Expendables 3 producer Boaz Davidson revealed the film's official roster of cast members last week, with the new additions including Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson as the big baddie who squares off against Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and their rowdy pack of craggy-faced, gun-toting "boys." Sorry to say, the lineup announcement seemed to prompt as much disappointment as it did excitement among fans, coming after multiple reports that pointed to people such as Jackie Chan and Milla Jovovich joining the fun too - not to mention, we had expected both Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis to return (neither actor is coming back, it seems).
Life goes on, as they say, and now the third Expendables installment has begun principal photography in Bulgaria, with Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) calling the shots. Lionsgate and Millennium Films have released the customary press release to mark the occasion, which means we now have both the finalized cast rundown and an official synopsis for Sly and company's latest tongue-in-cheek R-Rated action throwback.
Here is the official plot summary:
In THE EXPENDABLES 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables -- but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.
"New blood," in this case, refers to Kellan Lutz (Immortals), MMA star Ronda Rousey, welterweight boxing champion Victor Ortiz and lesser-known Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises). The spotlight will remain focused on Sly and his main team members - which again includes Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li - as well as their old-timer acquaintances (see: Arnold Schwarzenegger). Nonetheless, it sounds as though the younger cast additions will be given a better chance to shine that Liam Hemsworth got when he served as the
Red Shirt "new blood" featured in Expendables 2.
Speaking of which: the inclusion of Snipes and Gibson is welcome; indeed, Gibson as the Expendables co-founder back-from-the-dead sounds like a recipe for good hammy fun (it's also somewhat appropriate meta-casting). That said, it would also be nice if the writing - not just the casting - for Expendables 3 ends up marking an improvement over the previous films. Mind you, that doesn't mean we're expecting some thematically-rich story, but the best pure action throwbacks made in recent memory - such as director Walter Hill's Bullet to the Head (headlined by Sly) - are self-aware, yet not so much as to detract from the straight-faced lunk-headed entertainment value offered by the action B-movie format (which is a problem in the first two Expendables movies).
Stallone co-wrote the Expendables 3 script with Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger, who re-captured and updated the bliss of patriotic machismo fare from the '90s earlier this year with their script for Olympus Has Fallen (a.k.a. the "Die Hard in the White House" thriller which is headlined by Gerard Butler, as opposed to the Channing Tatum version) - so, that's encouraging to know.
Similarly, Hughes has shown real promise with his earlier feature-length work - as well as with short films like "Signs" (watch it HERE) - so that bodes well, with regard to the prospect that Expendables 3 will deliver the goods. That is, beyond the simple nostalgic joy of getting to watch so many action icons share the screen and blow up people/buildings to smithereens together.
Do you approve of the final cast and behind-the-scenes talent assembled for The Expendables 3?
The Expendables 3 opens in theaters on August 15th, 2014.