When the Lionsgate roars, the government listens
The Expendables 3 Lawsuit and Leak Probe
For those of you who are unaware, The Expendables 3 was leaked online through BitTorrent sites nearly three weeks ago. Movies often leak online, but this piracy is a big deal for two reasons. First off, it leaked before the movie hit theaters weeks before its scheduled premiere of August 15. And secondly, the quality of the leak is extremely high. The earliest pirated versions of on file-sharing sites are usually cam recorder copies, recorded via compact recording devices smuggled into showings, then uploaded online. The Expendables 3 copy, however, seems to ripped from a DVD screener, a format usually produced for the media and used for reviews ahead of the official theatrical release.
The Lions Gate Film Inc. has filed a lawsuit against BitTorrent protocol sites that leaked online an advance copy of The Expendables 3. In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Lions Gate named file-sharing sites Limetorrents.com, Billionuploads.com, Hulkfile.eu, Played.to, Swantshare.com and Dotsemper.com, and seeks a temporary restraining order and injunctions that prohibit the anonymous operators of the sites from hosting, linking to, distributing, reproducing, performing, selling or making available copies of the film. The movie has already been downloaded more than a million times, according to the Hollywood Reporter. You can read the complaint here.
Since the lawsuit was filed, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement has launched an investigation under its National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Coordination Center division, which investigates illegally distributed copyrighted materials, including media content. They will be seeking to identify the owners of the aforementioned file-sharing sites and seizing their IPs, along with arresting the individuals involved in the illegal distribution of the copyrighted material.
As of Wednesday, August 6, the court has granted a motion for expedited discovery to Lionsgate to root out the defendants’ identities and locations, allowing the studio to serve subpoenas “on the third parties whom Lionsgate has identified as likely to be providing services to the defendants who operate” the websites that allegedly leaked the film. Those third parties include CloudFlare, Inc., Incapsula, Inc., Google, GoDaddy.com and Domains by Proxy LLC.
Expendables 3 review
The film opens with Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and team [Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture)] rescuing — in true “Expendable” fashion — an old team member named Doc (Wesley Snipes) from an armored train that is transporting him to Denzali Prison for the purpose of aiding Ross and company in completing a CIA contract mission in Mogadishu, Somalia. What was supposed to be a simple capture and extraction of an arms dealer named Victor Minz, turns into a disaster. Victor Minz is actually Conrad Stonebank (Mel Gibson), co-founder of The Expendables, who has a vendetta against Ross and gives him a taste of his revenge by shooting Caeser, nearly killing him, before escaping.
Ross’s guilt of the near loss of his friend brings upon what might be called a mid-life mercenary crisis, and he disbands the Expendables team for what he perceives as their own good. But he is not about to let Stonebank get away with what he has done and CIA Operations Officer Max Drummer (Harrison Ford) won’t let Ross off the hook for his failed mission, so Ross goes out and recruits individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy, with the help of Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammar). This new band of misfits [Mars (Victor Oritz), Smilee (Kellan Lutz), Thorn (Glen Powell) and Luna (Rhonda Rousey)] is eager to make some money and over confident on how easily it should be to capture the target.
As one would expect their attempt at securing Stonebank fails with even greater disaster, with Stonebank turning the table on them. Now Ross must save his new team mates by turning himself over or they will be killed. Of course, Ross is not going to turn himself over and heads out on a rescue mission with his old team and new member Galgo (Antonio Banderas), and aided by Drummer, Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Ying Yang (Jet Li). That’s all I’m going to tell you, you’ll need to go see it for yourself, and here’s why…
With Church (Bruce Willis) being “Out of the picture,” as one character tells Ross, we get CIA Operations Officer Drummer replacing him. Though Ford’s role is not big, he does make you quickly forget Willis. So why was Willis not in the film, you might ask? Simply, Willis wrote himself out of the franchise when he demanded a million dollars a day for shooting. I guess he forgot the films weren’t about making the big bucks, but actually about making an entertaining film. No cast member in any of the three films have ever been paid a high salary.
I never felt the dynamic of Willis with the rest of the cast was that great, anyways. However, with new (older aged) characters Doc and Galgo, you can tell that Snipes and Banderas, respectively, had a good repertoire with original cast members. The interactions were genuine and entertaining. As for the new younger age cast, though the dynamics were not has good between their elders and themselves, it was not terrible, and surprisingly Ronda Rousey who has never done a film before was the best of the lot. The reason for this it not necessarily the lack of actor ability, but rather within the script. The dialog wasn’t has snappy and camaraderie filled as that of the other cast members, most likely purposely written that way for the reason to give the sense they are outsiders not only within their own group — having never worked with one another before Ross put them together — but also from the original team. I am also sentimental about the original cast, and am happy to see Jet and Arnold in the film, though their appearance is brief.
The Expendables 3 does not lack in entertainment value. The explosions are way bigger than either of the first two. Director Patrick Hughes has ramped up the action and suspense, adding Mel Gibson as the antagonist with a score to settle. Gibson seems to relish and delight in the role of Stonebank, giving us a deliciously evil character that is appealing and far more dimensional than his Machete Kills character (another evil arms dealer).
Wesley Snipes plays Doc, and he too seems to be enjoying himself, even poking fun at his past IRS troubles. In an all too short appearance, Kelsey Grammar plays the ex-mercenary who helps Ross put together a new team. His performance is solid and enjoyable, and I wish they would have utilized him more.
If you like your action fast, furious and full of explosions without a complicated plot, The Expendables 3 is a fun and entertaining ride. One that needs the big screen theatrical experience to thoroughly enjoy.
The Expendables 3
Directed by Patrick Hughes
Written by Sylvester Stallone (screenplay), Creighton Rothenberger (screenplay) + 3 others
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kelsey Grammer, Glen Powell, Antonio Banderas, Victor Ortiz, Ronda Rousey, Kellan Lutz and Jet Li
Run Time: 126 minutes
Release Date: Theatrical Release Aug. 15, 2014