HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Expendables
HTS Overall Score:81
I was slightly surprised when last years 4K edition of "The Expendables 3" wasn't accompanied by the release of the first 2. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for the previous two to make their way to 4K UHD as well, or maybe even a trilogy set, but for some reason Lionsgate decided to wait on these two and instead put them out over a year later. "The Expendables III" suffered from a very nasty looking 4K UHD encode as well as being the worst of the series so I was DEFINITELY hoping that there would be some more TLC given to these two, and I was right. They seem to be a bit better looking AND have an upgrade to Dolby Atmos as well.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=5145[/img]Dale Rasco wrote up his review of the film HERE so you can read his thoughts on the actual film itself, but I have to say that I was a little more lukewarm about "The Expendables" than Dale. Not by much though, thus I put it at a 3.5/5 vs. his 4/5 rating.
Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=5146[/img]"The Expendables" had a fairly decent transfer for 2010, but it had some issues with black crush and being a VERY VERY dark movie most of the time. Stallone used lots of cool blues and dark shadows in the movie, but there was still a startling amount of detail to be seen. The 4K UHD shows some very nice upgrades, but also a propensity to be a bit soft and not be AS nice of an upgrade as I would have liked. Part of that is due to the 2K to 4K upconverting that was done, and also due to the fact that "The Expendables" was a movie that was REALLY stupid dark to begin with. textural details show a little uptick in quality once Stallone and crew invade the underground grotto, and the explosions and cheap CGI effects show up a little brighter with the HDR effects (in the case of the CGI it was a little TOO revealing, and I still don't know why Stallone went with the horrible CGI that looked like SyFy movie rather than using squibs and the like). Shadows still show some crush, but there is more fine detailing than ever before and overall it's still a pretty decent looking transfer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=5143[/img]Boom goes the dynamite! (and just about everything else in the movie to). The Blu-ray sported a VERY nice sounding 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that was in your face aggressive and one of the better audio tracks of 2010 for an action movie. The increase in channels to Dolby Atmos is worth the upgrade and the use of overheads and surround usage is definitely the better off for it. Vocals are still loud and well placed, while the surrounds "feel" different than the 7.1 track. the directionality and placement of the surround sounds is different with the object based track and the overheads blend in seamlessly with the rest of them. The helicopter overhead near the end makes great use of those overheads, and the LFE is still top notch. Gun shots sound like howitzers and explosions will shake your foundations with power. Again, like the second film, the highlight of the package is the Atmos mix and for very good reason. It's killer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=5142[/img]• Audio Commentary
• Inferno: The Making of 'The Expendables'
• From the Ashes: Postproduction
• Comic-Con 2010 Panel
• Deleted Scene
• Gag Reel
• Marketing Archive
• Ultimate Recon: An Interactive Bonus View
"The Expendables" was a fun throwback to the 80s era of action movies in theory, but Stallone got too wrapped up in modern shaky cam/quick cut edits that he lost a lot of the appeal of those 80s films, where you could actually SEE what was going on. The same went for his casting choices. He got some great choices with himself, Arnold's cameo, Bruce Willis and his cameo, as well as Eric Roberts (anyone remember "The Best of the Best") and Dolph Lundgren, but he had to supplement with younger and more modern choices like Statham, Crews, and a few others to flesh out the cast which meant his entire premise of "aging legends" was a bit of a let down. Still, the movie itself was a blast to watch and it brought everything to the table. Guns, knives, meaty muscle sacks yelling one liners and good old fashioned explosions. In that it was a solid success and it laid the groundwork from the MUCH better "The Expendables 2". What you're really wondering about though, is the movie worth upgrading to 4K from our cheap 1080p version? Well, that's a tough question. The video is a bit better than the Blu-ray, but not a whole lot, the Audio is really where it's at though with a nice Atmos upgrade. The real kicker was that this does not include the extended director's cut, but that may be only a point of contention for some people, as I found the director's cut only SLIGHTLY better than the theatrical cut. Even watching both versions back to back I still don't know what version I prefer. However, if you're looking for the Atmos audio and a semi decent upgrade in video quality, then this IS the best version to get.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Eric Roberts, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone
Written by: Dave Callaham, Sylvester Stallone
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Spanish DD 5.1, English 2.0 DD (optimized for night listening)
Runtime: 103 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Buy The Expendables On 4k Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Watch
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