The Expendables 3 (Blu-ray)

December 15, 2014 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

The third time certainly wasn’t the charm for Sly and his pals. It’s no secret that the expendables 3 suffered from a massive piracy leak shortly before the film was released to theaters. Some have blamed its smaller box office returns on this. Another factor might be the fact that the watered down PG-13 rating kept audiences away. That’s certainly a theory. Here’s my theory: the movie simply sucks! Ok, so that’s. It exactly an elaborate, complex thought, but nothing about this film works in any sense. As mentioned, the rating seems to contradict the whole idea of these types of films; as throwbacks to the more violent R rated films of the 80’s and 90’s. To strip it of the maximum intensity certainly isn’t a smart move. I’m not saying  a PG-13 rating means a movie of this sort can’t be good, but one can’t help but fight the frustrating feeling of going against your target audience. Most teens have probably never seen many of the films that Stallone and the gang used to churn out effortlessly. So why bother trying to market to them? I was a bit let down by the first expendables outing as I felt it was a great idea, but very poorly executed. The second film greatly improved by handing the directing rights to Simon West (Con Air). He really mastered the tone, and that film benefited from a first rate villain from Van Damme. That’s one of the biggest let downs of this third entry. Mel Gibson is wasted here. Just like his turn in last year’s Machete Kills, he’s given so little to do here.

Gibson plays Stonebanks, he’s an arms dealer who has a personal vendetta against Barney (Stallone) and his team. This time, there really aren’t many expendables left, and a lot of time is devoted to a younger crew. There’s an early scene where Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes) is extracted from prison. There’s a not-so-subtle joke about him being in trouble with the IRS (which actually happened to Snipes). But his character also feels rather wasted. A few of the familiar faces also show up and Antonio Banderas tries hard in a supporting role, but again, his character makes such a little impression that it doesn’t matter. The moment that Stonebanks decides to start working with a younger, newer crew is when the film really takes a wrong turn. What exactly was the objective there? We aren’t watching these films for unknown actors. Part of the fun is having stars like Stallone and Gibson doing their thing. The bloodless action sequences don’t help matters much, and the plot is boring more than anything else.

I’m glad to see action films making a comeback, and I’ve enjoyed many of the more recent ones such as Escape Plan and The Last Stand, but this film strongly misses the mark. Overall, the second film has been the most enjoyable. While this certainly left a bad taste in my mouth, I would like to see this end this series on a high note. While that doesn’t seem likely at this point, you never know. If another expendables film is done then they need to go back to the basics and focus on the characters that we want to see. Maybe Stallone should just start a new series of action films and leave well enough alone. As it stands, the film is a massive disappoint and should be avoided at all costs. Don’t waste your time. Skip it.

Video: How’s it look?

We’ve got good news and bad news. Now the “good” is that the 2.40:1 AVC HD image is among the best I’ve seen in a live action film. Everything about this transfer resonates with everything we’ve come to associate with a flawless image. It’ll look amazing on your screen. Colors are bold and brash, detail is second to none and there’s hardly anything I can find to nitpick here. It’s really that good-looking. Now the bad…um…how do I say this…these guys are old! As good as the transfer looks, it also showcases every scar, wrinkle and everything else. Yeah, in their prime they were nice to look at, but seriously – Stallone looks more like a waxy version of his former self. I won’t get into the other actors’ but let’s just say that you might want to watch the Blu-ray if you’re not that fond of skin!

Audio: How’s it sound?

I’m sure there are others, but the only other title that comes to mind is Transformers: Age of Extinction that features a Dolby Atmos track. I don’t have the capability to review an Atmos track (most don’t yet), so it does default to a very robust Dolby TrueHD mix. Like the video presentation, there’s really nothing I can find fault with here. This is a “guy” movie in every sense of the word, things blow up, bullets whiz by utilizing each and every speaker and the LFE are working overtime. Suffice it to say that if you were looking for something to shake the room – this is it.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Theatrical and Extended Cut
  • New Blood: Stacked and Jacked – The ever-growing cast of these Expendables movies needs a bit of attention and the “new blood” in this film are given their due attention.
  • The Total Action Package – Nothing too intricate here, just a look at some of the set design as well as a few comments from the crew.
  • The Expendables 3 Documentary – The most robust supplement clocks in at just under an hour. It’s a good piece with plenty of input from the expansive cast, but they really don’t offer up a lot of input. It’s probably everything we need to know about the film – it’s up to you if that’s a good or bad thing.
  • Gag Reel
  • Extended Scene – “Christmas Runs the Gauntlet”
  • DVD/Digital HD Copy

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