What happens to action film stars when they outlive their prime? Do they get sent out to pasture? Do they start playing the grandpa in dramas surrounding generations of families? While the answer to those questions might be yes for most, they weren't necessarily what happened when Sylvester Stallone (Rocky) wrote, directed, and starred in The Expendables thirteen years ago. Stallone, along with his friends Bruce Willis (Die Hard), and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator), teamed up with Jason Statham (Transporter), Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV), Jet Li (Kiss of the Dragon), Randy Couture (Big Stan) and Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight) to create an action movie that proved age is just a number.
In 2012, audiences were treated to the second installment in the franchise with the third movie following two years after that in 2014. Then, after almost a decade, Expend4bles reunited Stallone, Statham, Lundgren, and Couture this past September, while adding Andy Garcia (Ocean's Eleven), Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson (Power), Iko Uwais (Mile 22) and Megan Fox (Transformers) to the mix. Now, thanks to a Walmart exclusive Steelbook, the four films are available on 4K, just in time for holiday gift giving.
With The Expendables Stallone sets the groundwork for the franchise as a group of mercenaries are hired to overthrow a dictator of a small Island off Mexico. In the sequel, Barney (Stallone) and his team are sent to retrieve a downed plane in Albania but once the item is returned, it is revealed the item is a computer denoting the location of five tons of plutonium that had been abandoned and that the enemy plans to sell on the Black Market. The Expendables 3 has the team chasing a former founding member of The Expendables, StoneBanks (Mel Gibson; The Lethal Weapon Franchise), who has become an arms trader and Expend4bles has Barney and the team chasing a Ghost from Barney's past, Ocelot, to try to find out his real identity and stop World War III.
Even though The Expendables I-III have all been previously released, the appeal here is the video and audio quality. The 4K visuals are terrific, although only the last one is presented in Dolby Vision. The colors are deep and true, and the details are amazing. Explosions, which tend to have an unnatural quality to them on 4K/Dolby Vision releases, seem realistic enough and, when matched with the audible blast, work for the four films. Obviously, the fourth film has better CGI effects than the previous three movies since technology has improved in the past decade.
The Dolby Atmos audio is sharp, making use of the height range and low tones equally. As mentioned, the explosions are extremely well done and, when the volume is cranked up, the rumbling could shake the walls of one's home. Dialogue and music don't overpower one another, and ambient noise sits comfortably in the surround speakers. Unlike the video, the audio quality doesn't differ from the older movies to this year's release.
Except for Expend4bles, the extras are all previously released. They include:
- Introduction to the Film by Sylvester Stallone
- Spike TV's "Action: The Expendables"
- Inferno: The Making of The Expendables
- "Sylvester Stallone: A Director in Action" Featurette
- "Sinner's Prayer" Music Video by Sully Erna
THE EXPENDABLES 2
- Audio Commentary with Director Simon West
- Gods Of War: Assembling Earth's Mightiest Antiheroes
- Big Guns, Bigger Heroes: The 1980s and the Rise of the Action Film
- On the Assault: The Real-Life Weaponry of The Expendables
- Guns for Hire: The Real Expendables
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
THE EXPENDABLES 3
- Theatrical Version
- Unrated Edition of the Film (Blu-ray Only)
- The Expendables 3 Documentary
- "New Blood: Stacked and Jacked" Featurette
- "The Total Action Package" Featurette
- Gag Reel
- "Christmas Runs The Gauntlet" Extended Scene
- Audio Commentary with Director Scott Waugh
- Bigger, Bolder, Badder: The Expendables in Action
- More Than ATeam: New Blood Meets Old Blood
- Theatrical Trailer
The Expendables franchise is pure action fun and those who love the movies know exactly what they are in for whenever they watch the films. This Walmart-exclusive, Steelbook, 4-movie set is well put together in a solid case that offers everything one might want in a multi-movie combo pack. I suggest getting one today because, with the holidays coming up quickly, this set will sell out quickly.