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After such an impressive start to this trilogy – Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills goes out with a bit of a whimper instead of a bang.

Neeson said he would only come back for one more film – after the lacklustre sequel – if ‘there was a great story worth telling’, but sadly their wasn’t as the third film is as generic as they come.

It isn’t by any means a truly awful film, but lacks complete ingenuity by offering action stereotypes that were maybe fresh in the likes of Bad Boys twenty years ago, but – pretty much like its lead star – need to be put out to pasture.

There’s no doubting the likeability of Neeson’s Mills after the film’s impressive opening weekend both sides of the pond, but producers decided to sanitise the violence that made the original so kick-assingly memorable by making it more family friendly (from a 15 to a 12A, or R to PG-13 in the States), thus making some of the killing ‘implied’ more than experienced.

Expendables 3 suffered from making this very similar censored move last summer.

At least this time there hasn’t been anyone ‘taken’ as Mills is framed for the murder of his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) – which would be a spoiler if this wasn’t widely known via the trailer – and has to clear his name with the help of his ex-CIA colleagues and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), especially with LAPD inspector Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) on his tail.

Throw in Lenore’s mysteriously predictable partner Stuart (M:I-II’s Dougray Scott) and a group of Russian gangsters – led by ex-KGB agent Malakov (Sam Spruell) – and you’ve got, well, erm, a plot that has been done one way or another, a dozen times before.

As usual the amiable Neeson keeps it the right side of watchable, and it probably is marginally better than the second film (which isn’t saying much), but let’s hope Neeson doesn’t come back for another major paycheck – or Mills’ legacy could be well and truly ruined.

The director is the brilliantly named Olivier Megaton, but he directs this tepid action story with the finesse of a mega-bomb.

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Gavin Miller

Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Forest Whitaker, Dougray Scott, Leland Orser, Sam Spruell, Don Harvey & Famke Janssen

Running Time: 1 Hr 49 Mins

Director: Olivier Megaton [youtube id=”JuU0M2xBasc” width=”600″ height=”350″]


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