This week's must-see DVD/BD, and why we're lovin' it.
What? The Expendables
Who? Directed by Sylvester Stallone and starring Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts and Dolph Lundgren
Why? Sly could have ridden off into retirement on residuals, satisfied that his film legacy is solid after two well-received recent sequels to his Rocky and Rambo series. Instead the still-ripped 64-year-old actor decided to make this love letter to fans of classic '80s and early '90s action movies that stars some of the biggest names in the genre, including cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Stallone plays the leader of the Expendables—a tight team of combat vets-turned-mercenaries-for-hire that jet off to the small South American country of Vilena to overthrow an imperious dictator. What they find is that Vilena’s dictator is the puppet of a wealthy criminal (Eric Roberts) who wants to exploit the country’s resources to produce cocaine. Sly becomes smitten with the dictator's beautiful daughter and sympathetic to the oppressed natives, so with guns loaded and pecs heaving the Expendables storm the island to unleash a can of retro-style whoop-ass.
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Sly literally broke his neck in a fight scene with Steve Austin, which shows the actor-writer-director's commitment to realism. Highlights include Jet Li's claustrophobic kung fu battle with Sly's Rocky IV
foe Dolph Lundgren, Stallone and Jason Statham's airplane assault on a Vilena dock and Mickey Rourke's oddly moving reflection on his character's life in one of the film's only quiet moments.
The Expendables doesn't break new ground with this hyper-violent, bone-crunching action showcase, but it isn't trying to. Instead, Stallone has crafted an epic action-movie reunion that will take freshman filmmakers back to school. Remember when explosions and scenery in movies were real instead of generated on a Macintosh? Sly has got you covered. Say "thanks" by turning up the volume on your surround system and listening to the rat-a-tat of old school man-tastic manliness.
What Else? Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain commentary by Stallone, a making-of documentary, a post-production documentary, the Comic Con 2010 panel, a deleted scene, a gag reel and a marketing archive. You'll want to check out: The Blu-ray is equipped with an "Ultimate Recon Mode" picture-in-picture option that provides an all-access look at the making of the film while you are watching it.