The Expendables 2 appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Though not a great-looking movie, this became a more than watchable presentation.
Sharpness worked fairly well most of the time. Occasional soft shots occurred, but these didn’t dominate, so the majority of the flick appeared reasonably accurate.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Moderate grain showed up via this Super 35 source, and print flaws remained absent.
Colors leaned toward a dingy teal that seemed semi-lifeless. A few brighter tones popped up at times but most of the hues stayed in this vein.
The 4K couldn’t make the colors shine, but they shouldn’t, so they generally felt accurate. HDR added heft to the more vivid hues that manifested on occasion.
Blacks looked deep and dark, while shadows appeared mostly smooth, though the murkiness of the source meant some opacity. HDR brought a bit of a boost to contrast and whites. This didn’t become a visual showcase, but it suited the original photography.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos 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.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio felt fairly comparable, though the 4K’s Atmos track showed a bit more kick.
The 4K’s visuals turned into a significant upgrade, though, as it looked better defined, smoother, and more dynamic than the drab Blu-ray. That one offered a dreary disappointment, so the Blu-ray turned into a substantial step up in quality.
No extras appear on the 4K disc itself, but we get a mix on the included Blu-ray disc, where 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 Blu-ray opens with ads for Dredd, Tarantino XX Collection, The Last Stand, an 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 4K UHD delivers good visuals, great audio and a nice mix of bonus materials. Maybe Expendables 3 will live up to the promise of the basic premise, but this flick doesn’t connect.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of THE EXPENDABLES 2