- Actor Allusion: multiple.
- "I am the Hague." sounds awfully familiar coming from Sly Stalone's mouth.
- When Toll asks Doc why he was caught after springing him from the train in the opening, the latter matter-of-factly replies, "Tax evasion". Wesley Snipes, who plays Doc, was found guilty and sentenced for the same thing in 2008, and spent more than two years in prison. The whole "Doc was in prison" thing might be a reference to Snipes's prison term in general.
- Stonebanks started out in the Australian special forces. Mel Gibson began his acting career in Australia. He also reverts to Martin Riggs during the final throwdown with Ross.
- Trench throws in one of Arnie's famous lines from Predator(After the dust settled from Drummer's clear-up of the roof...)Trench: Good morning... LET'S GET TO ZE CHOPPA!
- Arnold also says "I lied" to Sylvester Stallone's character.
- Drummer as a pilot who can do ridiculous maneuvers with a helicopter. Definitely one for Harrison Ford's role as Han Solo.
- Ford hiding in the back seat of a truck with FORD spelled out in big capital letters in front. Also the Gunship Rescue he pulls off in the final battle is no doubt a reference to Han Solo, complete with making his entrance by blowing up an enemy chopper. Ford is also a certified fixed-wing and helicopter pilot in real life.
- Barney picks Smilee for the team even though Smilee lost the cage fight. So did Rocky, way back when.
- When Billy runs straight up the mountainside the whole team looks on in awe, with Gunnar in particular being impressed. Lee asks Barney if he could remember when he could do that and Barney says he can't. Sylvester Stallone's most famous character has a penchant for running triumphantly up tall inclines and in one instance ran up a mountain as preparation for kicking Dolph Lundgren's ass.
- Galgo is a member of the Spanish Legion, which Antonio Banderas was made an honorary member of a year before the film's production. He also goes briefly Guns Akimbo, which Banderas had experience with in Desperado, while him hitting on Luna in a rather overblown fashion may remind some of Puss in Boots.
- Bonaparte's (Kelsey Grammer) favorite show is Cheers.
- Brian Tyler's score sounds a lot like the Rambo theme during the end credits.
- In one of Luna's first fights she gets a man in an arm bar and breaks his arm. This is pretty much Ronda Rousey's Finishing Move in her Real Life MMA career.
- When Bonaparte and Barney watch Thorn scaling a sheer cliff, Barney immediately remarks "I could do that."
- Content Leak: The full movie was leaked almost a month before release.
- Fatal Method Acting: Almost. While shooting the secene of the truck, brakes failed and the vehicle fell into the sea with Jason Statham inside. Luckily, Statham is a trained diver and managed to get out and reach the surface.
- Harpo Does Something Funny: Stallone told Antonio Banderas to "forget he was an actor" and expressly made him behave the craziest way possible. The results were awesome.
- I Knew It!: Let's see. In the film we get this new guy, who is full of energy and good spirit, and lastly mentions is planning on leaving after finishing the month. What fan of action movies didn't immediately guess he was going to be killed? Considering the audience these films are made for, that may have been the point.
- Old Shame: Stallone regretted making the film PG-13, believing it was "a horrible miscalculation", and assured it woul never happen again in the franchise.
- Playing Against Type:
- Reality Subtext:
Barney Ross: Why is it the ones who deserve to live, that want to live the most, die - and the ones that don't deserve to live, keep on going?
- Doc, much like his actor Wesley Snipes, is initially prevented from working with the Expendables due to a prison sentence.
- This is why Mel Gibson plays the villain of the third film. After a recording of an anti-semitic drunken rant of his became public and the resulting public backlash damaged his career, it made sense for him to play someone as loathsome as Stonebanks.
- Possible case in that Barney's speech following Billy's death could also apply to the death of Stallone's son in Real Life:
- What Could Have Been:
- Mickey Rourke was set to return as Tool, but scheduling problems made it impossible, so the character of Bonaparte was created to replace him. Nicolas Cage (who almost appeared in the second film) was considered for this role before it settled down in Kelsey Grammer.
- The character of Stonebanks was written for Mel Gibson, but he initially declined and the producers offered the role to Jack Nicholson. It was all scrapped when Gibson changed his mind and took it.
- A character originally created by Stallone for the second film and written for Charlie Sheen was slated to replace Church in this installment, but it was scrapped again from the script.
- Galgo could have been played by Danny Trejo.
- Steven Seagal was offered an appearance for the third time (he was also offered it in the first and second movies), but he refused again.
- Clint Eastwood, Jackie Chan (for a second time, as he was also in talks with the second film) and Milla Jovovich were considered for the movie.
- Bruce Willis was getting paid $3 million for three days worth of work on the film. Out of nowhere he demanded $4 million and Stallone refused to pay. Within 36 hours he reached out to Harrison Ford as a replacement and he immediately agreed to take the part.
Trivia / The Expendables 3