This Movie Was PG-13? – A Review Of The Expendables 3

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It’s hard for me to get out to the theater anymore. I’m old, tired, married, and I have a 4 year old with the intelligence of a 40 year old, with the stamina of Stallone, and the quickness of Jet Li. I used to go every weekend, some weekends multiple times, but these days, a lot of factors determine whether or not I’ll be able to make it out. I’m a little more choosy with the movies I pay to see in a theater. If there is one reason I chose to make it out to see Expendables 3, it would probably be the controversy over the PG-13 rating. I had a theory that it meant absolutely nothing, and that the wheels were greased by the Hollywood machine to make that a reality, regardless of the contents of the film. For the most part, I was right. The Expendables 3 is no less violent than either of the past films, in fact, it’s probably more violent than the second film. But, we’ll get into that in a second. I’m glad I was able to enjoy this one at the cinema, because this may or may not be the last installment in the series, depending on box office take, which if the talking heads are to be believed, may be significantly less than previous years due to the leaked copy of the film that made its way online three weeks before the theatrical date. Of course, if it does do lower numbers than expected, it’ll be blamed on that, and other variables, such as the fact that box office numbers are down all around this year, with a few exceptions. 

From The Official Website:

IN THE EXPENDABLES 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team come 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.

Think back to The Expendables 2, what was it about that film that it needed an R rating? Was it the constant, perverse language? The disturbing gore effects? The nonstop nudity? No, because none of those things existed. Granted, I could be remembering incorrectly, but I am almost positive that there wasn’t even an F-bomb dropped in the entire movie. Please send me hatemail if I’m wrong. The only thing that causing that film to have an R rating, is the CGI blood splatter added in after-the-fact. In fact, I don’t think it even deserves an R for that. I think the studio saw the backlash over the suggestion that it would be a PG-13 film, and I think they scurried to throw together some poorly rendered CGI blood, and greased a few palms at the MPAA with a request for an R rating. But, I digress. What I’m trying to say here, is that this film is in no way hindered by the PG-13. If somebody tells you they are a fan of the first film, but they couldn’t stand this one because of the rating, that person is a liar. It’s not like the first Expendables film was even all that brutally violent, at least not from a gore standpoint. What makes the Expendables films exciting, for the most part, is the cast of action movie legends, all willing to do their own stunts, delivering brutal, realistic and extremely well choreographed fight scenes.

I’m not thrilled about some of the things that happen in Expendables 3. I wasn’t particularly keen on assembling a younger team, as I feel like it was an obvious attempt at establishing a future of an ending franchise, in the form of a reboot or some such nonsense with a new cast of characters. Overall, though, I had a lot more fun with this film than I did with the last. The in-jokes are funny, at least for my sense of humor, the stakes are just as high as ever before, as is the body count, and the chemistry between the core cast of characters makes for an extremely believable, yet ridiculously over-the-top story. I understand being apprehensive about a once-R-rated franchise going the PG-13 route, but I can assure you that The Expendables 3 feels just like every other film in the franchise. It sacrifices nothing at all in order to achieve the PG-13. The first film is a little more course in the language department, but part 3 is as well. You’ll find a complete absence of the word “fuck”, but you had the same thing in Expendables 2. My final note on this film, is that if you are already a fan of this franchise, there is no reason for you to not enjoy the film. If you weren’t a fan of the first two, Expendables 3 will do nothing for you either. I had fun at the theater, though, and that’s all that I ask for.

(7.5/10)

About Shawn Savage

I say stuff. Shawn@liberaldead.com @theliberaldead
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