One of my least favorite things about Sylvester Stallone is the way he throws good movies under the bus if they don’t do great business. Sometimes he’s talking about movies that probably deserve a little disdain, but sometimes he does it with films that truly aren’t that bad. I’m mostly talking about Rocky V, here.
Now he’s started doing it with The Expendables 3, a movie that, while falling somewhat short of Shakespeare, still stands as the series’ best entry. In a discussion with Crave Online, Stallone blames the film’s failure on its PG-13 rating, calling the decision to tone down the violence a “horrible miscalculation” as though the first two Expendables films had reputations based on blood spurts and gratuitous head shots.
While discussing the failure of The Expendables 3, Stallone also looks toward the future, a strange and unknown frontier that has an Expendables 4 in it. I find this quote kind of hilariously misguided about what people want from these films:
This is a big conflict for me because in an R-rated film it is difficult to believe that none of the heroes die. I personally just believe that the characters become identifiable and their demise could put a dark cloud over an audience exiting the theatre after seeing the film. But that may change in Expendables 4…
My take: People didn’t go watch Expendables 3 because this is a novelty series and that novelty had run its course with the second film. People were never watching these movies as a legitimate action franchise, or at least I hope they weren’t. Expendables 3 just happened to be entertaining because of some great jokes and casting ideas, but even as the series’ best entry it’s full of all kinds of nonsense that keeps it from any real greatness.
But hey, if they make an Expendables 4, I will see it. Especially if Stallone really wants to start killing off these invincible knuckleheads. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if Stallone totally backs down on this promise and delivers another PG-13 action comedy instead. Mostly, I'll be surprised if they make a fourth movie.