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Expendables 3 (4K Ultra HD), The

Lionsgate Home Entertainment // PG-13 // March 1, 2016 // Region 0
List Price: $22.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted March 10, 2016 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:



For their first wave of 4K Ultra HD discs, Lionsgate has released
four films including The Expendables 3 that hit theaters a
couple of years ago. It's decent choice... it has some marquee value
and should sell well since there are only a handful or titles
available in the format now, but I'm not sure I'd make the same
decision. If you look closely at the cover to The Expendables 3,
you can tell that the movie is going to have a few problems. The
impressive lineup of stars appearing in the film has obviously been
Photoshopped together to make the image. Kelsey Grammer's head is
too small in relation to those around him, everyone is smiling
except Terry Crews who is screaming while holding a large machine
gun, and Ronda Rousey is the only one looking away from the camera.
If the creators couldn't get the stars together for a single
photoshoot, how are they going to be able to showcase them all in
the movie? The answer is: they can't. This third installment in the
franchise has just a few too many stars for its own good, meaning
that most of them don't get much screen time. Still, the movie is
not a total loss, and if you like your action flicks loud and
over-the-top, this one is still worth checking out.



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The film starts off with a bang from the start as the remnants of
The Expendables, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas
(Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundren), and Toll Road (Randy
Couture) pull off a bravura rescue of their old teammate Doctor
Death (Wesley Snipes). Then one of the strengths of the movie
becomes apparent: There's no plot to get in the way of the story (to
borrow an expression from famed drive-in movie reviewer Joe Bob
Briggs).



While flying away from the introductory prison break, Ross states
that they have another job and fly off to a country in Africa. There
they meet up with Caesar (Terry Crews) and try to stop an arms deal
when things go bad. It turns out that the person who is selling the
weapons is none other than Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), a man
Ross thought he had killed years ago, and he has all of the skills
the Expendables are famed for, and more. Seriously wounding Caesar
(who is out for the rest of the movie) the team is left in shambles.
Declaring that they're too old for this (the first of many times in
the film) Ross fires the rest of the team and hires some newbies to
take out Stonebanks: Smilee (Kellan Lutz), Luna (Ronda Rousey),
Thorn (Glen Powell) and Mars (Victor Ortiz). That doesn't go too
well either, so Ross teams up with the talkative Galgo (Antonio
Banderas), along with some other friends to rescue the team of
newbies and take out Stonebanks. It all ends with a large team of
Expendables literally fighting an army while holed up in an derelict
casino/hotel that's wired to explode. Oh yeah, and along the way
Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, Jet Li, and Arnold Schwarzenegger all
pop up to lend a hand.



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There are two types of movie-goers: those who see black uniformed
soldiers ride motorcycles into an abandoned multi-story casino at
full speed and think "why would you do that... it's stupid" and
those who think "COOL!" If you're in the former camp, you should
probably give this movie a pass. If you're part of the latter group,
this is worth considering, but with some caveats. One of the
problems that I had with the film is that there are just too many
stars, and for some reason they added a new crew of new actors too.
To accommodate all of these people, Terry Crews had to sit out most
of the film and Jet Li is only in a couple of scenes. It also means
that they don't have any time to develop the new characters at all,
which is too bad since viewers don't really care if they live or
die.



Having said that, some of the actors really got into their roles and
that made the movie more fun than it would have been otherwise. Mel
Gibson seems to be having a blast chewing the scenery and Antonio
Banderas is great as the constantly talking mercenary with a
troubled past. Of the new crew, they all came across as bland with
the exception of Ronda Rousey who really stands out. Not for her
acting (though her exacerbated exclamation of "Men!" that she says a
couple of times is the one bit of humor that works in the movie) but
for her martial skills. Everyone can act like they can fight, but
Rousey actually can. She reminded me of Bruce Lee playing Kato in
the old TV show The Green Hornet. Like Lee, her movements
were fluid, ingrained, and natural. While the others were trying to
remember where to step and when to punch (and the very quick cutting
through the fight scenes made it feel like some were having trouble
getting more than two seconds worth of moves right at a time),
Rousey made it look like she was actually fighting.



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The Ultra HD Disc:



This UHD set includes the theatrical version of the film on a 4K
disc and a Blu-ray which houses the theatrical and unrated versions
of the movie along with all of the extras. The Blu-ray seems to be
identical with the earlier released BR of this movie.



Video:



The 2160p, HDR image comes with the original 2.40:1 aspect ratio and
looks amazing overall. I've seen my share of streaming 4K video, but
this is my first Ultra HD disc and I was very happy with the
results. The level of detail is excellent with the finest lines
being well defined. The colors are natural and not exaggerated and
the blacks are awesome. The only real flaw I could see, and one that
frankly astonished me, was some banding in the sky in one scene (at
the end of the battle in Africa where they first see Stonebanks.
Instead of the sky smoothly transitioning from one shade to the
next, there is a stair step effect. It's something that cropped up
on DVD fairly regularly and somewhat on Blu-ray, but I was
disappointed and surprised to see it on a 4K disc.



Audio:



The Dolby Atmos soundtrack was very solid and will please fans of
the movie. While I unfortunately do one have a full Atmos setup
which includes seven standard channels and a subwoofer as well as an
additional four ceiling speakers, the disc sounded great on my 5.1
setup. The dialog was clear (though it could be hard to understand
Stallone sometimes when he grumbled under his breath, that's not a
fault of the audio mix) and the soundtrack was well balanced. There
was a good amount of impact during the frequent battle sequences,
but not quite as much as I was expecting. All in all, it was a very
good sounding disc.



Extras:



The extras are all on the Blu-ray disc and therefore none of them
are in Ultra HD. They are the same ones found on the earlier BR
release. They include a nearly hour-long behind the scenes The
Expendables 3 Documentary
, New Blood: Stacked and Jacked,
a 16-minute featurette that looks at the new group of Expendables
shown in the movie, and an single extended scene. There's also a
short featurette about the stunts, Total Action Package, and
a five-minute gag-reel.



Final Thoughts:



This movie is flawed and the weakest in the Expendables franchise,
but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a certain amount of
over-the-top charm and more action than I thought was possible to
pour into a two-hour film. If you're looking for a mindless evening
of fun, you could do worse. Recommended.




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