Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Expendables 3 is a Dull Reunion

Plus, Let's Be Cops is criminally short on laughs, and The Giver looks nice but lacks passion.

by | August 14, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got aging tough guys (The Expendables 3, starring Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham), fake policemen (Let’s Be Cops, starring Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson), and a rogue nonconformist (The Giver, starring Brenton Thwaites and Jeff Bridges). What do the critics have to say?

The Expendables 3


One of the primary pleasures of the Expendables franchise has been the chance to gaze at a staggering array of stars, and The Expendables 3 is no exception. This time out, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many more, team up with the likes of Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, and Mel Gibson, among others. However, critics say the movie itself is disappointingly thin and predictable. After a mission goes wrong, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) disbands the Expendables and brings in a younger crew to replace them. But when his new recruits are captured by a diabolical arms dealer, it’s up to Ross’ old buddies to rescue them. The pundits say The Expendables 3 is more like a class reunion than a movie, and the action set pieces are surprisingly flat.

Let’s Be Cops


Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson are funny guys, and they share an undeniable comic chemistry on New Girl. Unfortunately, critics say there’s only so much they can do when trapped in a narratively slack, sitcommy vehicle like Let’s Be Cops. Wayans and Johnson star as a pair of average dudes who show up to a masquerade ball dressed as police officers — and are surprised by the amount of respect they receive. So they decide to continue to pretend to be policemen, and eventually discover that they’re in over their heads. The pundits say the stars are worth a chuckle or two, but Let’s Be Cops is basically a collection of skits that fails to do much with its undeniably appealing premise. (Flip through this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of the best and worst movie cops.)

The Giver


Published in 1993, Lois Lowry’s dystopian young adult novel The Giver won the Newbery Medal, earned a dedicated fan base, and helped to lay the groundwork for the success of everything from The Hunger Games to Divergent. Too bad, then, that that critics say the big-screen adaptation of The Giver feels a little late to the party; despite a strong visual sense, it never generates the feeling of discovery that made the book so potent. Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is a teenager in a bland, passionless society. While spending time with a wise man called the Giver (Jeff Bridges), he discovers that the world he knows harbors deadly secrets — and it’s this knowledge that makes him a target of the powers that be. The pundits say The Giver is a polished production, but its familiar plotting and limp pacing keep it from distinguishing itself from other recent young adult sci-fi films. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which count down co-ster Meryl Streep’s best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • We Are Mari Pepa, a comedy about a band of aspiring punk rockers in Guadalajara, is at 100 percent.
  • Frank, starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal in a dramedy about an artsy rock group whose eccentric leader wears a giant papier-mâché mask, is Certified Fresh at 89 percent.
  • The Trip To Italy, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in a road comedy about two old friends sampling culinary delights and talking about life, is Certified Fresh at 89 percent.
  • Abuse of Weakness, starring Isabelle Huppert in a drama about a filmmaker who is swindled after suffering from a stroke, is at 85 percent.
  • Jealousy, a French drama about an actor who leaves his wife and child for another woman, is at 83 percent.
  • A Will For The Woods, a documentary about a terminally ill man determined to have an environmentally friendly burial, is at 83 percent.
  • Dinosaur 13, a documentary about the lengthy debate over ownership that followed a 1990 T-Rex skeleton discovery, is at 67 percent.
  • Ragnarok, an adventure about an archeologist on the trail of a lost Viking ship, is at 60 percent.
  • Coldwater, a drama about a group of teenagers at a harsh private rehab facility for troubled kids, is at 43 percent.
  • Life After Beth, starring Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan in a comedy about a teenager who dies but promptly returns to life, is at 39 percent.
  • Septic Man, a horror film about a sewage worker who must save his community from killer contaminating the water supply, is at nine percent.

Tag Cloud

BBC Netflix rotten movies we love Shondaland Mary Poppins Returns stand-up comedy Fantasy crime Opinion zombie Comics on TV anime Paramount 21st Century Fox Music Tarantino 2015 Winter TV TNT USA Network streaming The CW franchise Warner Bros. social media Ovation Turner Classic Movies The Walking Dead blaxploitation Biopics Countdown History FX on Hulu composers comic versus Pop TCA 2017 USA psycho Thanksgiving Animation cars X-Men mockumentary TV Land Ghostbusters strong female leads Marvel LGBT anthology National Geographic boxoffice Tubi Television Academy romance spinoff Brie Larson Women's History Month latino Fox News Britbox Holidays cults scary movies 2018 NYCC Tomatazos TIFF spain crime drama children's TV Spectrum Originals Lucasfilm DGA unscripted Schedule Writers Guild of America First Reviews award winner Year in Review aliens Watching Series nature war Polls and Games AMC reviews halloween psychological thriller Crunchyroll Disney Food Network 2019 Trivia Masterpiece supernatural universal monsters DirecTV animated Paramount Network Summer serial killer Cannes FX period drama politics 2020 Family Trophy Talk Classic Film Quiz Star Wars Vudu Crackle The Witch Rocky 71st Emmy Awards TLC OWN what to watch Sony Pictures El Rey true crime YouTube BET First Look cinemax Song of Ice and Fire discovery harry potter book 2016 canceled Endgame Discovery Channel police drama comics NBC Musical PBS Superheroe Christmas Box Office Comedy 2017 Syfy The Purge MTV sports directors binge cartoon Sundance TV vampires CMT Calendar Comedy Central kids Extras richard e. Grant elevated horror ghosts Netflix Christmas movies Nickelodeon Nat Geo Disney Plus Teen TCA Rocketman GLAAD Winners Spring TV Peacock Anna Paquin foreign screenings Amazon Prime Horror Marathons batman BBC America Adult Swim robots YouTube Premium Certified Fresh Turner YouTube Red singing competition 45 Logo VH1 Hallmark Christmas movies independent GoT Comic Book DC Comics MSNBC Video Games Oscars mutant Pop TV 24 frames doctor who Fall TV travel Hulu Trailer Disney streaming service Disney Channel Interview Baby Yoda crossover Esquire Epix GIFs Starz Western A&E Lifetime Nominations APB Super Bowl Captain marvel RT21 Tumblr based on movie TruTV Musicals Hallmark ABC Family Columbia Pictures name the review Funimation Heroines WarnerMedia See It Skip It screen actors guild cooking Cosplay tv talk New York Comic Con comiccon Emmy Nominations Awards Tour TV Pet Sematary DC streaming service hispanic quibi thriller IFC Elton John Cartoon Network 007 medical drama DC Universe crime thriller revenge cancelled Mystery Emmys Apple TV Plus Walt Disney Pictures Lionsgate Best and Worst spanish language Showtime Drama space Apple TV+ LGBTQ Mary Tyler Moore Valentine's Day dc sequel joker jamie lee curtis adventure cats miniseries Ellie Kemper game show dramedy The Arrangement spider-man Avengers Marvel Studios canceled TV shows south america natural history E3 Pixar historical drama free movies romantic comedy witnail Red Carpet CW Seed Academy Awards Set visit Amazon Studios Film Reality Competition Sundance Now transformers President A24 Acorn TV SundanceTV cancelled TV series breaking bad justice league Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt science fiction Film Festival Arrowverse Travel Channel 20th Century Fox teaser OneApp series E! Binge Guide Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Mindy Kaling Dark Horse Comics YA video docudrama FOX theme song Creative Arts Emmys RT History SDCC Sneak Peek dragons spy thriller Marvel Television werewolf Black Mirror Stephen King biography Pirates IFC Films ABC ESPN HBO talk show christmas movies dceu reboot TBS golden globes finale blockbuster zero dark thirty Photos Grammys Superheroes renewed TV shows TCA Winter 2020 sitcom Star Trek SXSW facebook political drama Country Mudbound Kids & Family WGN Chernobyl Character Guide slashers documentary VICE Lifetime Christmas movies Infographic cops Awards ratings Holiday TV renewals Apple Podcast CBS movies Sci-Fi Amazon Sundance TCM Bravo movie Universal Martial Arts toy story technology Shudder sag awards CBS All Access diversity San Diego Comic-Con green book cancelled TV shows Premiere Dates television MCU Toys hist Election Reality Rom-Com Mary poppins Disney+ Disney Plus Rock HBO Max game of thrones American Society of Cinematographers adaptation PaleyFest cancelled television Freeform Action Spike indie ITV festivals Pride Month Black History Month FXX disaster Amazon Prime Video zombies casting CNN dogs