Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray Combo Pack & DVD November 25th
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes 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.
Everybody’s favorite group of action superstars is back for a third round of nonstop action fueled insanity in ‘The Expendables 3’ which is arriving home in a new UNRATED cut featuring approximately five minutes of newly included footage. This time around, on a seemingly standard mission, Barney discovers that one of the other founding members of the Expendables, Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson) whom he believed to have killed himself is in fact still alive and now a full blown war criminal. After one of his team is intentionally put in the hospital barely holding onto his life by Stonebanks and knowing the threat the man represents, Barney chooses to dump his old team for the sake of their own safety and build a new, younger and more agile team to combat this deadly threat in any way possible.
Once again, ‘The Expendables 3’ has a new director at the helm, following Stallone himself and Simon West who directed the first and second respectively, relative newcomer Patrick Hughes takes the director’s chair for the third entry and he does quite an impressive job with this surely complicated task in his sophomore effort as a film director. The third entry includes the a large number of returning cast as we’ve come to expect, including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li (but in an unfortunately very minor role this time), Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and a number more, along with some new faces such as Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Kelsey Grammer, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, and many more, including Antonio Banderas who pretty much steals the show in a surprisingly hilarious performance. There is definitely no shortage of superstar cast this time around, the series once again if anything upping the ante on both the heroes and the action.
‘The Expendables 3’ is nonstop action-fueled insanity and fun, boosted by a plethora of superstar talent and fans of the franchise should have a lot of fun with this entry which even with the initial disappointment of a PG-13 rating when released, I found to be one of the best entries in the series yet. Even with the lack of any significant blood and an R rating, it surprisingly still manages to deliver more frenetic action and intensity than either of the first two by far. The UNRATED version of the film included on the Blu-Ray release doesn’t include much more in the way of blood, but (while I can’t be certain) it felt as if a number of the violent sequences (particularly those involving knife play) had a few more frames included wherein the Theatrical version seemed to cut out a tad more abruptly. The UNRATED cut also includes a couple more F bombs, putting the tally at a total 3 for this version as opposed to the 1 in the Theatrical Cut for those who are curious regarding the language differences in the two versions.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘The Expendables 3’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic; it’s sharp and smooth with impressive attention to detail and no notable faults that could be found within on my end. Not even the numerous frenetic action sequences and fast moving scenes provide any noticeable issues such as pixilation and the entirety of the presentation holds up admirably. This high definition video presentation gets top marks and it should definitely please the fans and leave the rest of the masses quite satisfied as well.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel Dolby Atmos Mix/Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. While I unfortunately am not able to upgrade to the Dolby Atmos surround setup just yet, I therefore viewed it with the 7.1 Dolby TrueHD. That being said, this Dolby TrueHD track is absolutely breathtaking and hits hard throughout the majority of the film, frequently hitting as high as the 7-8 MB/s bitrate range in the louder moments (which I’m sure you know or can at least imagine are quite frequent in this picture) and certainly left me while a grin plastered on my face for the majority of the runtime. During the numerous action sequences there are effects including (but certainly not limited to) helicopter’s surrounding the viewer, along with bullets and debris whizzing by in every available channel, fully utilizing all 7.1 of them and I can only imagine how insane this film would sound with the Dolby Atmos sound option utilized. This lossless soundtrack gets top marks and is without question the most impressive aspect of this already overall very solid Blu-Ray release.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘The Expendables 3’ includes some informative and fun bonus content fans of the franchise will surely enjoy. The Blu-Ray release includes ‘The Expendables 3 Documentary’ which provides a detailed 50 minute Behind the Scenes look at creating the film. Also included are two shorter featurette’s titled: ‘New Blood: Stacked and Jacked’ and ‘The Total Action Package’ both of which explore crucial elements of the movie. A ‘Gag Reel’ and an Extended Scene titled ‘Christmas Runs the Gauntlet’ are included as well. There’s definitely a nice collection of bonus content here to take fans of the franchise much deeper into the making of the film.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.