Check out our review of the latest edition of the popular franchise as the new mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise when The Expendables find themselves in their most personal battle yet.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
LionsGate - 2014
Feature running time:
English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
English, English SDH, Spanish
Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Harrison Ford, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammar, Mel Gibson, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Robert Davi
Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt
Blu-ray Disc release Date:
November 25, 2014
"New team. New attitude. New mission…"
Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team come face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill... or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables -- but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables' most personal battle yet.
The Expendables 3
, boasts the biggest ensemble yet and features an all-star cast of iconic action veterans and new recruits including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules, The Twilight Saga franchise), Ronda Rousey (UFC Champion, Fast & Furious 7), Glen Powell (The Dark Knight Rises), Victor Ortiz (WBC World Welterweight Champion), Robert Davi (Die Hard, The Goonies), with Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and Arnold “Get to za chopper” Schwarzenegger.
Let’s face it The Expendables 3
like its predecessors 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.
I am most decidedly a fan if these films and thoroughly enjoy the action, satirical spin and assemblage of talent both old school and in this case new. In terms of its narrative The Expendables 3
brings nothing new to the franchise but if you’re fan, who cares? As with previous installments 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 and The Expendables 2
chances are you won’t like this sequel but as someone who remembers the inception of this genre and its stars in their heyday I had a good time and enjoyed The Expendables 3
as much as its predecessor.
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)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element):
The Expendables 3 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and Dolby Atmos sound that includes the 7.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless core which has an average bitrate of 5.5 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
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. Fleshtones fall in line with the color grading and have a bronzy tonality that can appear a bit unnatural at times but isn’t distracting. 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 very good which draws out plenty of detail in low lighting and dark backgrounds. 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 infinite levels of depth. Overall the quality of the video is high and shows no signs of degrading artifacts or extraneous noise.
The Expendables 3
includes a Dolby Atmos
soundtrack which is exciting news for enthusiasts that have already updated their home theaters to incorporate the new Dolby Atmos technology for the home environment. Unfortunately my system has not yet been upgraded for Atmos playback although I do plan on doing so soon (I am planning on upgrading to the Marantz AV8802). For now all I can attest to is the lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel core which played back without a hiccup.
Action films like this depend heavily on their soundtracks to enhance the source material and Lionsgate’s active TrueHD mix gets it right. This is a captivating surround sound mix that features an immersive array of well-placed sound effects that at times prove very involving. Right from the opening sequence it was clear that this was going to be a fun home theater ride. The film essentially has three large action set pieces, the first of which begins with a shot of a train as seen from beneath the tracks as it passes over the camera and through the room from back to front. This is followed by an action sequence that involves a helicopter pursuing the train accompanied by plenty of gunfire and room traversing effects. The middle sequence which is in chapter 4 is a large chase that culminates with a big boom that is sure to get the attention of bassheads. The film’s showpiece occurs in the finale during chapter 14 which is extended assault on a large building. There is lots of small arms fire, tank guns and swirling helicopters.
As I watched I found myself appreciating the attention to detail that went into creating the surround mix as it effectively replicates the environments featured in the film. Near field sounds are accurately placed within the sound field which gives them multi-dimensional perspective that places you right in the middle of the action. The entire room becomes illuminated with an array of sounds that are both directional and ambient in nature. Low frequencies are rich, and room pressurizing as they accentuate the audio’s excellent dynamic range with thunderous impact and occasional sub bass depth. Dialogue intelligibility is never a problem even during the film’s active moments. This is a great surround sound presentation that makes for an entertaining home theater experience.
This sounded terrific on my 9.2 channel system. I eagerly await the opportunity to experience it in Dolby Atmos
. I suspect that it will shoot to the top of the favorite’s lists of those currently set up with and enjoying Dolby Atmos
in their home theaters.
* Keep an eye out for future coverage from AVS on this DOLBY ATMOS soundtrack.*
The Expendables 3
- Theatrical and Unrated version of The Expendables 3
- (HD) The Expendables 3 Documentary – 52 minutes
- (HD) New Blood: Stacked and Jacked - 16 minute featurette
- (HD) The Total Action Package – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) Gag reel – 5 minutes
- (HD) “Christmas runs the gauntlet” extended scene
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
like its predecessors isn’t high-brow entertainment, but it’s a formulaically efficient and entertaining homage to action “classics” of yesteryear. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition video, room shaking lossless surround sound, and a worthwhile supplemental package. Home theater enthusiasts that have been waiting for Dolby Atmos
to makes its debut on Blu-ray can take solace in knowing that the wait is over. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to audition it but if the core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel track is any indication we should all be in for a treat.
If you didn’t enjoy The Expendables or The Expendables 2
chances are you won’t like this sequel but as a fan I had a good time and enjoyed The Expendables 3
as much as the last installment in the series. If you’re on the fence give it a rent but for those that are looking for a great way to show off their home theater’s audio chops The Expendables 3
on Blu-ray deserves a place in your collection.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
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
SVS 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