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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.
The Expendables 2 (2012)

The Expendables 2 (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-Director Simon West
Featurette-Gods of War: Assembling Earth's Mightest Anti-heroes
Featurette-Big Guns, Bigger Heroes
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes-Gag Reel
Trailer-x 4 for other films
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 98:13
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Simon West

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Jason Statham
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jet Li
Dolph Lundgren
Chuck Norris
Case ?
RPI ? Music Brian Tyler

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     The boys are back, bigger, bolder, meaner, louder and older than before: Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunnar (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Yin Yang (Jet Li) are The Expendables, although in this second film, The Expendables 2, Jet Li is not in the picture after the pre-credit sequence and the team is joined by young sniper Billy (Liam Hemsworth).

     This time the team are blackmailed by Church (Bruce Willis) to fly into Albania to retrieve the contents of a safe from a downed aircraft, taking along electronics expert Maggie (Yu Nan) to open the safe. The team is successful but are ambushed by a group led by Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) who take the safe contents and kill a member of The Expendables. It seems that the safe contained a computer disc that showed the location in a cave of 5 tons of plutonium which Vilain intends to uncover and sell on the black market. Barney and the team are not going to let that happen and during the rest of the film The Expendables, aided along the way by Church, Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Booker (Chuck Norris) mow down Vilain’s men in a variety of loud and explosive action sequences. However, there is never any doubt as to who will win!

     For the second The Expendables , Stallone handed over the directing duties to Simon West, although retaining writing and starring roles. West has some decent action credentials, commencing with Con Air (1997), and here he keeps the action charging along during the relatively short running time (the actual film, excluding the interminable credit sequence runs 88:47), which is just as well because outside of the action the attempts at conversation or backstory are stilted and unconvincing, while the “romance” between Sylvester Stallone and Yu Nan lacks spark and believability, which is not unexpected given the thirty two years difference in their ages.

     However, The Expendables 2 is really immune to criticism, because the audience knows exactly what they are going to get; action stars from the 1980s strutting their stuff, with loud action, loud gunfire and explosions, the bad guys being mowed down in droves, and wise cracks. Some of the wise cracks are wry and funny, such as the quip that they all belong in a museum, others, such as the Arnie and Bruce banter about “I’ll be back” and “yippee-ki-yay” lines is just too much of a wink to the audience and feels very staged.

     The locally released Blu-ray of The Expendables 2 has already been reviewed on this site and you can catch GaryA’s review here. I was not as enamoured of The Expendables 2 as Gary, as I would have preferred a few less self-referential winks to the audience and a bit more plot, but I agree that Jean-Claude Van Damme is great and the best thing in the picture. He still has some great kicking moves, despite his age, and is suitably menacing. The Expendables 3 has already been announced with a new director in Patrick Hughes. I guess all the aging actors need to cash in while they are still standing!

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Transfer Quality


     The Expendables 2 is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the original ratio being 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     In his review of the Blu-ray Gary remarked on one bit of excessive grain; unfortunately the DVD is perhaps the most grainy/ noisy print I have seen for a recent big budget film. Most of the interior scenes, and not a few of the exteriors evince this: see 4:09 or 16:45 for only a couple of examples. On other occasions the print can be very sharp, with good definition of faces in close-up although backgrounds are frequently indistinct. Blacks are good and colours are OK, brightness and contract consistent while skin tones often look quite pale.

     The print is without marks as should be expected from a recent film, although there is also occasional blur with motion, such as the plane against the water at 10:05.

     There are white English subtitles for the hearing impaired, and white subtitles come on automatically to translate some of the non-English dialogue.

    The layer change was well placed at 50:25 during a scene change.

     While a lot of the print looks good, there is far more digital noise reduction / grain than should be evident in a modern, big budget film.

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


     Audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track at the lower 384 Kbps. There is also a descriptive audio for the vision impaired and an audio commentary, both Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kbps.

     Dialogue is mostly clear although some of the stars mumble. This is a very loud, enveloping audio track, with music and effects constantly in the surrounds. We get engines, gunshots, ricochets, crashing furniture and debris in the surrounds, while the sub-woofer boomed in to support the aircraft crash, explosions, the rock fall and the music.

     The original music by Brian Tyler was bombastic and martial, thus perfectly suiting the film. It was augmented by other music from very diverse artists including Dion, Little Richard, Felix Cavaliere and Ennio Morricone. It was a lot of fun, but did often seem to be very loud in the mix, especially in some action scenes when it dominated the gunshots and effects.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The audio was loud and enveloping, suiting the tone of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     A very good, interesting set of extras, including all but the two featurettes “The Real Life Weaponry of the Expendables” and “The Real Expendables” that were available on the locally released Blu-ray.

     The following trailers play on start-up: Looper (1:37), End of Watch (2:16), Lawless (2:20) and The Courier (1:48).

Audio Commentary Director Simon West

     Simon West chats about what is on screen but adds comments about stunts, gadgets and the scheduling issues he faced by having some of the actors for only 4 days. He is reasonably entertaining, and the best bit was about how the climax of the movie changed radically because of an endangered species of bats! I have listened to far worse commentaries, and this one did hold my interest.

Gods of War: Assembling Earth's Mightiest Anti-Heroes (20:26)

     Basically a “Making of”. Stallone is the main man, speaking about the differences between the two The Expendables films, intentions for this film, the decision to hire a director and scheduling issues with so many stars in the film. Quite a bit of film footage, plus added comments from the producers, the director and a few of the stars. Fairly lightweight.

Big Guns, Bigger Heroes : The 1980's and the Rise of the Action Film (23:57)

     A great featurette. It looks at the low point in American culture in the 70s, with the failure in Vietnam, economic hardship, the feminist movement, etc., when the very masculinity of the American male was under question. With the election of Reagan and the 80s, a new confidence started to manifest itself, which was reflected in Hollywood with the rise of the action hero, a resourceful, alpha male who could win! The influence of films such as First Blood, 48 Hours , The Terminator and Commando and action stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are covered, before moving to Chuck Norris and the later action films, such as Die Hard and Bruce Willis, the everyman action hero. A fascinating feature and a wonderful companion to The Expendables 2 .

Deleted Scenes (4:26)

     Five deleted scenes without any narration or commentary. Production quality so cut later; none seem essential.

Gag Reel (4:56)

     Mistakes, outtakes and stuff-ups, some quite amusing.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region 2 UKDVD release of The Expendables 2 includes the “The Real Life Weaponry of the Expendables” featurette our DVD misses out on but does not have the better “The 1980's and the Rise of the Action Film” we get. It is a bit hard getting details of the Region 1 DVD as most reviews are of the Blu-ray. I suspect that our release is as good as any.


     The audience for The Expendables 2 knows exactly what they are going to get; action stars from the 1980s strutting their stuff although I would have preferred a few less self-referential winks to the audience.

     The video has some problems, the audio is very good. The extras are excellent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE