The Expendables 3 Blu-ray review
Sylvester Stallone. Jason Statham. Jet Li. Dolph Lundgren. Randy Couture. Terry Crews. Mickey Rourke. Steve Austin. Eric Roberts. That’s THE EXPENDABLES. Subtract Rourke, Austin and Roberts and add Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger and you have THE EXPENDABLES 2. Remove Norris, Van Damme, Willis and add to the mix Wesley Snipes, Kesley Grammer, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson and you have THE EXPENDABLES 3.
The movie opens with an elaborate action sequence that finds Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham), Gunnar (Lundgren) and Toll Road (Couture) arriving by helicopter and armed with some serious weaponry to free Expendables member Doctor Death (Snipes) from a heavily guarded prison train. There’s lots of grunting, gunplay and fisticuffs; it’s a fitting reintroduction to the purpose of the series.
Through their next mission, they encounter Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), an Expendable once thought dead. They’re informed by CIA operative Max Drummer (Ford) that Stonebanks is to be captured so he can be tried for war crimes.
And so the stage is set for the team to be assembled, punches to be thrown, cigars to be smoked, one-liners to be spat and the bad guys to get theirs before the end credits roll. And when it’s all over, the audience will be talking less about how “cool” it was and more about who will be cast in THE EXPENDABLES 4, which was confirmed months before the third installment even hit theaters (or was leaked).
The movie, which is directed by Patrick Hughes (taking over the role from Simon West, who himself took over duties from Stallone), tries to freshen up the series by introducing some younger faces (there’s Kellan Lutz, who played the title role in THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, who helps garner steam for the potential all-female EXPENDABELLES), but they know they’re only there to serve those with wrinkles. It seems a pointless addition, too, considering the series is, at its heart, about men refusing to believe it’s a young man’s game and that they’re a bunch of has-beens, as two separate characters point out.
This is more of the same and holds the point of the previous two entries: to remind audiences that Sly and company can still kick butt and flex their pecs. But the target audience likely won’t care that the movie is too long or that the action sequences aren’t quite on par with its predecessors; those that got their adrenaline running and testosterone boosted from 2010’s THE EXPENDABLES and 2012’s THE EXPENDABLES 2 will feel the same with THE EXPENDABLES 3, just like they’ll feel with THE EXPENDABLES 4 and THE EXPENDABLES 5 (yes, producer Avi Lerner has already confirmed). (There’s no sign of the series ending. As Barney puts it, “The only way this ends, for all of us, is a hole in the ground and no one giving a s***.”)
THE EXPENDABLES seemed like an opportunity when it was first conceived. Now, with three installments in just four years, it’s become a tired joke.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This high-definition transfer boasts an overall clean picture and strong details, textures and colors throughout.
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD Atmos; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English and Spanish. The audio puts surround sound speakers to work and brings more force to the action sequences.
Theatrical Version (126 minutes)
Unrated Edition (131 minutes)
THE EXPENDABLES 3 Documentary (51:56): This doc uses clips, on-set footage and interviews with the primary cast to offer fans an extensive look at the action sequences, locations, props, themes and much more.
New Blood: Stacked and Jacked (16:11): This featurette puts the spotlight on the new cast and the “fire in the gut” they brought to the movie.
The Total Action Package (6:40) looks at some of the action scenes and the cast.
Gag Reel (5:41)
Extended Scene: Christmas Runs the Gauntlet (2:46)