When Stallone was looking for new blood to make the next Expendables movie, he looked to director Patrick Hughes, who had only made one movie and several high profile commercials at the time (he would go on to make The Hitman’s Bodyguard). That theme — of the next generation — is what this movie is all about.
The Expendables are back, still led by Barney Ross (Stallone) and made up of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Terry Crews). They take a mission to rescue a former member Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes) from a military prison transfer.
On the way back home, they intercept bombs meant for a Somalian warlord, but are surprised by arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who once led the team alongside Barney before going rogue. He escapes, but not before critically wounding Caesar, who clings to life.
When they get back home, they meet Mr. Church’s replacement — Bruce Willis decided that he wanted more than $3 million for his cameo — Max Drummer (Harrison Ford!). He gives Barney one more chance to capture Stonebanks for war crimes.
Barney makes the hard choice of disbanding his team and works with Boneparte (Kelsey Grammer?!?) to bring on all new members, including John Smilee (Kellan Lutz, who played Tarzan in Disney’s recent live version), Luna (WWE and UFC star Ronda Rousey), Mars (Victor Ortiz, Southpaw) and Thorn (Glen Powell). Oh yeah — one other guy, Galogo (Antonio Banderas) keeps trying to join, saying that he is “very good at warfare, with a good memory and I want to be your friend/”
The new team members and Ross’s rival Trench Mauser (Arnold Schwarzenegger) follow Stonebanks to Romania where he is making an arms deal with the Albanian mob, led by Robert Davi of all people. He’s one of my favorite character actors so it’s a joy to see him in this.
The new Expendables wipe out everyone but Stonebanks, who they try to take to th Hague for his trial, but he escapes and more of his forces show up to capture everyone but Barney, who gets away.
Stonebanks sends a video to Barney, challenging him to come to Azmenistan. Galgo finds our hero and asks to join up and is met by the rest of the team, who decide that they will rescue the new team members.
Will the new members get together with the old ones? Will everyone combine forces to wipe out Stonebanks and an entire country? Will Drummer and Trench come back for the save and bring Jet Li with them? I think you know the answers by this point.
The only bad thing I have to say about this movie is its PG-13 rating. Stallone would come to agree, 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.”
There will be at least one more of these movies, with Pierce Brosnan reporting that he’ll be in it and Jason Statham saying, “I’ll do as many as Sly wants.” Terry Crews will not be in another, as in his testimony against WME agent Adam Venit for sexually assaulting him, he was threatened by producer Avi Lerner to drop his case. He decided to take a stand and that stand will include not being in another film for Lerner.