Damon Smith gives his verdict on this week's big cinema release, The Expendables 3.
FOLLOWING a spectacular stunt aboard a moving train that opens this third installment of the action franchise, Arnold Schwarzenegger turns to Sylvester Stallone and wearily confides, "I'm getting out of this business ... and so should you."
Sage advice from the former governor of California. His words fall on deaf ears because The Expendables is a cash cow for Stallone, who directed and co-wrote the opening salvo in 2010 and has been reliving his muscle-bound glory days ever since.
Australian director Patrick Hughes, who impressed with the gritty low-budget western Red Hill, takes charge of this outlandish mission festooned with bone-crunching hand-to-hand combat, pithy one-liners and deafening explosions.
And The Expendables 3 certainly opens with a bang. Several.
Barney Ross (Stallone) and his crew of battle-hardened mercenaries – Lee Christmas (Derbyshire boy Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) – orchestrate a prison breakout.
Their target: original Expendables member Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes), who has been off the grid for several years.
At the behest of chief Max Drummer (Harrison Ford), the bolstered team heads to Mogadishu, where a spectacular skirmish at the dockyards brings Barney face-to-face with a ghost from the past.
The Expendables 3 is an entertaining and ridiculously far-fetched tour of duty.
SHOWING AT: Showcase, Cinema De Lux and the Odeon, Derby; Cineword, Burton and the Odeon, Swadlincote.