Sylvester Stallone's teamup with Arnold Schwarzenegger on the jail breakout thriller Escape Plan was a mixed success at the box office (weak U.S. turnout, solid foreign gross), while it remains to be seen how interested moviegoers are in Sly's face-off with Robert De Niro in the boxing comedy Grudge Match (which opens next week). At the least, it's a safe bet to say there will be a sizable crowd for Stallone's 2014 team effort - The Expendables 3.
Similar to the teaser for the previous Expendables installment, the first theatrical preview for Expendables 3 isn't so much a proper trailer as it is a glorified actor roster countdown. The cast is the movie's biggest selling point, and with good reason; a lineup that includes Rocky/Rambo, The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and The Transporter (Jason Statham) - in addition to returning bruisers Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture - needs no introduction.
New additions to the Expendables franchise include a handful of tech-saavy whipper-snappers, in the shapes of Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules), welterweight boxing champion Victor Ortiz and Olympic medal-winning martial artist Ronda Rousey.
On top of that, Sly and his fellow senior citizens will be joined by the likes of fellow 20th century action icons Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas - with Harrison Ford "filling in" for Bruce Willis - and Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar), playing a small role. The big baddie in Expendables 3 will be Mel Gibson, who's ready for a second round of tongue in cheek villainy after his role in Machete Kills last fall - and this time, he's been hitting the gym something fierce, as evidenced by the photos of Mad Mel snapped up from the Expendables 3 set (hopefully, his antagonist role here will prove more satisfying than in the Machete sequel).
Plot-wise, Expendables 3 is pretty straight-forward: Gibson, as the co-founder of The Expendables, was left for dead by Sly's Barney Ross, and he's now back for revenge, which requires Barney and his craggy team to pool together - with assistance from some fresher-faced hotshots, who are more experienced and knowledgable in the mysterious ways of the digital age. (Cue the iPhone and Twitter jokes!)
Stallone co-wrote the script with Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger: a writing (and husband-wife) duo who demonstrated a knack for this brand of formulaic throwback fare with the spring 2013 release Olympus Has Fallen. Finally, the job of director was assigned to Patrick Hughes; the relative unknown made his feature-length debut with the well-received B-movie thriller Red Hill in 2010, so he seems qualified for this line of work. Just be sure and ease back on the 'shaky cam', alright?
The Expendables 3 opens in theaters on August 15th, 2014.