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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Expendables 3

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger star in a scene from the movie "The Expendables 3."
There are many ways to keep yourself entertained while watching "The Expendables 3" (Lionsgate).

For instance, counting the wrinkles on the face of Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), the good guy-turned-war-criminal, during one of his many rants. Or marking off the minutes until Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) bellows, "We must get to the choppah!"

Eventually, the only remaining entertainment factor is to marvel at how director Patrick Hughes and screenwriters Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt keep this second sequel's shoot-'em-up formula, which harkens back to the 1980s, from crashing resoundingly onto the shores of ennui.

The new development in this Expendables adventure -- which is, thankfully, considerably less gory than its predecessors -- is the addition of a youthful new breed of monosyllabic action heroes to bolster the reliable geezers.

Early on, a weary Trench confesses to Barney (Stallone), "I'm getting out of this business -- and so should you." Well, not before a few last helicopter rides and machine-gun fusillades -- as well as the valedictory blowing up of miscellaneous items.

Barney's last mission to Somalia to break Doc (Wesley Snipes) out of prison didn't go well and ended up with the near-fatal shooting of Caesar (Terry Crews). So Barney is ready to quit. But Drummer (Harrison Ford), his CIA boss, asks him to assemble a new crew to bring Stonebanks before justice at The Hague.

Barney and Napoleon (Kelsey Grammar) recruit flexible and muscular Luna (Ronda Rousey), Smilee (Kellan Lutz), Thorn (Glen Powell) and Mars (boxing champ Victor Ortiz). From then on, the only suspense is how long it will take for Barney's old fighting team of Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner (Dolph Lungren) and the always-reliable Trench to join them for the big showdown against Stonebanks in Romania.

For comedy relief, they're joined by the talkative and eager Galgo (Antonio Banderas), and Drummer cracks wise while flying a copter.

It's all slick, competent and sterile, as if its tropes had been perfected by mass-production techniques. The film has nothing new to say as it kills off anonymous bad guys over a period of 127 minutes.

"You're only old when you surrender," Mars announces in his introductory scene. Nah, you can be old without surrendering, and -- unlike these performers -- also retain some dignity.

The film contains frequent gun, knife and physical violence as well as numerous explosions, a few uses of profanity and pervasive crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother (August 27), the instructions of Ambrose (December 7) and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, please fill my heart and soul with the confidence that you will always provide what I need, when I need it, and let me be obedient to you.

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