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Oldies kicking up trouble

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In many people’s lives, there comes a time when the breath doesn’t come quite as easily and when the muscles ache just that little bit more in the morning.
This is the time for a more reflective approach to life. When a football kick-about is maybe replaced by a more leisurely round of golf, and the brain says, “rest, relax, you deserve a break.”
For most people, this is a time of pension plans, but when you are a Hollywood superstar of a previous generation, your thoughts turn to films that will boost the pension pot without demanding too much in the way of sweat.
If so, then The Expendables 3 is the pension plan that sounded good on paper, but which, by the look of all the action involved, may have tested some stars to the limit.
Take Harrison Ford (‘a battered old Ford’ – his joke) at 72, racing around airfields, flying helicopters and snarling in a most convincing way as CIA agent Drummer. Sadly, Ford, a few months after this film, broke his ankle, tumbling from the Millennium Falcon on the set of the next Star Wars offering.
Here he only had to break into a run once and you could almost imagine the CPR squad on standby in the background. Then there was Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross, the head of the squad, having to retire people such as Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes and Dolph Lundgren and replace them with some young(ish) blood to complete a new mission.
There are more old faces on screen here than a movie about a retirement home, but even at retirement age, it’s nice to see the seniors can still cause a bit of trouble.
The plot is very simple, to allow for lots of shooting, bangs, crashes and wholesale demolition. The Expendables are sent to kill an arms trader who turns out to be a former Expendable, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) – an exceptionally nasty piece of work with a penchant for snarling and death.
The attempt goes bad and Barney Ross ditches the oldies and so when the newbies go after Stonebanks again, they get themselves captured so Stonebanks can lure Ross into a trap and settle some grudges.
The acting is high on the testosterone scale and low on feelings, while the action is long, noisy and for the most part convincing. There is even a token woman on the squad, who, predictably, given she is surrounded by men, hates the lot of them and breaks bones like a good ’un.
Directed by relative newcomer Patrick Hughes, who must have deployed great skill with so many musclebound egos on set at once, the whole thing is predictable, but if you like this sort of thing, it will keep many menfolk entertained of a weekday evening when there’s no sport on Sky.

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