Adventures In Celluloid

Film critic Dominic Corry celebrates, clarifies and justifies his love for all things film.

Dominic Corry: The Expendables' greatest hits

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If you thought 2012's The Expendables 2 was overloaded with action stars, the third film in the popular action throwback franchise goes even further, with no less than a billboard-busting SEVENTEEN above-the-title stars, surely some kind of steroidal record. To celebrate its release, Dominic Corry looks at the highs and lows of the top Expendable's and rates their performance in the new film. To celebrate its release, Dominic Corry looks at the highs and lows of the top six Expendables, and rates their performance in the new film.
The cast of The Expendables 3.
The cast of The Expendables 3.

1: Sylvester Stallone

Expendable: Team leader/walking Ed Hardy T-shirt Barney Ross.
Career high: Writing and starring in 1976's Rocky, which won the Best Picture Oscar.
Career low: Starring in 1991's Oscar, which was terrible.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Sly is more lumbering and marble-mouthed than ever here. His final showdown with Mel Gibson is quite good though.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Stallone appears committed to wringing more films out of both the Rambo and Rocky franchises, with a new spin-off from the latter focusing on Apollo Creed's grandson. Seriously.

2: Jason Statham

Expendable: Team number two (but number one in the silly name stakes) Lee Christmas.
Career high: Feels like it's yet to come. Crank and it's sequel Crank: High Voltage are both awesome though.
Career low: 2007's In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, directed by German schlockmeister Uwe "Toilet" Boll.


Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Has less to do this time around, but the knife skills are still in play.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Statham is the busiest Expendable of them all, starring in an endless stream of action movies and playing the big bad in next year's Fast & Furious 7.

3: Antonio Banderas

Expendable: Motor-mouthed wannabe Expendable Galgo.
Career high: His numerous collaborations with celebrated Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar. Voicing Puss In Boots.
Career low: 1995 marriage comedy Two Much, on the set of which he meet Melanie Griffith, whom he subsequently married and only recently divorced.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Banderas is the real surprise of the film, generating plenty of laughs as the world's most desperate mecernary. He also kicks considerable butt.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Banderas can next be seen (i.e. heard) voicing the character of Burger-Beard in The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. So yes.

4: Jet Li

Expendable: Pint-sized ass-kicker Yin Yang.
Career high: Either 1991's Once Upon A Time In China or 2002's Hero.
Career low: Misguided Matrix rip-off The One (2001), in which he is pursued by future fellow Expendable Jason Statham.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? After bowing out early in part two, Yin Yang has an even smaller role this time around. Shoots a gun and that's it. A shameful effort.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? The last non-Expendable English-language film Li appeared in was 2008's The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which speaks to how Hollywood has never quite figured out what to do with him. Still a big draw in China.

5: Wesley Snipes

Expendable: The deadly 'Doc', a former teammate broken out of prison in the film's opening set-piece.
Career high: White Men Can't Jump. No question.
Career low: Going to prison for failing to pay his taxes in 2010. Also Money Train (1995).
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Snipes is clearly enjoying being back on the big screen, and he makes a nice foil for Statham's Lee. Kicks a lot of butt early on, a solid team player after that.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? A one-time A-list star, Snipes has spent the last ten years starring in straight-to-DVD action movies. That probably won't change after The Expendables 3. Prove us wrong, Wesley!


Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Harrison Ford, Dolph Lundgren and Wesley Snipes.

6: Dolph Lundgren

Expendable: Unkillable team secret weapon Gunnar Jensen
Career high: Playing Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Or maybe playing He-Man in Masters Of The Universe (1987).
Career low: Let's say, The Minion (1998).
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? After proving himself invaluable comic relief in part two, Gunner has little to do here beyond standing around and looking tall.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Of all the B-grade Expendables, Lundgren has had the most fun with his role. If there's any justice, he should be propelled back into leading man status, but he'll probably just keep starring in direct-to-DVD action movies shot in Europe.

7: Kelsey Grammer

Expendable: Expendable-recruiter Bonaparte
Career high: Playing the character of Frasier Crane across both Cheers and Frasier.
Career low: 1996 "comedy" Down Periscope. That viral video in which he falls off a stage.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? No butt is kicked by Frasier, but he has a decent action movie chemistry with Stallone.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Grammer is teaming with Martin Lawrence for a new lawyer TV series called Partners.

8: Randy Couture

Expendable: The dependable Toll Road
Career high: If you don't count his UFC titles, probably this movie.
Career low: Erm, a cameo in The King of Queens?
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Couture is probably the most deadly Expendable in real-life, but he only gets about one and half lines here.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Former UFC champion Couture has carved himself a out a nice little niche as a B-grade action star.

9: Terry Crews

Expendable: Enthusiastic mega-gun wielder Hale Caesar
Career high: Playing President Camacho in Mike Judge's cult favourite Idiocracy (2006).
Career low: 2004's White Chicks.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Caesar steps up big-time in the opening action scene, but a plot spoiler keeps him out of the rest of the action.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Never short of roles, Crews is currently doing great work in the TV2 comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Has also has a book called 'Manhood' coming out later this year.

10: Kellan Lutz

Expendable: New recruit John Smilee (where do they get these names?).
Career high: All four Twilight films.
Career low: All four Twilight films.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Despite his pretty-boy looks, Lutz does an okay job as the most prominent of the "new" Expendables. Even when the action finale calls upon him to use his previously-established motorcross skills.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Although he leads with his torso, model-turned-actor Lutz appears to have spun all that Twilight fervour into an actual acting career.


Ronda Rousey, Jet Li, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

11: Ronda Rousey

Expendable: New recruit Luna
Career high: Rousey is a two-time Olympian (in judo) and current UFC Women's Bantamweight champion.
Career low: This is her first movie, but she has a cameo in the upcoming Entourage film, so probably that.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Rousey is a very convincing butt-kicker. But can't seem to act her way out of a paper bag. Makes fellow MMA fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano (Fast and Furious 6) look like Meryl Streep.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Rousey is one of UFC's biggest current breakout stars, expect to see more of her. Hopefully not in movies though.

12: Glen Powell

Expendable: New recruit, mountain-climbing hacker Thorn.
Career high: This movie. It's unclear why Stallone cast this gormless zero.
Career low: 2003's Sky Kids 3D: Game Over (which co-starred Sylvester Stallone!).
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Behaving like he stepped out of a Mountain Dew commercial, Powell is the lamest of the new Expendables.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? We shall see. But he looks too blank-faced to go anywhere significant.

13: Victor Ortiz

Expendable: New recruit Mars
Career high: Ortiz is a very succcessful boxer.
Career low: Hasn't had one yet.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Introduced showcasing his boxing skills, Ortiz has one particularly cool action moment, but otherwise does little to distinguish himself.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Based on his acting here, not in the movies.

14: Robert Davi

Expendable: Arms buyer Goran Vata
Career high: Playing the opera singing Jake Fratelli in 1985's The Goonies.
Career low: 1997's Showgirls.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Davi only has a one-scene cameo, but his action movie provenence is without question.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? One of the great character actors (and movie villains) of our time, it's great to see Davi participating here, and his name on the poster despite appearing only for a minute. I just hope they get him involved in the Goonies sequel.

Watch the trailer for The Expendables 3 here:

15: with Mel Gibson

Expendable: Original Expendable turned international arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks.
Career high: Directing and starring in the Oscar-winning Braveheart (1995).
Career low: Various personal scandals involving drunken, anti-semitic tirades. Also What Women Want (2000).
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Gibson dives into his sneering villain role with gusto. He's been on the other side of enough of these crazies over the years to know what makes a good bad guy.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? Could this film be Gibson's entry back into studio filmmaking? He played the bad guy in last year's Machete Kills, and nobody seemed to care. He's a lot more fun here though.

16: with Harrison Ford

Expendable: CIA Operative Max Drummer
Career high: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Career low: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? It's nice seeing Harry in the mix with the other '80s tough guys, but he seems vaguely embarrassed. No specific butt-kicking per se, but he is reasonably convincing shooting people from a helicopter.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? After almost two decades of picking one terrible movie after another, the upcoming Star Wars sequel may finally see Ford's career back where it should be.

17: and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Expendable: Expendable associate Trench
Career high: Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Career low: Escape Plan (2013), also with Stallone.
Kicks butt in The Expendables 3? Sporting a litany of loud shirts, Arnie shuffles around like somebody's lost Grandpa here. It's borderline embarrassing.
Career outside The Expendables franchise? It's been very tough for Schwarzenegger fans seeing the Austrian Oak play second fiddle to former rival Stallone in the Expendables franchise, but with a new Terminator having recently wrapped, and plans for a Conan movie on the horizon, we have a lot to be excited about.

What: The Expendables 3
Where and when: In cinemas from today

* Who is your favourite Expendable? Disagree with any of my assessments above? Comment below!

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