Runtime: 131 Mins
What To Expect: Better and more even than the theatrical, but still a huge waste
This kind of reminds me on Live Free Or Die Hard. That movie was a disappointment, a blown opportunity of a big retro franchise, with a soft theatrical release, unwanted youngsters and uproar on the internet about a PG-13 rating including spats involving Bruce Willis himself in comments sections. Then of course the unrated version came, which was marginally better but did not really fix the movie. The Expendables 3 was not a bad movie, just below average and wasted potential. The extended cut average and nothing more. It’s slightly more violent with slightly stronger language and slightly more cohesive editing. If you still haven’t seen the movie, or are going to buy it, this is the version you should seek out. If you’re looking for a huge difference, you’re going to be disappointed.
We don’t really need to reintroduce the cast, or the plot or any of the rest of it. Most people are probably wondering what has been added. You probably remember that the theatrical version had some unintuitive editing going on, well as far as I am concerned that’s the main addition here. The action scenes and certain acts of violence are extended slightly to their original lengths. Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes and Jet Li kill more enemies and a few actors have an extra line or two here and there. Unfortunately for people wondering about big hitters like Arnold Schwarzenegger, nothing much to report. Arnold has one extra line, like Dolph Lundgren. There is nothing much new for Mel either, apart from the new Expendables briefly mentioning his history in the Australian SAS.
The big disappointment here is probably no real new violence or ‘mature’ content. Although I did hear new F-bombs, one where Wesley Snipes seems to have dubbed the word motherfucker in for example, there is no truly ‘R’ stuff in here. I don’t really recall seeing any blood. It’s likely that it doesn’t exist, or that they didn’t bother going to town on adding CGI effects (that includes cleaning up the horrendous general CGI by the way, which looks worse here than in the cinema). There’s a lot of extra footage in existence, probably non offensive. But in my opinion it would’ve worsened the movie to include it all. It’s bad enough having to sit through unwanted young Expendables, so if they boosted it up to 150 minutes or something, pacing would’ve suffered in a movie already pushing the limits. If anything, this movie requires a harsh re-edit, down to 90 minutes or so. You know what has to go.
As a movie, The Expendables 3 extended cut is average. 6/10. It has competent action that flows better, coming from a director who has proven himself under the circumstances (ball and chain directing). And it obviously has brilliant stars, but is let down by nothing new coming to the table to correct its many sins and the problem of high definition leaving us red faced at those special effects, more than in the summer.