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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

The Expendables [Blu-ray]

 

(Sylvester Stallone, 2010)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Millennium Films

Video: LionsGate

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:43:28.243

Disc Size: 49,601,945,490 bytes

Feature Size: 23,888,504,832 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.66 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: November 23rd, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 5750 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 5750 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
* Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
* Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

DISC 1
• Ultimate Recon Mode: An Interactive BonusView™ Viewing Experience - Blu-ray exclusive seamlessly branched with the film (2:00:57)
• Audio Commentary with Sylvester Stallone
• "Inferno: The Making of The Expendables" Documentary (Blu- ray exclusive) - 1:31:41
• "From the Ashes: Postproduction and Release" Documentary (Blu-ray exclusive) - 26:35
• Comic-Con 2010 Panel (Blu-ray exclusive - 45:29)
• Deleted Scene (0:45)
• Gag Reel (5:03)
• Marketing Archive (Trailer, TV Spot. Poster Gallery)
• BD Touch™ and Metamenu™ Remote Enabled for iPhoneŽ/iPodŽ/iPadŽ Interactivity
• D-Box Motion Control Enabled
• Lionsgate Live™ BD-Live menu system lets you access exclusive content, special offers, ringtones and more!

DISC 2
• DVD Version of the Feature Film

DISC 3
• Digital Copy Version of the Feature Film

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: 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.

 

 

The Film:

Mr. Stallone plays a fellow called Barney Ross — probably not his real name — who is the chief executive of a band of tattooed, motorcycle-riding mercenaries known as the Expendables. They have done, one gathers, some nasty stuff in their day, though usually for a decent or at least defensible cause.

We first meet them as they mow down a pack of hostage-taking Somali pirates in a scene that sets a high standard for gore and noise — one that will quickly be surpassed. It also acquaints us with the leathery, thick-tongued humor that is one of the film’s signatures, as the fellows kid one another about who has the biggest gun or the fastest knife. And, most important, this prelude to the main action introduces an all-star line-up of action heroes, some in their prime, some up-and-coming, some (like Mr. Stallone) on the grizzled side.

Remember Ivan Drago, the terrible Russian who nearly killed Rocky Balboa in “Rocky IV”? That was Dolph Lundgren, who is now working none too happily for Rocky (that is, Barney), along with Jet Li, Jason Statham, Terry Crews and the extreme fighter Randy Couture. That’s the most dry-aged beef you’re likely to see outside of a Chicago steakhouse, and there’s more.

As a prelude to the main adventure, Barney will have a brief parley with a pair of anonymous chaps played by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (he is teased about his weight and his political ambitions), who withdraw without throwing a punch or firing a gun. Mr. Willis floats an intriguing sexual proposition that the other two appear, for a moment, to consider in earnest. The slugging and shooting, in any case, is work for Stallone and the other actors: Mr. Statham will slug in the face a bad guy played by Steve Austin while that guy is in flames, and Mr. Crews will blow up a helicopter by hurling an artillery shell at it with his bare hands.

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

It's hard to find fault with the Blu-ray appearance of The Expendables - it supports the intended thicker, heavy theatrical look.  Grain is there - maybe a little chunkier than I would have expected but it adds some nice texture. Detail is adept when called upon but there isn't an abundance of dimensionality. Black levels are rich. Skin tones aren't overly warm. Daylight scenes are more impressive and I would expect that it advances beyond the simultaneously released DVD edition in notable areas of detail, colors (although the film is fairly dark without a lot of vibrant hues) and texture. Even the fast-cut action sequences are visually impressive.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is flawless with a very strong DTS-HD Master 7.1 at 5750 kbps. There is plenty of activity for the rear speakers - even the Tattoo needle buzzing - to get involved and Brian Tyler's score is drenched in exclamatory bass response and drama. I expect this sounds about as good as this film can - there isn't a lot of high-end crispness but that is typical of this genre - it's the explosions that count. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc although it is also available in region 'B' (via UK and France) a couple of weeks later than this US/Canada release date.

 

Extras :

Supplements are, predictably, extensive starting with a 2-hour Ultimate Recon Mode Interactive BonusView feature that is seamlessly branched with the film. It has Stallone commenting on production - slightly different than a commentary as he we can see him in the spare window and the effects can be directly related to. There is also the straight audio commentary with the likable Sylvester Stallone - then over 3 hours of video extras from the 1.5 hour "Inferno: The Making of The Expendables" documentary to the 26-minute "From the Ashes: Postproduction and Release" featurette. Not enough? There is the Comic-Con 2010 Panel promotion, a lone deleted scene, a 5-minute 'Gag Reel', marketing archive extras featuring a Trailer, TV Spot. and poster gallery. Then comes the bevy of Blu-ray bells and whistles like BD Touch™ and Metamenu™ Remote Enabled for iPhoneŽ/iPodŽ/iPadŽ Interactivity, D-Box Motion Control Enabled, Lionsgate Live™ BD-Live menu system lets you access exclusive content, special offers, ringtones etc. There are two other disc sin the package - a DVD version of the feature, and a Digital Copy of The Expendables.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I guess I was sold by the trailer and marketing. That - and I have a soft spot for Stallone. It doesn't reach my expectations (what the hell was I expecting anyway? - well, maybe Rourke, Arnold and Bruce Willis more directly in the fray) but I'll bet fans of the stacked bevy of action stars involved will get exactly what they were looking for. There is plenty of violence, not the most solid storyline - but details are of a lesser concern in these extravaganzas. Does this entertain? - Yea, sure - I guess it does if you are in the mood. I have no complaints with the Blu-ray which gives as dynamic and expressive a presentation as you are likely to find outside the theater. The extras will keep the most loyal follower tied up for hours. I can't deny it is an impressive package and interesting to see. You could do a lot worse than giving this a spin one night...  

Gary Tooze

November 20th, 2010

 

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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