Expendables, The

Featured In Issue 152, December 2010

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Sylvester Stallone
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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Living life on the fringes of the law, a group of hardened mercenaries take on what appears to be a routine assignment: a covert, CIA-funded operation to infiltrate the South American country of Vilena and overthrow its ruthless dictator General Garza (Zayas). But when their job is revealed to be a suicide mission, the men are faced with a deadly choice, one that might redeem their souls...or destroy their brotherhood forever. They are "The Expendables," leader and mastermind Barney Ross (Stallone), former SAS blade expert Lee Christmas (Statham), hand-to-hand combat specialist Yin Yang (Li), long barrel weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Crews), demolitions expert Toll Road (Couture), and precision sniper Gunner Jensen (Lundgren). (Gary Reber)

Special features on Disc One include commentary with Sylvester Stallone, Bonus View "The Expendables: Ultimate Recon Mode," Comic-Con 2010 panel (HD 45:29), "Inferno: The Making Of The Expendables" (HD 91:42), "From The Ashes: Post Production Documentary" (HD 26:36), a gag reel (HD 05:03), a deleted scene (HD 0:45), the theatrical trailer, TV spots, a poster gallery, Metamenu, BD Touch, D-BOX Motion Code, and up-front previews. Disc Two is the DVD and Disc Three is a digital copy of the film.

The 1080p AVC picture is stylized with a gritty, raw appearance. Daylight scenes appear naturally balanced, though, overcast in weight. Interior scenes are generally dark and in numerous scenes extremely dark, which requires viewing in a darkened environment, preferably a black-out environment with controlled down lighting and a display device capable of excellent native contrast ratio performance. Blacks are deep and solid, though, at times appear crushed with poor detail and shadow delineation. The color palette exhibits muted colors, with few instances of rich vibrancy. One exception is the red accents on the soldiers' uniforms. Fleshtones are brownish hued throughout. All this appears to be intentional, to depict a rough-edged visual experience. Resolution is generally good, particularly during close-ups of facial features and object textures. The look and feel is appropriate for this gritty intense action story. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack is hard hitting and aggressively holosonic® sounding, with an almost constant surround presence that is directionalized. Bass extension in the .1 LFE channels is intense and often extends to below 25 Hz, heightened with effective D-BOX Motion Code movement. The overall sound is well founded in low frequency energy, and at times all eight channels are fully energized for dramatic impact. Dialogue is heavily dependent on ADR and is often difficult to understand amongst the other loud sound elements. Sound effects are often energized with tremendous transient impact and directionalized throughout the soundfield. The battle scene at the General's Palace is a tour de force! Every punch and gunshot or explosion is intense, backed up with D-BOX acceleration. The orchestral music score is powerfully dynamic and expansive, with an extremely immersive presence. The added two channels are positioned to the 90-degree side positions and optimized as to the recommendations preferred by Dolby® and DTS®, relative to the sweet spot listening position. The spatial soundfield result is impressive, far more dimensional and immersive than just reproducing the soundtrack on a 5.1-channel system. This is an intense, dynamically powerful soundtrack that perfectly complements the action adventure. (Gary Reber)