The Expendables 2 appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film came with a surprisingly dull image.
Sharpness generally worked acceptably well, though I’d be hard-pressed to find instances of strong delineation. Instead, the movie showed adequate but unexceptional delineation.
The elements could seem a bit smeared at times. Initially I attributed this to a desire to use “soft focus” for the aging action stars, but bizarrely, then 22-year-old Liam Hemsworth became the blurriest of the bunch, as he often nearly looked plastic.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to appear, but the film brought a surprisingly grainy presentation.
Colors leaned toward a dingy teal that seemed semi-lifeless. A few brighter tones popped up at times but most of the hues stayed somewhat flat.
Blacks looked crushed at times, and shadows felt a bit too dense. Perhaps the filmmakers wanted Expendables 2 to look this way, but I can’t find any logical reason for it to present such a drab and fuzzy image.
At least the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack boasted the expected action theatrics. A solid soundfield, it easily reached “A”-level.
Not surprisingly, the mix came to life best during the violent sequences. Bullets, explosions and the like zipped around us and made sure that we felt as though we were part of the action.
Even during more passive sequences, the film offered a good soundscape. Music showed nice stereo presence, while environmental elements popped up in logical, natural locations. The mix formed a solid sense of atmosphere and action.
From start to finish, the flick boasted excellent audio quality. Speech was crisp and concise, with good intelligibility and no edginess.
Music sounded bright and dynamic, and effects were very strong. They demonstrated fine clarity and accuracy, and the mix also featured positive bass response. This was a consistently engaging track.
When we move to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Simon West. He brings a running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, weapons and vehicles, photography and editing, music, stunts and action, and connected domains.
West delivers a decent but unexceptional track. While he touches on the usual areas, he doesn’t offer a lot of insight, so expect a less than enthralling chat.
Video programs follow, and Gods of War spans 21 minutes, 19 seconds. It offers notes from West, writer/actor Sylvester Stallone, producers Kevin King-Templeton, Avi Lerner and Les Weldon, and actors Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
“War” covers the decision to make a sequel and changes from the first movie, bringing in a new director and his impact on the production, story and characters, cast and stunts, and the push toward a third movie.
At times, “War” gets into some useful topics, and footage from the set helps. However, an awful lot of it devolves into basic happy talk.
Big Guns, Bigger Heroes goes for 24 minutes, 59 seconds and features Stallone, Couture, West, journalist John Meroney, cultural historian Leo Braudy, authors Ron Reagan and Susan Jeffords, IGN Entertainment Editorial Director Chris Carle, First Blood director Ted Kotcheff, and screenwriters Jeph Loeb and Steven E. de Souza.
During “Guns”, we get a look at the culture of the 1980s and how action movies reflected that era. Sporadic insights emerge but this often feels more like a collection of film references.
With On the Assault, we find a 13-minute, 36-second piece that involves Couture and chief gunsmith Tony Dee. We visit Dee’s Las Vegas store and get a tour of the weapons used in the movie. It feels like an ad at times but offers some history of the guns.
Guns for Hire spans 24 minutes, 19 seconds and provides info from Trojan Securities International CEO Stephen Mastalerz, Ronin Worldwide Executive Protection owner/operator Wayne S. Cole, Ag Advisors president/CEO Greg Suhajda, tactical instructor Patrick Potochick, Trojan International Operations Manager Ashley Edward Mitchell, and private security contractors Dan Valdivia, “Little Bear”, Derek Hand, David Roberts, Raace Wayne Mellish, and Jamie Triplett.
“Hire” looks at the work of private security contractors. None of them operate at the high-octane level of the Expendables, of course, but this delivers a moderately interesting view of their real-world counterparts.
Five Deleted Scenes occupy a total of four minutes, 39 seconds. These offer some minor character moments and a little more action but nothing memorable.
A Gag Reel goes for five minutes, nine seconds and shows a standard array of mistakes and silliness. It feels forgettable.
The disc opens with ads for Dredd, Tarantino XX Collection, The Last Stand, Expendables 2 videogame and various Lionsgate action movie releases.
The original Expendables felt more like a big concept than an actual movie, and that trend continues with its sequel. The Expendables 2 comes with occasional spurts of entertaining mayhem, but most of it feels bland and lackluster. The Blu-ray delivers great audio and a nice mix of bonus materials but picture quality seems oddly murky. Maybe Expendables 3 will live up to the promise of the basic premise, but this flick doesn’t connect.