Watch the new Expendables 3 trailer

Sigh. Everything about this trailer for The Expendables 3 shows promise, but I’m still betting on this being another mediocre outing for our finest action heroes.

That sounds dismissive, but I’m getting tired of waiting for this series to be “good.” I’m not trying to take snide potshots at The Expendables franchise. They are perfectly serviceable Hollywood action movies. But they shouldn’t be. They should be either incredible bombastic monuments to 80s action excess… or spectacular failures. Either outcome would have been respectable. The one thing these “cast of thousands” flicks should not be is “safe.”

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they are. The Expendables are downright sterile.

With all the potential baked into this franchise, it should have been impossible to turn them into safe, routine action flicks. It boggles my mind that the first two movies were so bloodless and uninspired.

Did you see Stallone’s last Rambo? That thing was absolutely friggin’ magical! (Well, as magical as a Rambo movie can be.) It was a gory, hilarious mess. This was the Stallone we all wanted to see. When he announced the first Expendables, I was expecting a riskier, even dumber version of Rambo, staring all of my favorite action heroes.

Basically, I wanted a whole movie of scenes like this one:

“Terry Crews and his magical murder machine” was the best part of the first film, but also its biggest problem. It was the smoking gun that showed that the producers knew exactly what we wanted to see, but they just didn’t give it to us. In a perfect world, The Expendables would have been 90 minutes of scenes like that one, loosely stitched together over a barebones plot. It would have been perfect. That movie would live forever as a legend; an over-the-top avant-garde art project, painted with exploding bodies.

Now, because I hate myself, I’m preparing to watch Stallone and friends try this thing again. The Expendables 3 hits theaters on August 15. Let’s hope the third time is a charm.