The first two entries in The Expendables franchise were over-the-top homages to 80’s action flicks. Do they work? It doesn’t matter — they don’t need to work in order to accomplish their mission, which is to provide mindless fun. This probably has a lot to do with the people who directed them — The Expendables was helmed and produced by Sylvester Stallone (whom I consider a wild card in the movie industry), whereas The Expendables 2 was championed by Simon West.
The latter found some box-office success with When a Stranger Calls and The Mechanic, but also directed last year’s Taken rip-off Stolen, a total flop. This time, however, we’re left scratching our heads as Australian director Patrick Hughes has been announced to direct The Expendables 3.
“Patrick who?” you may ask. Well, we know he directed Red Hill. That’s it, though. What’s Stallone thinking? Is it wise to put an unexperienced director in charge of a project this big? Not only are Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and even Jean-Claude Van Damme rumored to return, but Jackie Chan and Wesley Snipes have been mentioned as possible additions to the team. Is Hughes really the right man for the job?
Don’t get me wrong, Red Hill is a decent thriller that succeeds in generating genuine suspense, but that doesn’t mean Hughes shouldn’t be taking baby steps. I’m sure having that many stars on set must create some sort of tension (mostly due to egos colliding), and you need to be prepared to deal with that. Stallone recently stated on Twitter that he’s quite excited to meet and start working with Hughes, so he must really, really love Red Hill.
What do you think? Will Patrick Hughes deliver a fitting homage to old-school action movies with The Expendables 3, or is he in way over his head?