Sylvester Stallone and his franchise for ageing action stars is back! Yes, the gang has nearly doubled for the latest Expendables adventure, stirring in big-named oldies along with fresh blood. The plot may not make any sense, and this one's been chopped down to a PG-13, but with a cast this beefy, you don't want to miss it.

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Stallone returns as star and cowriter, along with previous cohorts Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture and Terry Crews. The notable no-show this time is Bruce Willis, who is rumoured to have asked for $1 million per day to return, apparently prompting Stallone to tweet, "Greedy and lazy ...... a sure formula for career failure."

More: read our review of The Expendables 3

More than making up for his absence are new heavy hitters Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas and Kelsey Grammer, plus a quartet of youngsters: beefy actors Kellan Lutz and Glen Powell, mixed martial arts champion Ronda Rousey and boxing champ Victor Ortiz.

Banderas is under no illusions about his role in the team. "I brought comedy," he says. "I talked to Sly in the beginning, and the character was designed in such a way that it allowed him to do that. So I started playing with that and this guy became kind of a compulsive talker - a weapon of mass destruction ... of talking! So when I saw my fellow actors start groaning, I thought, 'Yes, I have it!' They just wanted to strangle me, basically, in every scene."

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Lutz sees his character John as a connection between the Expendables past and future. "You never really see the young Barney," he says, refrerring to Stallone's character, "and there's an essence of who John is and how he becomes, through the journey of the script through potentially 4, 5, 6 through to 10, the new Barney."

Looking ahead, production is slated to begin on the female-led spin-off The Expendabelles early next year, with stars like Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton atop the wish list. And for a fourth Expendables, Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan have both said they'd love to join the gang.

Check out this Expendables 3 featurette