on 16 October 2014
THE EXPENDABLES [Uncut Version]  [Blu-ray] The Most Awesome Action Cast Ever Assembled! An Absolute Blast!
In this uncut version of the smash hit action blockbuster ‘THE EXPENDABLES.’ Sylvester Stallone stars as Barney Ross, leader of The Expendables, a tight-knit team of skilled combat vets turned mercenaries. Hired by a powerful covert operator, the team jets off to a small South American country to overthrow a ruthless dictator.
Once there, they find themselves caught in a deadly web of deceit and betrayal. Using every weapon at their disposal, they set out to save the innocent and punish the guilty in this blistering action-packed thriller.
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, David Zayas, Giselle Itié, Charisma Carpenter, Gary Daniels, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Hank Amos, Amin Joseph, Senyo Amoaku, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Sassa Nacimento, R.A. Rondell, Tze Yep, Precious Jenkins, Ronn Surels, Lauren Jones, Jose L. Vasquez, Daniel Arrias, Javier Lambert, Tatsu Carvalho, Marcio Rosario, Paulo Bastos, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, John Baran (uncredited), Joshua Cardenez (uncredited), Rod Carvalho (uncredited), Gino Galento (uncredited), Gideon Hodge (uncredited), Topher Jones (uncredited), Cody Juneau (uncredited), Shadoe Knight (uncredited), Ace LeBleu (uncredited) and Aaron Saxton (uncredited)
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Producers: Avi Lerner, Basil Iwanyk, Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Eda Kowan, Edu Sallouti, Guymon Casady, Ivan Teixeira, J. Celeste Salzer, Jason Constantine, John Thompson, Jon Feltheimer, Kevin King Templeton, Les Weldon, Matthew O'Toole, Robert Earl and Trevor Short
Screenplay: David Callaham and Sylvester Stallone
Composer: Brian Tyler
Cinematography: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English and English SDH
Running Time: 103 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Jean-Claude Van Damme? Steven Seagal? They’re conspicuous by their absence in ‘THE EXPENDABLES,’ Sylvester Stallone’s game reunion of meathead action icons. On the other hand we get heavy lifting from Jason Statham, a far more charismatic star than the Steven Seagal ever was, and the most likeable presence in the film. But he, Sylvester Stallone and third-billed Jet Li belong to entirely different traditions of bone-crunching thuggery.
Let’s face it; the film we wanted was a gang’s-all-here nostalgia trip for various crumbling relics of the video age. Swedish beefcake Dolph Lundgren tags along, but not for long; Sylvester Stalone’s “Planet Hollywood” co-founders Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger agree to a cameo scene trading insults in a church.
Sylvester Stallone’s Peckinpah-ish gang of motley mercenaries are tasked to take down a South American dictator, General Gaza [David Zayas], on the made-up island of Vilena. He has an obligatory beautiful daughter [Giselle Itie] and a shady ally in the shape of a rogue ex-CIA man [Eric Roberts]. Everything that made Eric Roberts an unbearable leading man through much of the Eighties qualifies him as a spiffing baddie.
There are enough good moments to fend off disaster. Jason Statham popping out of a propeller plane’s nose to strafe a bunch of goons on a jetty gives you the ridiculous kick that’s been missing from too many of the summer’s noisome blockbusters. Sylvester Stallone’s avoidance of CGI overkill is certainly a mercy at least until he goes explosion-crazy. But it’s Mickey Rourke, sitting out the action in a tattoo parlour, who gives the movie its only injection of soul, in a monologue that pays off like a depth charge, leaving you wondering, in all sorts of ways, what might have been.
‘THE EXPENDABLES’ is the name given in this film to the scarred clutch of weathered mercenaries who are led, written and directed by the inimitable Sylvester Stallone. Among the oldies alongside Stallone are Dolph Lundgren the granite-jawed blond from Rocky IV, Bruce Willis, and Mickey Rourke. Even Arnie Schwarzenegger appears for a cameo and a spot of appallingly clunky verbal sparring with Sylvester Stallone.
As a faithful devotee of the action genre, he wants to give it to the audience straight, without too many devilish computer tricks. I craved rather more of Mickey Rourke, the group’s co-ordinator who first appears like some lunatic, tattooed shaman with a cheerfully plastic blonde dangling from the back of his motorbike but he is kept away from the meat of the action, as though his flamboyance might prove too great a distraction.
The film’s plot is just enough to pin a string of battles on: at the behest of a CIA front-man [Bruce Willis], the Expendables are dispatched to overturn the rotten government of a tin-pot state called Vilena, where a suavely evil American drugs baron, James Munroe [Eric Roberts] is bullying a weak general [David Zayas] into enacting various forms of oppression. The General’s daughter [Giselle Itié] is spiritedly leading the opposition, and it falls to Sly and his men to save her from rape, torture and murder.
You can tell ' THE EXPENDABLES' was a labour of love for Sylvester Stallone from the beginning to very end credits. And getting this Blu-ray and watching all of the special features, that I realised just how much passion Sylvester Stallone put into this film and I think he has done a fantastic job and is an all action packed film from start to finish. I also was so surprised with the extras, how intelligent and articulate Sylvester Stallone I wish when he acts in films would speak as clear in the extras. So overall this is a brilliant action-packed film that kept me entertained the whole 103 minutes.
Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘THE EXPENDABLES’ blasts its way onto Blu-ray with a very sharp looking encoded transfer in 1080p and 2.40:1. Stallone stages a lot of this film in a cool, blue-tinged darkness, and that icy black look is incredibly well detailed, proving this disc's exceptional contrast and remarkable black levels. When Giselle Itié is being held in a cell which has virtually no light, the outlines of her jet black hair can still be plainly seen against the overall shadows of the interior. In fact fine detail is exceptional throughout this enterprise. While some cynics may argue that the lack of skin pores and waxy complexions may hint at DNR [Digital Noise Reduction], those with any knowledge of contemporary cosmetic techniques will only see the prevalence of botox. Close-ups in fact reveal a wealth of detail, not all of it flattering. What has happened to the left side of Sylvester Stallone's face, for example? Jet Li's pockmarks are also very visible. Colours are nicely robust, though somewhat muted in the darker scenes. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – If you're looking for a circa 2010 reference quality audio mix, look no further than ‘THE EXPENDABLES.’ To say this 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is aggressive is a little like saying this film has a bit of testosterone going for it, it is, in other words, a major understatement. From the first rumbles of the Expendables' motorcycles, you know you're in for a sonic thumping, with some extraordinary surround sounds. This is easily one of the most robust tracks in recent memory and certainly is one of the most ear pummelling sonic journeys in recent action film history. Discrete effects are brilliantly strewn across the sound field, whether it is the silvery flash of a blade cutting through the air, or the gut churning "whomp" of a bazooka firing into a crowd. The final segment, which builds to an almost incredible level of sonic activity, is simply a riot of folly effects, with explosions, gunfire, collapsing buildings and thudding bodies cascading over each other in incredible surround activity. For the one or two seconds of quiet dialogue in this film, the DTS-HD track is also spot on, providing exceptional fidelity and nice separation.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with Sylvester Stallone: Sylvester Stallone is alone on the commentary, but there's something about the guy that keeps you listening all the way until the end. You wouldn't think it by looking at him, but the man is one of the most thoughtful directors I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. He delves deep into not only how he made the film, but why. He talks about his motivations, what it's like working with certain actors. He shares how he likes to direct because he's been on both sides of the camera and he knows how actors want to be treated. He dives into a world of psychology here with his characters and describes what really motivates them and pushes them to be who they are. This commentary is a must listen. Sylvester Stallone knows what he's talking about, and takes great pride in what he's made.
Special Feature: ‘THE EXPENDABLES’ [Ultimate Region Mode in-movie Bonus View] [1080p] This is a picture-in-picture option that plays along with the movie. It offers behind-the-scenes views of the sets that they used in each scene. It shows the crew at work creating the scene that you're seeing. Stallone's commentary is spliced in at certain segments and used to supplement the experience. There are also points where members of the crew show up and the movie shrinks into a little window as the crew member talks about certain subjects. The first of these is when one of the producer’s shows up and describes the time and effort that went into the shoot in New Orleans when Statham goes to his girlfriend's house.
Special Feature: From the Ashes: Postproduction [1080p] [26:00] This short follows Sylvester Stallone through the editing, sound mixing, and test screening stages of the film making process. We see that Stallone doesn’t greatly interfere in other people’s departments and that people are allowed to do the jobs they are being paid to do. We get to see him working with the sound mixers and doing some post-synching with Jason Statham, providing notes where necessary. I was as impressed as the people who worked with him. At the test screenings, he actually read every feedback card from the audience.
Special Feature: Gag Reel [1080p] [5:03] Line flubs, and miscues. This is your standard gag reel. Most of the actors are already laughing and we don't know why. A few funny parts, but nothing you haven't seen a million times before. There’s a funny one where Sylvester Stalone falls over, the rest are pretty dull.
Deleted Scene [1080p] [1:00] Just only one deleted scene here. It's more of an extended scene that was cut out at the beginning during the pirate scene. Dolph Lundgren tells a really bad, and mostly incomprehensible joke. I'm sure it was cut because of those two reasons.
Promo Gallery [1080p] You have a theatrical trailer, a couple of TV spots and a poster gallery are hidden away in here.
MetaMenu: This allows you to download an app called MetaBeam for your mobile device that gives you access to some of the extras above and more.
BD Touch: This is another app that you can download and install on your mobile device in order to take advantage of the enhanced features on the disc, such as controlling playback of the disc and allowing access to downloadable goodies.
Bookmarks: With bookmarking you can mark favourite scenes or places in a disc to quickly find them again. More sophisticated DVD players let you bookmark several discs, and will remember your bookmarks even when the disc is removed. Many new Blu-ray models lack this feature.
Sneak Preview: ‘Drive Angry’ 3D Trailer
Finally, I love Sylvester Stallone as a director. He's dedicated to his craft, and becomes deeply immersed in whatever project he's working on. While ' THE EXPENDABLES' didn't feel exactly like a return to the old action films we used to love, it was definitely something we haven't seen for a while. I love it for all its cheesy macho testosterone madness, and for all its familiar action faces. The 1080p video image, for the most part, is totally incredible, and the audio is going to rumble your house into oblivion. On top of all that, there was some time and care put into these special features. This film is an unapologetic testosterone-fest, and as such it provides plenty of explosions, gunfights, hand to hand combat but perhaps surprisingly few nubile young women. Oh, well, you can't have everything. The cast here is game and is obviously in on the joke. If the film tries too hard to make it all have "meaning," thankfully it's not too long before something else blows up. This Blu-ray offers a substantial supplementary package, great visuals and a truly astounding sound mix. Stirring stuff from Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s over the top, but who cares; this is just perfect viewing after a curry and a few beers. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom