The Expendables 3

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Expendables 3 Movie Poster Image
Action less gory but still constant in overcooked sequel.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 126 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Teamwork is a big deal here, and one character even remarks that her teammates are her "family." But otherwise there's a lot of senseless violence with no consequences. The main character decides to retire his team and recruit newer, younger members for a dangerous mission that could be suicide, which doesn't always feel right.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Unless you count the idea of physical role models inspiring kids to get into shape or learn martial arts, self-defense, or even climbing, these characters aren't particularly worthy of emulation. They work together well, but their achievements basically consist of violence with no repercussions.


Far less blood and gore than the first two installments, but there's still wall-to-wall shooting (with everything from small pistols to huge automatic weapons), fighting, stabbing, chases, and explosions. Blood is mainly shown in the form of injuries, such as a slight bloody lip. One of the heroes is shot and seriously wounded and must be sent to the hospital.


One of the characters is a female mixed martial arts fighter, and she's briefly shown in revealing outfits. Brief moments of innuendo.


"F--k" is used once. "S--t" is used a few times. Other words used at least once include "p---y," "bitch," "son of a bitch," "damn," "bastard," "ass," "a--hole," "c--ksucker," "balls," "goddamn," "hell," and "idiot."


Quick glimpse of the HP logo on a laptop.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In the previous films, Dolph Lundgren's character was shown to have an addiction problem. When he gets "fired," he's shown drinking from a flask a few times, indicating that he might be falling off the wagon. A character is shown drinking a beer at home. Characters celebrate with shots in a bar. Some characters smoke cigars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Expendables 3 is the third movie in Sylvester Stallone's over-the-top action franchise. The first two were full of bloody, gory violence; while this one still has wall-to-wall shooting, stabbing, fighting, chasing, and explosions, it feels more cartoonish and is far less gruesome (hence the switch to PG-13 from the earlier installments' R). Language is still strong, with one "f--k," plus "s--t," "a--hole," "p---y," and others. In the other movies, one character was shown to be a drug addict and an alcoholic; this time around, he's shown drinking from a flask in one or two brief scenes, as if falling off the wagon. Characters drink socially in other scenes, and some smoke cigars. There's brief innuendo, some of it centered around mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey, who's sometimes shown in revealing outfits. Teen fans of the first two films will want to see this one for sure, but beware of a distinct drop in quality.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFireFire April 7, 2015

The Expendables 3

Okay, there is some language but the blood and gore is nothing worse than 007, They don't go to the floor as soon as there shot they wobble and it's n... Continue reading
Adult Written byEric A. November 29, 2014
Teen, 13 years old Written byBillb0 June 29, 2017

Low Octane

Theatrical Version: Ages 13+
Suggested Rating: PG-13 for Intense Sequences of Violence, Action, and Gunplay Throughout, and for Some Strong Language
Unrated Ed... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old May 15, 2015

Very violent action/adventure movie is far less gory than the first 2.

My rating R for: strong violence, nudity, language, and some drug use.

What's the story?

After rescuing an old team member, "Doc" (Wesley Snipes), the Expendables -- led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) -- proceed to tackle a new mission. Unfortunately, not only do they fail, but also they learn that an old foe, Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), is still alive. When a team member is shot, Barney decides to disband the group and recruit some new, younger members to go after Stonebanks. But when that mission fails, too, it's up to the original team, as well as some other adventurous outsiders, to charge to the rescue. Can the new and old Expendables work together well enough to survive?

Is it any good?

This sequel unfortunately moves back in the wrong direction. Based on pure nostalgia, with a nod to teamwork and not much else, Stallone's The Expendables (2010) was a junky-looking downer, but it was a huge hit. The Expendables 2 (2012) was somehow a marked improvement, with better action and more downtime between characters ... but it was less of a hit.

The violence may be less gruesome in this installment, but it's also jagged, jarring, and disorienting. The sheer number of characters doesn't help; in certain scenes, there are half a dozen things going on. With action taking up the bulk of the movie, character interactions feel abbreviated and truncated. With a couple of fleeting exceptions, characters don't really get a chance to do or say much. Certainly Stallone and Statham's chummy banter has diminished. Perhaps worse, the entire idea of recruiting "kids" to protect the older teammates feels wrong. The future of action looks pretty... inactive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Expendables 3's violence. How did it affect you? What impact did it have? How does it compare to the type/scale of violence in the first two films? Why do you think they changed it this time around?

  • Many of the characters in the film smoke and drink. How does this make them look? Do they seem cool? Do you think that was the intent?

  • What's the appeal of these action heroes, whose careers range over several decades? How do they compare with the younger characters in the movie?

  • Is Luna a female role model? Does she present an unrealistic body image? Do the male characters present an unrealistic body image for boys?

  • What did Barney learn over the course of the movie? Did any of the other Expendables share his journey? Are they heroes? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and adventure

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