainly have their fans as evidenced by the (world-wide) box office for each installment more than tripling its budget, but in addition to adding sixty three more characters to the ensemble the third go around will also be rated PG-13 for the first time. Will that matter? Doubtful.

It’s the cast that counts, and on that front the film is swinging for the fences. Just a small sampling of the eighty seven main cast members in The Expendables 3 includes returning veterans Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture alongside newcomers Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Kelsey Grammer. And those are only the names I recognize.

Check out the first full trailer for The Expendables 3 below.

Gibson apparently plays a distant relative of Basil Exposition here as he immediately and succinctly brings us up to speed on the beef between him and Barney (Stallone) before settling into the same routine he displayed in Robert Rodriguez’s fecal sequel Machete Kills. I’m not complaining, I’m happy to see him in any capacity onscreen, but I hope he gets out of actor jail sooner rather than later. (His next film, Blood Father, is from the director of both Mesrine films, so that bodes well.)

The story sees Gibson’s character kidnapping and threatening some of the young, oxymoronic Expendables causing Barney and friends to head out to the rescue, and the action looks suitably epic and destructive. Australian director Patrick Hughes got the gig after delivering a small but well-received modern western Red Hill, and it looks like he managed the jump to a far bigger toolbox fairly well. For a PG-13 film I mean.

The franchise always felt like it fell just barely on the side of an R-rating anyway — as opposed to Stallone’s last Rambo film — so are we really losing anything by dropping to a PG-13? The action remains as cartoonish as ever, but maybe they’ve taken a cue from Universal’s Fast & Furious franchise and changed up the action to include fewer bullets hitting flesh and more fast-moving things exploding. It’s blood, sex and swear words that earn R-ratings, and none of those are really requirements in an admittedly goofy action romp.

That said, Stallone’s argument (per Collider) for the new rating feels a bit disingenuous. “We want to reach as many people as possible… I think we owe it to the next generation.” Obviously any filmmaker wants as many people to see his/her work as possible, but what exactly is owed to the next generation? The entire point of these films is, or at least was, a celebration of old-school action that sees past marquee names kicking ass on the big screen like they did a decade or more ago.

It’s the older generations that made many of these guys stars, and while they have fans in the youth of today I’d argue that for many of them it’s an ironic appreciation at best. Maybe Stallone and friends owe it to past generations to make a good movie again.

Yeah, I said it.

The Expendables 3 opens August 15th.


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