Expendables, The (Blu-ray Review)12 Nov, 2010 By: John Latchem
Box Office $103.1 million
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language.
Stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Charisma Carpenter, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke.
There are action movies, and then there is The Expendables, a testosterone-fueled orgy of bullets and mayhem.
In Sylvester Stallone’s all-star actioner, a team of mercenaries invades a Latin-American island country in the Gulf of Mexico to rescue a puppet dictator’s daughter, who is being held captive by a former CIA bigwig (Eric Roberts) who is calling the shots. Think of it as the A-Team on steroids.
Along the way we get several intriguing one-on-one match-ups of action stars. There are two fights between Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren, plus a climactic battle between MMA superstar Randy Couture and pro-wrestling legend Stone Cold Steve Austin. Then there’s the fun cameo summit between Stallone, Bruce Willis (as a CIA boss who wants to hire the team) and Arnold Schwarzenegger, possibly preparing to ease back into acting now that his stint as California governor is coming to a close.
As we see in an excellent behind-the-scenes documentary on the Blu-ray, Stallone literally beat himself up to make this ultimate guy movie. At an hour-and-a-half, Inferno: The Making of The Expendables is a raw and personal glimpse into Sly’s filmmaking process, dissecting several of his injuries, including those sustained in his notorious fight scene with Austin. By the end of the film Stallone had thrashed his ankle, separated his shoulder and required surgery to repair a bruised spinal cord. (The DVD contains a 15-minute version of this documentary.)
A half-hour featurette about the post-production process takes viewers through the editing, scoring and promotion of the film. To round out the extras, the Blu-ray includes the film’s entire 45-minute panel from the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International.
The disc also contains another enjoyable Stallone commentary, in which Sly toes the line between an actor having fun and a serious director imparting his wisdom on the audience. This notion is taken a step further on the Blu-ray’s “Recon” mode, a picture-in-picture commentary with Stallone.