The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
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
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.
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.
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.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
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.
- 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
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.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package