The Expendables 3 review – Sly Stallone returns in an aging rampage

The Expendables 3

The Expendables cast has expanded to include more youngsters, and while Sly is under-par he still looks nimble compared to the rest of the grizzled gang

They're back, and there's more of them than ever. The poster for this third Expendables film is absolutely packed with guys crammed into the frame, like the Sergeant Pepper album cover. It is as if we have reached a tipping point of Expendables in which the cast explodes – perhaps the fourth film will also include Tom Berenger, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dennis Waterman, Danny Dyer and Simon Russell Beale. Sly Stallone returns as top Expendable in this under-par outing, and he is actually pretty nimble compared to the other oldster hombres, for whom walking along without a body double is a dangerous stunt. Arnold Schwarzenegger looks physically uncomfortable just standing there, as if he needs to go back to Rigby & Peller to modify his gentlemen's support. Harrison Ford, playing the CIA chief who sends them into battle, is very grandfatherly, and his generously proportioned ears have a tendency to waggle while he is delivering the lines. The idea now is that Sly, somewhat ungraciously, fires all his old crew (they are apparently expendable) because he doesn't want to endanger them with the job he has in mind – taking down a sinister bad guy played by Mel Gibson. Then he hires a bunch of youngsters who can do stuff such as computer hacking. Meanwhile, his former comrades, apparently not offended by their sacking, make a strategic re-appearance. These are guys for whom failure is not an option, but sadly nor is going more than an hour without needing the toilet.

• Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas on The Expendables 3

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Peter Bradshaw, for The Guardian on Thursday 14th August 2014 16.04 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010