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updated: 8/14/2014 2:57 PM

New tricks can't rescue 'Expendables 3'

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  • Team leader Barney (Sylvester Stallone), left, isn't sure if he wants out-of-work assassin Galgo (Antonio Banderas) working for him "Expendables 3."

      Team leader Barney (Sylvester Stallone), left, isn't sure if he wants out-of-work assassin Galgo (Antonio Banderas) working for him "Expendables 3."

  • It's up to old-timers Barney (Sylvester Stallone), left, and Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to save the day in "Expendables 3."

      It's up to old-timers Barney (Sylvester Stallone), left, and Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to save the day in "Expendables 3."

  • Bouncer Luna (Ronda Rousey) has to prove her mettle in "Expendables 3."

      Bouncer Luna (Ronda Rousey) has to prove her mettle in "Expendables 3."

  • Video: "Expendables 3" trailer

 
By Derrik J. Lang
Associated Press

In its third incarnation, "The Expendables" has become, well, expendable.

Despite some ruthless new tactics, there's no saving "The Expendables 3," the overpopulated third outing of Sylvester Stallone's all-star action ensemble.

Perhaps recognizing its own mortality, "Expendables 3" goes for a kitchen-sink approach. There's the injection of AARP-eligible action stars like Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford into the already bursting-at-the-seams cast, as well the addition of some junior Expendables. Those extra bodies don't add any oomph to the stiff dialogue or predictable plot.

After liberating a long-lost Expendables comrade (Snipes) and watching another (Terry Crews) go down in a battle with Gibson's maniacal arms dealer, the third installment finds team leader Barney (a more puffy yet still personable Stallone) booting his pals (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture) in favor of younger, prettier models.

Barney plods across North America with a guerrilla recruiter (Kelsey Grammer) to assemble the Expendables 2.0: an angst-filled soldier (Kellan Lutz), a lippy hacker (Glen Powell), a cocky weapons guru (Victor Ortiz) and a lady bouncer (mixed-martial artist Ronda Rousey), who is unfortunately reminded every time she's on screen that -- yeah, bro -- she's female.

The unmemorable Millennials are kidnapped almost as quickly as they're introduced. Obviously, it's up to the old-timers to save the day.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Antonio Banderas provide the film's comic relief. Banderas does so intentionally as a motor-mouthed, out-of-work assassin who really wants to be on the team, while Schwarzenegger's return as Expendables associate Trench is just laughably bad. Of course, acting isn't why anyone goes to one of these "Expendables" movies.

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