The Expendables 2 (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 47 Old 11-13-2012, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
87





Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Nan Yu
Directed by: Simon West
Music by: Brian Tyler
Written by: Sylvester Stallone & Richard Wenk
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 20, 2012







"Back for war"


Film Synopsis:

The Expendables are back in a sequel that Steve Weintraub of COLLIDER calls “bigger, badder and better than the first one!” The team signs on for a mission that looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But things go wrong fast and one of their own is killed by a psychotic terrorist for hire. Hell-bent on payback, they cut a swath of destruction through enemy territory and wreak havoc upon their opponents. In the midst of the mayhem, they must also shut down an unexpected threat to prevent five tons of weapons-grade plutonium from falling into the wrong hands.


My Take:

The Expendables are back and this time it's personal... Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) -- with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard -- are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viscously murdered in front of them, the Expendables are compelled to exact revenge.

Landing in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them they leave bodies piled high and uncover a deadly plot involving the sale of weapons-grade plutonium to an undisclosed buyer that could easily shift the balance of world power. But that is nothing compared to the justice they serve on the villainous adversary that killed their brother.

As it turns out they will have to rely on the help of a few “friends” to get the job done. The Expendables way that is…..

Let’s face The Expendables 2 like its predecessor isn’t high brow entertainment, nor is it meant to be. It’s intended to turn the genre on its ear via an overtly formulaic narrative that uses characters played by actors that defined action films back in the day. I think it succeeds and doesn’t necessarily require you to check your brain at the door. The reason is that the script contains well placed references and purposeful banter that if you’re paying attention add an air of wit that makes it all the better. The action is visceral and enhanced by solid production elements and a basic but effective screenplay.

The Expendables 2 accents the first film while adding a more satiric and ultimately entertaining flavor. It is part homage, part engine throttling and part statement piece in its formulaically efficient throwback to action “classics” of yesteryear. If you didn’t enjoy The Expendables chances are you won’t like this sequel but as someone who remembers this genre and its stars in their heyday I had a good time and enjoyed this a bit more than the original.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong bloody violence throughout.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699



Video: 82

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699


The Expendables 2 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.7 Mbps.

** I just added Oppo’s newest Blu-ray player, the BDP-103, to my reference review system and looked forward to putting it through the paces with The Expendables 2. **

This is a more or less stylized video presentation that makes use of darker color schemes and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers strive for to drive the story’s components. Its predominantly cooler chromatic aesthetic is broken up by splashes of primary colors, crimson, and warm golden accents. Bold use of contrast and rich blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with punchy whites and dark dynamic highlights. Shadow delineation is inconsistent but revealing of enough detail to provide perspective. Resolution is discerning, particularly in brightly lit sequences, as images are characterized by clearly rendered detail that provides a fair sense of dimension although the image never rises to razor sharpness or seemingly infinitely defined. Darker sequences aren’t rendered with the same level of clarity which isn’t helped by unevenly rendered grain that occasionally makes backgrounds appear noisy. I wouldn’t describe this as overtly distracting but it is worthy of note.

The Expendables is the first home video release to offer DTS Neo-X 11.1 sound. I am not set up for it so the DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix would have to suffice and it did so nicely. This soundtrack runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialogue to thunderously charged sequences that deliver opulent surround sound. Dialogue rendering is terrific as it holds sway over the front soundstage. Detail is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. Dynamics can be demonstrative as the active elements within the surround mix resound with superior authority and deep bass transients. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is appreciably involving. From the gentle sounds of blowing wind or reverberant echoes to the familiar and enveloping effects of gun battles, sounds are seamlessly blended to create a stable and detail rich sound field. This is a demonstration quality audio presentation that makes for an excellent home theater experience.


Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with director Simon West

  • (HD) Gods of war: Assembling Earth’s mightiest Anti-Heroes – 21 minute featurette

  • (HD) Big guns, bigger heroes: The 1980’s and the rise of the action film – 26 minute documentary

  • (HD) On the assault: The real life weaponry of The Expendables – 13 minute featurette

  • (HD) Guns for hire: The real Expendables – 24 minute documentary

  • (HD) 5 deleted scenes

  • (HD) Gag reel – 5 minutes

  • DTS-HD Master Audio sound checks in 5.1, 7.1, and 11.1

  • Digital Copy

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

The Expendables 2 like its predecessor isn’t high brow entertainment, nor is it meant to be. It is part homage, part engine throttling and part statement piece in its formulaically efficient throwback to action “classics” of yesteryear. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring satisfying but unremarkable high definition video, reference quality DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound and a complimentary assortment of bonus supplements. If you didn’t enjoy The Expendables chances are you won’t like this sequel but as someone who remembers this genre and its stars in their heyday I had a good time and enjoyed The Expendables 2 a bit more than the original. If you’re a fan this is worth picking up otherwise toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin on Blu-ray.





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






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post #2 of 47 Old 11-13-2012, 11:15 AM
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Really looking forward to getting this. Not only since I liked E1 so much but also because of DTS Neo-X 11.1!!! biggrin.gif

I'm only running a 9 channel setup but I'm eager to hear this in action. Thanks Ralph.

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post #3 of 47 Old 11-13-2012, 12:52 PM
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Renters Advisory...since this is LionsGate, those of us who choose to rent this film will probably only get a Dolby 5.1 audio track...no DTS, bo 7.1, and certainly no 11.1. Haven't seen the disc yet, so I hope that's wrong...but with the war that studios are waging on disc rentals, just don't get your hopes up.
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post #4 of 47 Old 11-13-2012, 01:29 PM
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Thanks Ralph.
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post #5 of 47 Old 11-13-2012, 01:51 PM
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This movie should be deleted from "Human History" as any evidence to it's existence makes humanity look ridiculously stupid. In other words, this movie is really, really, really baaaadd.
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post #6 of 47 Old 11-13-2012, 06:56 PM
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I was no big fan of the first one, but read the (somewhat) better reviews of this one and pre-ordered it.  Of course, the only reason I decided to buy was to try out the 11.1 audio and I know how the rental discs generally get crippled.  While I'm not really looking forward to the film, per se, I am looking forward to an authentic 11 channel soundtrack.  My HT is fully wired with 11.1 speakers and my Denon AVR-4520CI (with secondary amp) is 11.1 capable.  This ought to be good (I hope).  I look at it as an audio test disc more than anything.


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post #7 of 47 Old 11-13-2012, 10:08 PM
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I loved this movie a lot more then the first one cant wait to go out and buy it ^_^

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post #8 of 47 Old 11-14-2012, 04:26 AM
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Definite buy the first day, thanks Ralph.

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post #9 of 47 Old 11-14-2012, 07:49 AM
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The first one sucked big time but the second one is actually a fun movie to watch. Don't forget to park your brain at the gates, though.

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post #10 of 47 Old 11-14-2012, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flint350 View Post

I was no big fan of the first one, but read the (somewhat) better reviews of this one and pre-ordered it.  Of course, the only reason I decided to buy was to try out the 11.1 audio and I know how the rental discs generally get crippled.  While I'm not really looking forward to the film, per se, I am looking forward to an authentic 11 channel soundtrack.  My HT is fully wired with 11.1 speakers and my Denon AVR-4520CI (with secondary amp) is 11.1 capable.  This ought to be good (I hope).  I look at it as an audio test disc more than anything.

Hate to break it to you, but this isn't an authentic 11.1 soundtrack. There is no 11.1 discrete format available for Blu-ray. The channels are ambient matrix derived and not separate channels of information steered around the room. Even Dolby Atmos seems to be a kind of discrete/matrix hybrid. Seemingly, it has the base 7.1 discrete channel layout with additional post-processed overhead, front surround array, and behind the screen channels. Bass heavy surround channels would be low pass filtered to separate subwoofers in the back of the room. There are up to 64 speakers, but not 64 separate channels.

If 4k Blu-ray is given enough storage capacity, I could see how a lossless, 24 bit, fully discrete 11.2 channel format could be included. They could call it Dolby Atmos or DTS "Something-Something." But I would want the format's channels to be discrete rather than matrix derived.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #11 of 47 Old 11-14-2012, 08:39 AM
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Atmos is not matrixed. It's MDA-based discrete up to 64 channels with matrixed info to obtain 128 channels.

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post #12 of 47 Old 11-14-2012, 10:41 AM
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Excellent review Ralph. I pretty much totally agree with you. I enjoyed this movie a little more than the first movie, although I liked both. Whereas I might give the original Expendables a 3/5, I would give Expendables 2 a 3.25/5 rating. However, as with the vast majority of my Blu-ray purchases, I will wait for this one to drop to $10 to $15. I was able to get the Extended Director's Cut of the original Expendables on Blu-ray for $10 a couple of months ago or so.
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post #13 of 47 Old 11-14-2012, 01:14 PM
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I realize the disc is not 11 "discrete" channels with 7 being the current limit, but the disc is supposedly the first one "optimized" for 11 channels and includes a built-in audio test function based on that.  It would seem that there was more done to the audio track than just passing the standard 7.1 for the AVR to mix into 11.1, otherwise what's the point?  Maybe I'm wrong and this is just marketing, but it simply doesn't make much sense to send a normal 7.1 track that can already be matrixed by 11 channel AVR's and claim that this is new.  My expectation is that additional processing has been done to enhance the experience.  If I'm wrong, it's the last $$$ they will get from me based on deceptive marketing.


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post #14 of 47 Old 11-14-2012, 03:48 PM
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Thanks Ralph for another great review!
I enjoyed this at the theatre for what it is and look forward to adding it to my collection. The AQ should be great.
cheers
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post #15 of 47 Old 11-14-2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Susilo View Post

Atmos is not matrixed. It's MDA-based discrete up to 64 channels with matrixed info to obtain 128 channels.

It sounds like it can output to 64 speakers in a full Atmos auditorium.

However, unless their information is poorly written or described, it sounds like they have a discrete channel base that is currently compatible with 7.1 surround systems... then Atmos "steering" is layered on top of that.

Seems more like marketing speak for something akin to DTS Neo. or SRS psychoacoustic post processing, which is matrix extraction of sounds from a discrete mix. Matrixed audio... that dog don't hunt.

On top of their fuzzy description of how they accomplish Atmos mixing and processing, they also don't tell if Atmos contains bit-for-bit lossless audio and at what resolution.

If it's really 64 discrete channels of information... it doesn't matter to me if the audio is not master quality. 2 steps forward, 3 steps back, if that's the case.

And who the heck is going to put 64 speakers in their home and what consumer format is going to have the space for it??

Give me great stories rather than the latest technical mumbo-jumbo. The reason they resort to this is because Hollywood is fresh out of ideas. Can't get 'em with good movies, reel 'em in with wizz-bang stuff... 3D, 48 fps, etc. etc.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #16 of 47 Old 11-15-2012, 07:30 AM
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So with this 11 channel "optimization" work with those stuck with lowly 11 channel DSX arrays, lol?

Or is the encoding specific for the DTS flavor, which I would anticipate?

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post #17 of 47 Old 11-15-2012, 12:36 PM
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I think it should work with DSX and even DPL IIz (using the DD soundtrack if available). Afterall, it's only matrixed signal and not a truly "encoded" signal just like OCM 2,0 signal will also work with DTS NEO:X, DPL IIz and Audyssey DSX.

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post #18 of 47 Old 11-16-2012, 08:16 AM
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Cool, looking forward to this.

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post #19 of 47 Old 11-17-2012, 07:43 AM
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I went into the first movie with little expectations and actually enjoyed it. Going into the 2nd with little to no expectations. Basically take all the action stars of the 80's/90's (aside from Statham and Crews) get them together and you have Expendables II. Can't wait for the third one when the Rock and Jeremy Renner are added as bad guys.

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post #20 of 47 Old 11-17-2012, 09:40 PM
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I didn't like or buy the first one. This one was a lot of fun. The hysterical lines during the last battle were worth the price of a Blu-Ray. Chuck Norris looks pretty good for someone in his 70s. The Governator looks happy to be back on camera. The trailer for his new movie on the BD looks like more old dude fun. I only have two surround speakers. I don't have room or interest in 11.
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post #21 of 47 Old 11-19-2012, 08:06 AM
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Day 1 purchase!! The audio should be worth the price alone!
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post #22 of 47 Old 11-19-2012, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rach View Post

Day 1 purchase!! The audio should be worth the price alone!

Agreed! I got Expendables 1 the other day in the mail and tom have Expendables 2 hitting my doorstep. Just need to buy a 50oz steak and I will be ready for my double feature tom night.


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post #23 of 47 Old 11-19-2012, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

Todd and Rach, be sure to post back once you've seen it!

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post #24 of 47 Old 11-20-2012, 12:47 PM
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My missus would pay to watch Sly Stallone read his grocery list to meerkats, so I'm going to have to watch this whether I want to or not.

Ralph and I have similar tastes, so it's good to know it's not going to be a total slog. Like "Driven" (2001). OMG that was awful.

Guess I'll count my blessings that i managed to avoid seeing it at the cineplex.

Just keep talkin'. I'll let you know when you're right.
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post #25 of 47 Old 11-20-2012, 12:52 PM
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Actually, I too, would pay to watch Sly reading his grocery list to meerkats! That'll be hilarious!! And do that in 11.1 !!! tongue.gif

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post #26 of 47 Old 11-20-2012, 01:12 PM
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"Unsalted butter... Yogurt, the kind that makes you poop... Organic kale... YO! Timba! Rikki Tikki! You's two pay attention. I'm only gonna go through this once."
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post #27 of 47 Old 11-21-2012, 08:40 AM
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Netflix Rental movie only contains Dolby Digital mad.gif
I hate when studios discriminates like this. I understand excluding special features from rental but they should at minimum include HiRes aduio. Lions Gate really sucks.
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post #28 of 47 Old 11-21-2012, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,
Todd and Rach, be sure to post back once you've seen it!
Regards,


Success! biggrin.gif Had a blast (pun intended) watching these 2 films back to back last night. I just love Stallone movies.......Rambo, Rocky, etc......and the Ependables is no different for me. When the mood strikes, these type of films just satisfy as a great detour from reality. I loved all the little one liners thrown in here and there as well which made me smile.

Totally agree with you on the PQ Ralph as this was not exactly eye candy. There were a few scenes that were way out of focus as well which was interesting. Overall though it got the job done.

Audio was great on both films and both felt like the same animal sound wise which made going from 1 to 2 even more fun since there were no jarring inconsistencies (like going from Attack of the Clones to Revenge of the Sith!). Both films had great audio moments, but my overall favorite was the last 10-15 minutes of the last big action sequence in the first film. Explosion after explosion after explosion after explosion.........it almost becomes comical, but this whole sequence is great demo material and a lot of fun to sit through for audio lovers.

Only bad part was...........I did not get to the store to buy the steak and had to settle for oatmeal! eek.gif These movies deserve to be taken in with a steak, some beers, etc..........I failed here, but still had a blast. biggrin.gif

JVC 3D: Been there, done that, bought a DLP
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post #29 of 47 Old 11-21-2012, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Toe View Post

Success! biggrin.gif Had a blast (pun intended) watching these 2 films back to back last night. I just love Stallone movies.......Rambo, Rocky, etc......and the Ependables is no different for me. When the mood strikes, these type of films just satisfy as a great detour from reality. I loved all the little one liners thrown in here and there as well which made me smile.
Totally agree with you on the PQ Ralph as this was not exactly eye candy. There were a few scenes that were way out of focus as well which was interesting. Overall though it got the job done.
Audio was great on both films and both felt like the same animal sound wise which made going from 1 to 2 even more fun since there were no jarring inconsistencies (like going from Attack of the Clones to Revenge of the Sith!). Both films had great audio moments, but my overall favorite was the last 10-15 minutes of the last big action sequence in the first film. Explosion after explosion after explosion after explosion.........it almost becomes comical, but this whole sequence is great demo material and a lot of fun to sit through for audio lovers.
Only bad part was...........I did not get to the store to buy the steak and had to settle for oatmeal! eek.gif These movies deserve to be taken in with a steak, some beers, etc..........I failed here, but still had a blast. biggrin.gif

Greetings,

Great stuff Todd... smile.gif

Glad to hear it and Happy Thanksgiving!


Regards,

Ralph C. Potts
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post #30 of 47 Old 11-21-2012, 09:26 AM
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Gah.

Poor Auhnuld was there for the child support paycheck. His acting chops were never stellar, but he's sure rusty these days.

Those catchphrase shootouts were shameless.

Just keep talkin'. I'll let you know when you're right.
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