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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Expendables 2, The (Blu-ray) (2012)

Expendables 2, The (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 28-Dec-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Audio Commentary-Feature length by director Simon West
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Gods of War (21:18)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Big Guns, Bigger Heroes (24:58)
Featurette-On the Assault (13:36)
Featurette-Gun for Hire (24:18)
Deleted Scenes-Five short scenes (4:37)
Outtakes-Gag Reel (5:08)
Theatrical Trailer-Four at start-up of Other Roadshow titles
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 102:23
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Simon West

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Bruce Willis
Jason Statham
Bruce Willis
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Terry Crews
Jet Li
Randy Couture
Dolph Lundgren
Liam Hemsworth
Scott Adkins
Chuck Norris
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Brian Tyler

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Title at 13:53.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In 2010 The Expendables was released in cinemas to mixed reviews but considerable commercial success. It had been the brainchild of its writer, director and star Sylvester Stallone, an action loaded adventure designed to accommodate the personas and screen personalities of a group of actors who may have seen more illustrious days. Now, with the success of that initial venture, Stallone presents us with a sequel that is, while staying true to its comic book mentality, a more assured entertainment than its predecessor. Released by Roadshow in a Double Play package - there is a second Digital Copy disc - this over-the-top sequel has to be considered a considerable success.

     Once again we have an elite group of mercenaries, the scripted characters determined by whoever Stallone was able to commit to the film project. There are some familiar faces from the first film, and some welcome newcomers. The team consists of Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren and Liam Hemsworth, the newest recruit. This valiant band is under the command of CIA operative Mr Church (Bruce Willis) who sends technical expert Maggie Chan (Yu Nan) to assist in their venture to retrieve an object from a downed plane in Albania. After successfully obtaining the object the team is ambushed by baddies led by Jean-Claude Van Damme, ably assisted by henchman Scott Adkins. One of Stallone's team is killed rather ingeniously by Van Damme and revenge becomes the team's driving motivation. Somewhere along the way we encounter Chuck Norris in what is nothing more than a joke cameo, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, in an expanded turn as Trench, his character from the first film. So, the screen is throbbing with testosterone and bulging, if aging, muscles. Interestingly no rippled pecs are revealed during the entire film. I guess that the younger torsos, particularly the formidable chests of Statham and Hemsworth, weren't permitted to shine in the presence of older, somewhat deteriorated musculature.

     This film basically delivers what it promises. This is a "guy" movie if ever there was one. Toys for the boys, hefty action, with little talk but loads of explosions and foot-and-fisticuffs. There is action almost without end, if by action you mean people throwing themselves around on the screen. As bullets whizz, mortars whoosh and bombs detonate, cartoon red blood splatters from wounds. Amongst the vintage stars, the one who looks most comfortable amidst all this mayhem is Van Damme, still slender and lithe, kick-boxing with apparent ease and grace. The team of heroic mercenaries consists of basically one dimensional characters, opposed by Van Damme who steals his scenes in a very enjoyable villainous turn. It is a shame that the movie is so stolid. There is little humour, apart from monstrously obvious one-liners and references to films from the past of the more famous stars. The quite large female role could have provided the writer and actress with opportunities for some comedic observations on the aging warriors she was working with, but the script does nothing and Yu Nan does little more than recite her dreary dialogue. That dialogue is generally less than inspired in composition and delivery, but mercifully there is little of it. Director Simon West (The Mechanic) keeps the many action sequences lively and entertaining with more dependence on sheer human force than computer generated wonders, and this benefits things enormously. There is nothing unduly imaginative here, but the action is swift and cohesive as captured by the camerawork of Shelly Johnson, who brought such excitement to his filming of Captain America : The First Avenger. These strong visuals are supported by the music of Brian Tyler, who also composed for The Expendables. In the few heavier moments as well as the pure action pieces there is strong reinforcement from the dramatic and frequently nostalgic score. This nostalgic element is continued in the use of popular songs from the likes of The Young Rascals, Rare Earth and, someone's brother, Frank Stallone.

     There is a basic straightforward honesty and directness to this movie. You get what you pay for. Established - or somewhat faded - stars doing what you expect of them, with assist from a couple of fresher faces. No nonsense, no time wasted, just good old fashioned shoot 'em up. Primarily filmed in Bulgaria, the movie is visually arresting, while the soundtrack is stunning. The extras are aimed squarely at the target audience, and, like the film, find their mark. It is interesting to speculate as to who might be approached to do The Expendables 3 - which is suggested in this film's close and confirmed in the interviews in the featurettes. Van Damme once played twins, so maybe we could see him return as a good twin - or better still to see him again as a villain. He is the best thing in this film, but the rest of it is pretty good as well.

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Transfer Quality


     While this will not be a disc to put on to impress guests, we do get a handsome, faithful reproduction of the cinema experience.

     The aspect ratio is 2.40:1 giving us the full theatrical image, and the director and his cinematographer create some mighty impressive widescreen vistas.

     After one rather jarring early scene with excessive grain, the image is basically very sharp. In close-ups the craggy visages of the older stars are sharply revealed. There is a softness to some of the mid-range shots, but things never become murky. While blacks may not be the most solid, there is no bleeding of shadow detail. Colours are strong, with the outdoor jungle scenes vivid and striking. There are on the other hand some sequences which are toned down for dramatic effect, basically emphasising browns and earthy colours. Skin tones are generally very good.

     The transfer is artefact free.

     The excellent subtitles use a variety of colours to distinguish between descriptive titles and different speakers of dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     It is in the audio department that this disc really shines. Sadly my system is not capable of anything bigger and better than 5.1, and this disc is the very first that is optimized for 11.1 Neo X Playback. Nevertheless, what I did hear was mighty impressive.

     Dialogue is the least of this movie’s concerns, but what there is is delivered front and centre with crystal clarity - even amidst ear shattering aural mayhem. There were no sync problems, though there were a couple of instances of obvious post-dubbing.

     This soundtrack is basically ON from the start. The complete sound field is filled with bullets whizzing, mortars whooshing and bombs detonating. Planes and tanks pan across the front and roar into, or out of, the rears. To put the finishing touches to one of the most sustained dynamic soundtracks is the thumping bass. The extensive LFX track truly shakes the floor and rattles the ceiling. As if this wasn't enough, the dynamic score also gets pumped strongly from the entire complement of speakers.

     This is a soundtrack that will really test, and show off, your system.

     The Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired is delivered by the usual male voice, and he is kept very, very busy describing the generally frantic action on screen. It's pretty entertaining to listen to.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Over ninety minutes of extremely worthwhile extras make this release of added interest to fans of the film and/or its stars. The featurettes are of a very high standard.


     The menu is surprisingly simple. The still of the eleven male stars used on the slick is featured - obviously the female star is genuinely expendable - with animated flames and the theme from the film, repeating eight bars for seven-and-a-half minutes.

Digital Copy

     There is a second digital copy disc.

Start-Up Trailers (8:19)

     Four theatrical trailers are presented in high definition. These are : Looper presented 2.40:1; End of Watch presented 1.85:1; Lawless and The Courier both presented at 2.40:1.

Audio Commentary

     This feature length commentary with director Simon Ward is a rather dry collection of anecdotes. It would have been nice to have had a bit of enthusiasm shown by the director for his work. It is OK, but not one of the better commentaries.


     All of the featurettes are presented in high definition 1080p and with Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded audio. All interview and behind the scenes footage is at 1.85:1 with film excerpts at 2.40:1. The quality is excellent.

Gods of War : Assembling Earth's Mightiest Anti-Heroes (21:18)

     This rather interesting featurette in which a couple of the producers, director Simon West, a few of the stars, but principally Stallone, look at the logistics of filming and the prospects for a third film in the franchise. Stallone is shown to be very honest in his assessment of the first film. Very well worth seeing.

Big Guns, Bigger Heroes : The 1980's and the Rise of the Action Film (24:58)

     This featurette should not be missed. We get a fascinating look at the phenomenon of the rise of the action movie during the '80s, and the stars who came from those movies. The society and politics of the time are explored - Vietnam, the various presidents, women's liberation, the beginnings of the fascination with body sculpting. This is maybe the best featurette I have seen on any disc.

On the Assault : The Real Life Weaponry of the Expendables 2 (13:36)

     Here we get a featurette designed for the gun enthusiast. (I find the use of the word "enthusiast" rather frightening, particularly in light of recent shootings in the U.S.) Actor Randy Couture guides us around a Las Vegas gun store.

Guns for Hire : The Real Expendables (24:18)

     This is a look at the real-life private security people and actual mercenaries.

Deleted Scenes (4:37)

     Presented in quality on a par with the film - 2.40:1 ratio and 1080/24p - we have five short scenes. The longest , at just over two minutes, is actually a sequence of scenes on the team's plane.

Gag Reel (5:08)

     Again presented 2.40:1 and 1080/24p, we get the expected bag of rather humourless goofs.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The local release misses out on Spanish Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish Subtitles only.


     This is a superior action film. Well directed, expertly photographed, and non-stop action from an all-star cast - or very close to. You might wish for a touch of wit rather than the obvious one-liners, but then again maybe you won't have time to make any judgements. The soundtrack is explosive, literally and figuratively, while the outstanding documentaries are a definite plus. This one delivers value. Big stars, big action, big sound and big documentaries.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, February 25, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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