When the entire selling point of a franchise is predicated around one thing, then common sense would indicate that doing the complete opposite is a bad move. For mind-boggling reasons, though, The Expendables 3 decided it was going to be that movie, and oh boy did it suffer as a result.
Since its inception, the only reason audiences flocked to the theaters was to see Sylvester Stallone and his aging band of action heroes brutalize small armies of faceless henchmen in gratuitously R-rated fashion. It may have been a simple formula, but it was one that worked after the first two chapters went down a storm with genre junkies everywhere and combined to earn almost $600 million at the box office.
And yet, it was somehow decreed that watering down The Expendables 3 to a PG-13 family-friendly affair and dedicating immense amounts of screentime to the likes of Ronda Rousey, Kellan Lutz, Glen Powell, and Victor Ortiz was the way to go. Sure, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, and Mel Gibson ticked the “grizzled veteran” box, but it wasn’t a surprise to see the threequel wind up as the lowest-grossing and worst-reviewed installment by far.
In fact, it ended up putting the entire Expendables saga on ice for the better part of a decade, with Barney Ross and the gang finally gearing up to make their long-awaited return in this month’s EXPEND4BLES, which has made a repeated point of emphasizing its back to basics and bloody approach.
As fate would have it, though, the worst of the bunch has been the one tearing it up on Netflix over the weekend, with FlixPatrol naming the misfire that almost nuked the entire property as one of the planet’s top-viewed titles.