The Expendables 3

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The Expendables 3
Expendables 3 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Patrick Hughes
Produced by Avi Lerner
Kevin King-Templeton
Danny Lerner
Les Weldon
John Thompson[1]
Screenplay by Creighton Rothenberger
Katrin Benedikt
Sylvester Stallone[1]
Story by Sylvester Stallone
Based on Characters 
by David Callaham
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Jason Statham
Antonio Banderas
Jet Li
Wesley Snipes
Dolph Lundgren
Kelsey Grammer
Randy Couture
Terry Crews
Kellan Lutz
Ronda Rousey
Glen Powell
Victor Ortiz
Robert Davi
Mel Gibson
Harrison Ford
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Music by Brian Tyler
Cinematography Peter Menzies, Jr.
Edited by Sean Albertson
Paul Harb
Production
company
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release dates
  • August 4, 2014 (2014-08-04) (London premiere)
  • August 15, 2014 (2014-08-15) (United States)
Running time
126 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90 million[3]
Box office $206.2 million[4]

The Expendables 3 (stylized as THE EXPENDABLES 3 and The Expendables III) is a 2014 American ensemble action film directed by Patrick Hughes, and written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, and Sylvester Stallone. It is a sequel to the 2012 action film The Expendables 2, and the third installment in The Expendables film series. The film features Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Robert Davi, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The story follows the mercenary group known as "The Expendables" as they come into conflict with ruthless arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), the Expendables' co-founder, who is determined to destroy the team. Released on August 15, 2014, it is the first film in the Expendables series not to be rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. It is instead rated PG-13.[5]

Plot[edit]

The Expendables—led by Barney Ross (Stallone) and formed by Lee Christmas (Statham), Gunnar Jensen (Lundgren), and Toll Road (Couture)—extract former member Doctor Death (Snipes), a knives specialist and team medic, from a military prison during his transfer on a train. They recruit Doc to assist them in intercepting a shipment of bombs meant to be delivered to a warlord in Somalia. Arriving there, they reunite with Hale Caesar (Crews), who directs them to the drop point, where Ross is surprised to find out that the arms trader providing the bombs is Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), a former co-founder of the Expendables who went rogue and was presumed dead. In the ensuing firefight, The Expendables manage to kill all but Stonebanks, who shoots Cesar twice. As the team attempts to aide him, they are forced to retreat due to Stonebanks' advanced weaponry, and Caesar is severely injured in the process.

Back at the United States, CIA operative Max Drummer (Ford), the Expendables' new missions manager, gives Ross a mission to capture Stonebanks in order to bring him to the International Criminal Court to be tried for war crimes. Blaming himself for Caesar's injuries, Ross disbands the Expendables, not wanting his team to get killed following him, and leaves for Las Vegas where he enlists retired mercenary-turned-recruiter Bonaparte (Grammer) to help him find a new team of younger mercenaries to pursue Stonebanks. The recruits include former U.S. Marine John Smilee (Lutz), nightclub bouncer Luna (Rousey), computer expert Thorn (Powell), and weapons expert Mars (Ortiz). Skilled sharpshooter Galgo (Banderas) asks to be included in the team, but Ross turns him down. The new team rendezvous with Ross' rival Trench Mauser (Schwarzenegger), returning a favor for Ross, who has traced Stonebanks to Romania where he is set to make an arms deal. Ross and the new recruits infiltrate an office building Stonebanks is using as a meeting place and, having to kill a few men in the process, manage to capture Stonebanks. While making their way to meet Trench, Stonebanks begins to reveal his pasture between him and Ross on the truth on how he betrayed The Expendables in the first place, and Ross nearly kills him after wanting to shut him up but, despite Stonebanks encouraging Ross to kill him, he stands down. However, Stonebanks' men catches up to them, with the aide of his GPS Tracker, and fire a missile at the team's van. Ross is thrown into a river, while Smilee, Luna, Thorn and Mars are captured by Stonebanks. Ross kills Stonebanks' retrieval team and escapes.

Stonebanks sends Ross a video, challenging Ross to come after him and gives him his location in the country of Uzmenistan. While preparing to leave and mount a rescue alone, Ross is found by Galgo, who offers his services again. Ross agrees to give him a chance, later accompanied by the veteran Expendables. They rescue the young mercenaries, only to learn from Stonebanks that he has rigged the place with explosives. As both the young and veteran Expendables begin to fight one another, Ross convinces them to work together in order to take down Stonebanks once and for all. As the final battle begins, Thorn is able to use a jammer device to delay the countdown, giving them just under half an hour before detonation. Stonebanks then orders the armed forces of Uzmenistan to attack the building with full force, including tanks and attack helicopters. Drummer and Trench arrive in a helicopter to help, alongside returning Expendables member Yin Yang (Li). The new and veteran members of the Expendables work together to kill Stonebanks' men. When a second wave of Stonebanks' army starts moving in for an attack, Drummer lands on the building to evacuate the team. However, Stonebanks personally attacks Ross, who engages him in a hand-to-hand combat. Both become evenly matched, but Ross manages to knock down Stonebanks before both the protagonist and antagonist reach for guns, Stonebanks manages to reach the gun and starts shooting, but Ross gets his first and wounds Stonebanks in the process. At his mercy, Stonebanks brings out his final taunt before Ross shoots him dead, finally killing him. Seconds after Stonebanks death, the batteries of Thorn's device run out and the entire building begins to explode and collapse. The team makes it to Drummer's helicopter and flies away to safety, with Ross managing to cling on to safety just in time.

In the aftermath, Caesar recovers from his wounds, and Ross officially accepts Galgo, Smilee, Luna, Thorn and Mars into the team. They all celebrate at a bar together.

Cast[edit]

See List of characters from The Expendables film series

Production[edit]

Development and pre-production[edit]

In March 2012 Couture said a third installment of The Expendables might begin production in late 2012, after the release of The Expendables 2.[21] In April 2012, Steven Seagal said he was offered a role in a third film.[22] In August 2012, producer Avi Lerner confirmed that Nicolas Cage had been signed for the then-potential sequel. He also said that the producers intended to bring back the series' stars (attempting to have Mickey Rourke reprise his role), had approached Clint Eastwood about a role, and had plans to pursue Harrison Ford and approach Wesley Snipes after his release from prison.[23] Stallone said, "We are thinking about different concepts—the third one is the hardest. The second is the natural progression. The third, that’s when the air gets rare. We’re thinking ambitiously about it...You now have to give audiences something they don’t expect at all—maybe even going into a different genre."[24] Also in August, Chuck Norris said he would not return for a sequel.[25] On August 13, 2012, Jean-Claude Van Damme indicated that Stallone might include him in The Expendables 3 as Claude Vilain, brother of Jean Vilain.[26] On October 31, 2012, it was confirmed that Nu Image and Millennium Films were in the process of pre-selling international distribution rights for The Expendables 3.[27] On December 19, 2012, it was reported that Jackie Chan had agreed to join the sequel on the condition that he would have more than a minor role.[28] Chan later dropped out of the project due to scheduling conflicts.[29]

In March 2013, Stallone confirmed he was writing a script for the sequel, and that he intended for the film to be more humorous with moments of drama. Stallone also said that Seagal would not be in the film, and that he wanted to cast more young actors in their mid-20's.[30] In April 2013, Stallone announced that Patrick Hughes would direct the sequel.[31] In May 2013, Chan, Snipes, Cage, and Milla Jovovich were announced to be in advanced negotiations to join the film.[32] In June 2013, Lionsgate announced that the film would be released on August 15, 2014.[33] In July 2013 it was reported that actor Mel Gibson would portray the film's villain, and later that month Stallone confirmed Gibson's involvement.[34][35] Also in July, actor Kellan Lutz, and professional fighters Victor Ortiz and Ronda Rousey were added to the cast. It was revealed that the film would feature several younger, technology-oriented action heroes who clash with the veteran Expendables.[36] In August 2013, it was confirmed that Ford, Antonio Banderas and Glen Powell would join the cast, and that Bruce Willis would not be reprising his role as Church.[37] Willis' lack of involvement was cited as a disagreement over money, with production sources indicating that Willis was offered $3 million for four days of shooting in Bulgaria, but wanted $4 million.[38] On September 17, 2013, Kelsey Grammer was announced to be in negotiations to join the film.[11]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began on August 19, 2013, in Bulgaria and at the Nu Boyana Film studio in Sofia[1] and ended on October 22.[39] In September 2013, Crews revealed in an interview that Statham survived an on-set mishap when the truck he was driving plunged into the Black Sea after its brakes had failed.[40] In a November 2013 interview, Couture confirmed that filming had finished, and that discussions for a fourth Expendables film were taking place.[41]

Rating[edit]

The film is the first in the franchise to be rated PG-13 differing from the previous films' R rating. At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Stallone announced that he was aiming for a PG-13 rating for the film. Stating that albeit it was close to being rated R, he wanted to reach a younger and broader audience with the new film.[42] On July 1, the Motion Picture Association of America granted The Expendables 3 a PG-13 rating; the given description being "violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language".[5] However, the first version handed to the MPAA received an R rating, and had to be trimmed down to meet the aspired PG-13 rating.[5]

Stallone now regrets the PG-13 rating, saying that it was "a horrible miscalculation on everyone's part in trying to reach a wider audience, but in doing such, diminish the violence that the audience expects. I'm quite certain it won't happen again."[43]

Release[edit]

Marketing[edit]

The cast of The Expendables 3 at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival

On December 19, 2013, the first teaser trailer got released, with the intent of showcasing the large cast of the movie.[44] At 2014 CinemaCon, the official poster of the film was shown for the first time, although it only slightly differs from material shown before, featuring a white background instead of a black one.[45] The marketing scheme of putting a huge emphasis on the film's ensemble cast of famous action actors was continued in early April, when 16 character posters of the film's cast were released and divided over four websites for maximum exposure.[46] One day later, the first trailer with actual footage from the film premiered, again highlighting the film's huge cast, being referred to as a "roll call trailer" by Lionsgate.[47] At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Millennium Films hosted a special event promoting the film at the Carlton Hotel, with Stallone, Statham, Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Ford, Snipes, Banderas, Lundgren, Grammer, Couture, Lutz, Ortiz, Powell, and director Patrick Hughes attending. The event lasted the entire day and featured the cast driving down the Croisette in tanks.[48]

On June 5, a new TV trailer with new footage from the movie was released. Instead of highlighting the all-star cast like the previous ones, this trailer focused on the new additiones to the cast, prominentely Lutz, Rousey and Ortiz, contrasting their young characters with the more experienced ones of Stallone and Grammer.[49] The same day, Sylvester Stallone also released a behind the scenes video via his Twitter.[50] On June 17, a long cinematic trailer was released, giving a first look at Mel Gibson as Conrad Stonebanks, as well as showcasing the film's story for the first time.[51] A week later on June 23, the new banner was released, featuring all 17 cast members except Robert Davi.[52] On June 4 a new TV trailer was released, containing new footage, although mostly consisting of footage already released.[53] A longer version of the trailer was released a week later,[54] and one day after that, another TV trailer, themed to coincide with the 2014 FIFA World Cup, was released.[55] At 2014 ComicCon, 16 new character posters in pop art style were released.[56]

Piracy and subsequent lawsuit[edit]

On July 25, 2014, three weeks ahead of the film's premiere, a DVD-quality illegal leak was downloaded, via piracy sites, more than 189,000 times over a 24-hour period.[57] After one week, it was estimated that the leak had been downloaded over 2 million times.[58]

On July 31, 2014, the film's studio, Lionsgate, filed a lawsuit in California federal court against 10 anonymous individuals for copyright infringement.[59] The studio reported that one digital copy of the film was stolen and uploaded to the Internet. Lionsgate stated they sent demand letters to operators of the piracy sites, but received no reply.[60]

Home media[edit]

The Expendables 3 was released via DVD and Blu-ray on November 25, 2014. The Blu-ray Combo-Pack contains an extended version of the film accompanying the theatrical version, as well as behind-the-scenes featurettes, a blooper reel and a Dolby Atmos multi-channel track. The regular DVD release includes only the theatrical cut.[61]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The Expendables 3 grossed $39,322,544 in North America and $166,850,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $206,172,544.[62]

The Expendables 3 was released on August 15, 2014 in the United States and earned $875,000 during its late night Thursday screenings from 2200 locations. It did better than it predecessors The Expendables ($870,000) and The Expendables 2 ($685,000). However, its first showing was at 7 P.M., whereas the previous films had their first showings at midnight.[63] It earned $5.9 million on its first day, below the $13 million opening day of The Expendables and $10 million opening day of The Expendables 2.[64] The film grossed $5.7 million on its second day and $4.2 million on its third day for a three-day total of $15.8 million.[citation needed]

One possible reason for this loss in ticket sales is because the film leaked three weeks ahead of its release; however, since most downloads were outside the US, if every downloading American paid to see the movie it would have made only $4 million more.[65] Another possible reason was the PG-13 cut, which was meant to attract younger audience. Only 34% of viewers were under 25-years-old, while the less violent cut may have reduced interest from older audiences.[64] Stallone later admitted that toning the film down for a PG-13 rating was a mistake.[66]

The film was released in China on September 5, 2014 and topped the box office in its first week's release earning $33.68 million from 231,836 screenings and 6.92 admissions.[67]

Critical reception[edit]

The Expendables 3 was met with negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 33%, based on 152 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9/10. The site's consensus reads: "Like its predecessors, Expendables 3 offers a modicum of all-star thrills for old-school action thriller aficionados—but given all the talent assembled, it should have been a lot more fun."[68] On Metacritic the film has a score of 35 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[69]

Critics mainly praised the action scenes and the performance of Mel Gibson, but criticized the plot, the dialogue, the lack of humor and the story's focus on the younger cast members more than the actual Expendables themselves.[70]

Kelsey Grammer won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his work in the film, while Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger were also nominated in that category at the 35th Golden Raspberry Awards.

Accolades[edit]

List of accolades
Award Category Recipient(s) Result
Golden Trailer Awards[71] Best Summer 2014 Blockbuster Poster The Expendables 3 "Stallone Teaser"
Lionsgate, Ignition
Nominated
Golden Raspberry Awards[72] Worst Supporting Actor Mel Gibson Nominated
Worst Supporting Actor

(also for Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, Think Like A Man Too and Transformers: Age of Extinction)

Kelsey Grammer Won
Worst Supporting Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger Nominated

Sequel[edit]

A fourth film was confirmed in March 2014 by actor Pierce Brosnan, who stated that he had agreed with Avi Lerner to star in a future Expendables sequel.[73] Hulk Hogan stated on his Twitter account that he will be in the fourth film.[74] During an interview, Jean-Claude Van Damme confirmed that he wants to be in The Expendables 4.[75]

Whilst promoting Furious 7, Statham confirmed that he will appear in any new films saying, "I'll do as many as Sly wants. Working with Sylvester Stallone is beyond a 'pinch yourself' moment. I remember growing up watching his films, and to be directed by him in a movie that he's produced, and to be shoulder-to-shoulder with Sly is a privilege anyone who loves action movies would never turn their nose up at."[76]

References[edit]

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