Sylvester Stallone will turn 68 years old about a month before “The Expendables 3” opens in August, and I’m honestly thrilled that he’s found a new franchise to hang his hat on, decades after the heyday of “Rocky” and “Rambo”. I’ve always kind of admired Stallone; an unconventional movie star that overcame humble beginnings. Born in New York City, and raised in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, he rose to the highest level of his profession by the age of 30, after years of struggle, by writing and starring in the 1976 Academy Award-winner for Best Picture, “Rocky”. Multiple sequels and hundreds of million of dollars of earnings later, and Sly is still kicking. And “The Expendables 3” will soon mark his third go-round as mercenary team leader, Barney Ross, just months after his iconic “Rocky” made its way to Broadway—as a musical! Who’da thunk it?
But, truth be told, I hated “The Expendables” upon seeing it in theaters when it first arrived in August of 2010. Initially jazzed by the thought of watching a gaggle of aging, muscle-bound stars from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s appearing together on the big screen in an ensemble actioner, the finished project left me kind of cold. And this despite the appearance of Stallone, along with Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis! Even retired NFL player Terry Crews, and wrestlers Steve Austin and Randy Couture were along for the ride. But critically, it was a flop. However, box office speaks louder than the critics, and “The Expendables” grossed more than three times its budget worldwide. And so, in 2012—we got “The Expendables 2”.
And, lo and behold, it was greatly improved! Mickey Rourke and Steve Austin dropped out for this adventure, but it picked up the services of Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme! I skipped it in the theaters that time, but when catching up on video three months later, I was pleasantly surprised. The action was more cohesive, the script was punchier, and the boys seemed to have really found a groove. The critics were much kinder to it as well, and once again—it’s box office more than tripled its budget. So, yeah, I’m on board for “The Expendables 3”. This time we lost Bruce Willis(allegedly over a money dispute), but the additions for this installment are incredible! We’re talking former action giant Wesley Snipes, returning to the big screen after a half decade hiatus and a three-year jail term for tax fraud. Welcome home, Wes! There’s also “Desperado” heart-throb Antonio Banderas, one-time Bond baddie, Robert Davi(1989’s “Licence to Kill”), and former welterweight boxing champion, Victor Ortiz! And if that’s not enough, you’ll also see “Frasier” and “X-Men” franchise star Kelsey Grammer, former Oscar-winner and current psychotic Mel Gibson, plus…wait for it, “Indiana Jones” himself—Harrison freaking Ford! Talk about classing the joint up. The trailer above is practically oozing testosterone, and I want the next person that labels me a “film snob” to remember this post. “The Expendables 3” hits theaters on August 15th…and I can hardly wait!