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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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Stephen of Mar Saba: A "do not disturb" sign helped today's saint find holiness and peace. 
<p>Stephen of Mar Saba was the nephew of St. John Damascene, who introduced the young boy to monastic life beginning at age 10. When he reached 24, Stephen served the community in a variety of ways, including guest master. After some time he asked permission to live a hermit's life. The answer from the abbot was yes and no: Stephen could follow his preferred lifestyle during the week, but on weekends he was to offer his skills as a counselor. Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays." </p><p>Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide. </p><p>His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things." </p><p>Stephen died in 794.</p> American Catholic Blog Father, grant us the grace to be humble and content to place ourselves at your service. You know the role you want us to play in your kingdom. Following where you lead is the only sure way to find success and enjoy the adventure. We ask your grace to know this, in Jesus's name, Amen.


 
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