Tuesday, November 13, 2012



RELEASE DATE: November 20, 2012

STARRING: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, Nan Yu Also Jean-Claude Van Damme, With Bruce Willis, And Arnold Schwarzenegger

DIRECTOR: Simon West

One of my first loves is film and one of the things I had always hoped was for this blog to get big enough to get review copies of upcoming DVDs and BluRays. Well, in the last few weeks, Lionsgate and HBO Home Video has started sending me screener emails for upcoming releases. So, when I run across something that I think will fit well on the blog, I plan to request a review copy.

Yesterday, the fine folks at Lionsgate sent me a copy of the upcoming DVD release of "The Expendables 2" and I gave it a watch.

As a 80s kid, I grew up on the action movies of Stallone, Arnold, Willis, Van Damme, Chuck Norris and Lundgren. These guys are legends and they defined a couple of decades (plus some) of genre film. Seeing these most of these guys in Expendables 1 was like a great ice cream sundae. Now in Part 2, it's like someone hooking up an I.V. with Cinnabon icing to your heart. It's pure action movie bliss.

Stallone and company are forced to recover blueprints showing the hidden location of 5 tons of plutonium in former Soviet Russia. Added to the mix are bit parts by Chuck Norris (as the Lone Wolf), Arnold and Bruce, Van Damme (as the aptly named big boss baddie, Vilain).

It's a fast-paced ride, that manages to give the most of the heroes rewarding character building moments. Couture and Crews seem to get the short end of things. Lundgren (a personal favorite of mine) get some get moments as Gunner, the addled former junkie/chemical engineer who is a zero with the ladies. He's a lovable oaf and stole the show. Stallone is fun. Arnold and Bruce bring their "A" game and Van Damme plays it great as a flamboyant and somewhat spacey bad guy. Norris has that twinkle in his eye. It seems like everyone's having fun.

The film is larger in scope and eastern block setting is a great. Cold and desolate. There's some great action set pieces: Nepal, boat chases, an abandoned 1950s era "Anytown, USA-type city" that the Soviets used as a trained ground, an abandoned mine and and Airport. Plenty of shoot 'em up action with some "Holy Shit!" violence peppered in.

• GODS OF WAR: Assembling Earth's Mightiest Antiheroes (A rather disappointed fluff piece on Expendables 2. Check out instead, "Inferno", the doc on the making of the first Expendables for a great look at making a modern action film)
• ON THE ASSAULT: The Real-Life Weaponry of THE EXPENDABLES (for the firearm fans, Randy Couture takes you on a tour of the Las Vegas GUN SHOP to educate you on the weapons used in the movie, info on the guns and use in a firing range)
• BIG GUNS, BIGGER HEROES: The 1980s and the Rise of the Action Film (The gem of the special features with a looks at the 1980s and the evolution of the action film, the political landscape and the growth of the "Me" decade)
• GUNS FOR HIRE: The Real Expendables (a doc on real life security forces like Ronin)
• Audio Commentary with director Simon West
• Deleted Scenes

• Gag Reel

A great action film. Superior to the first is scope, action and character development. The film looks and sounds great, even in standard def DVD. The release also has a digital copy from iTunes and it looks like a UV copy is also included. If you liked the first Expendables, this is a much see. If you love 80s action movies, this is like the ultimate mix tape of your favorite screen legends.

RATING: 9 out of 10
  LINKS: Lionsgate Ependables 2 DVD Amazon's "Expendables 2" DVD Amazon's "Expendables 2" Blu-ray

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