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The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut (Blu-ray Review)

It’s been about a year and a half since The Expendables hit theaters to box office success and about a year since the Blu-ray hit stores. Well, at one point Sylvester Stallone himself made the announcement via his Twitter account that he was back in the editing suite working on a director approved extended cut for release sometime soon. He went to work on it immediately and hasn’t been heard as much from due to filming The Expendables 2 and other projects. The man did keep his promise and we have been graced with The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut on Blu-ray. Will the extended cut measure up to the theatrical cut or will it be inferior? I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Blu-ray, so let’s hit it! 

 

Film 

The Expendables aka mercenaries for hire is Sylvester Stallone’s latest romp in the writer/actor/director chair. Stallone stars as Barney Ross, the leader of this rag-tag teams of badasses who take on some of the world’s most dangerous jobs all in the name of money. Simple, huh. After a somewhat successful African mission, Ross, along with with his crew of “expendables” head back to the states for some much needed rest and relaxation. Before I go any further, I should probably introduce the gang. Barney Ross, the leader and fast draw (Stallone), bladed weapons expert Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), sniper-giant Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), martial arts expert Yin  Yang (Jet Li), demolitions expert Toll Road (Randy Couture), weapons expert Hale Ceasar (Terry Crews). They are The Expendables.

Shortly after their arrival in New Orleans, they are “gifted” with a new, but even more dangerous job than their previous gig. They get the honor of taking out the evil General Garza, dictator of Vilena, a small island country in the Gulf of Mexico. What the team doesn’t know is that Garza is just a puppet in the grander scheme of things. Ex-CIA officer James Munroe is the real power in Vilena. That’s fine and dandy, because Barney and his team have no problem in trying to take out multiple scumbag targets in one fell swoop.

You may have caught my slight undertone of cheesiness that I’ve thrown into the review, but c’mon, we’re talking about The Expendables, not Kubrick. What makes this version even cooler is that it’s the long awaited Stallone approved director’s cut. The film is ten minutes longer and restores various beats and plot points along with some miscellaneous cuts here and there. There may be a spoiler or two, so take this overview with a grain of salt. I’m going off of memory, so I will not be including a time stamp of where the new material is found. Ready? Here goes.

In the beginning of the pirate shootout, there’s a scene in which Christmas’s cell phone starts vibrating. This scene is no longer there and is replaced with more banter between Barney and Lee with added talk from Hale Ceasar. Jensen also has a line or two right before the “warning shot.” The opening of the film itself starts off with an ominous prophecy-like voice over by Stallone, which gives it that ass kicking vibe. There’s a new opening montage that features the guys with Sully Erna’s Sinner’s Prayer song playing as the boys “reflect” on the life. Toll Road also gets a bit of a rant in and shows the audience that he’s actually kind of bat shit crazy. Those are the most obvious of the new scenes. Later on we’ll get Barney over thinking the job a bit and obsessing over the General’s daughter while Lee busts on him. The final shootout at the General’s compound also features a brand new music cue that was only featured in the trailer. I felt it was appropriate, because guns, explosions, heavy metal music baddassery all go hand in hand. The Expendables is not a game changer of a film, but it is a lot of fun. That’s all that matters. I cannot wait for part 2. I hear that they will team up to fight Chuck Norris. The Expendables Vs. Chuck Norris. ZOMG!

Video 

The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut is presented in 1080p, 2.40:1, widescreen. Colors are the main stars of the show. When the boys reach the island of Vilena, the beauty of the scenery takes over. Flesh tones also look natural and healthy. Black levels are deep and inky, and contrast never runs hot. Softness makes its presence known in several scenes, but quickly go away. Banding is never an issue, and sharpness levels are decent. The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut looks great on Blu-ray.

Audio 

The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut is presented in DTS-HD MA 7.1. We got a reference track! Yes, normally I’d wait until the end of the audio section to let you know whether it’s good or not, but I could not contain myself! Dialogue is coherent, and is never obscured by the heavy grunting a manly film of this nature brings. Gunfire, explosions, bodies being ripped to pieces by gun turrets make such sweet music which the lossless DTS track handles as if it were a newborn baby. It cradles without dropping. The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut is DEMO material. 

Special Features 

The special features have a couple of new additions, but omit the excellent commentary track by Stallone that was present in the theatrical Blu-ray release. There are two brand new introductions by Stallone for this director’s cut, one on the set of The Expendables 2, and the other, a more straightforward intro. There is a new featurette that looks back on Stallone and his rise as a film director. I really enjoyed the candid conversation with Stallone as he reminisced about his early directing work. It takes guts to actually talk about one’s failures and Sly does it with ease and plenty of humor. It’s my favorite of the new supplements. Rounding out the final list of new special features is Sully Erna’s Sinner’s Prayer music video. The song is featured in the new cut of the film.

  • 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” by Sully Erna Music Video

 

Final Thoughts 

The Expendables always did have its detractors that made mention that the film was too long or that it took a long time for the ass kickings to start, but I disagree with that. It goes back to the whole you can’t please everybody scenario. If it were a pure blood bath the same people that hated it for being “slow” would complain and say that there was no “story” or something along those lines. I think that this extended director’s cut of The Expendables improves on the theatrical version. I’ll still be keeping the original Blu-ray that came out, because I want the Stallone commentary, but if you haven’t gotten the theatrical cut then this version of the film should be worth your while.

 

 

 

Order The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

4 Responses to “The Expendables: Extended Director’s Cut (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    Good review, but I hate that Sly does this to his fans. He did the same thing with Rambo. Why not release his cut of the film the first time around the film was released on Blu-ray instead of making his fans double dip in this struggling economy. And now you don’t even get a directors commentary? How sad. I love Sly, but I hate this practice.

    I’ll be checking out part 2 fo sho, but my expectations are very low. That way I’m hoping I will be pleasantly surprised 🙂

    Hey…wasn’t there word of a directors cut of Rocky Balboa ever? Serious question

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Because the producers wield more power than he does. Remember, it’s all about the $$$ as opposed to the “art.”

    Never heard anything about Balboa.

  3. Brian White

    It’s BS. I wish Sly had Lucas’ money so he can release whatever he wants.
    Anyway, about Balboa, I believe he mentioned it in the commentary track, but that’s the last time I ever heard anything about it.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    I held off on buying the Expendables until this version came out. I’m glad to hear that this was worth the wait.