Expend4bles (Expendables 4) - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Expend4bles (Expendables 4)


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Movie: :2stars:
4K Video: :4.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:
Final Score: :3stars:




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Movie

Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally come full circle. I officially never want to see another Expendables movie again. I remember hearkening back to 2009 when I heard the first was announced, and was SUPER excited. We were living in the world of Greengrass style quick camera edit Jason Bourne knock offs, and action movies in general were dying in comparison to sci-fi and super hero films making their debut in full force. This was supposed to be THE film to watch if you like old school action. Sylvester Stallone helming a film that was supposed to be an ensemble cast of the big 80s and 90s action stars, and making it like the over indulgent cheese fests that we all grew up on. Unfortunately the film struggled a bit to be made, and Stallone couldn’t get all of his old 80s and 90s action buddies on board, having to make due with Jet Li, himself, Dolph Lundgren, cames by Arnold and Bruce Willis, and having to supplement the cast with Terry Crews and Randy Couture and Jason Statham (who actually is kind of on the cusp of belonging to that group, but barely being their predecessor in his career). End result, a decent action movie that had a bit too much modern day filming style, but enough heart to keep this old school Action guy coming back for more.

I don’t care who disagrees, but the Expendables 2 is by far the best film in the franchise. Stallone fine tuned the plot, and added in Jean Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins as the two villains. Dolph is firing on all 4 cylinders, We get Chuck freaking Norris to show up, and both Bruce and Arnie decided to play bigger roles after seeing the success of the first film. Honestly, it was the peak of the series and I still love watching it to this day. Sadly they lost steam after that, and went the Bad Boys For Life direction in the 3rd film, attempting to hand the torch to a younger generation. Only thing is, the whole POINT of the franchise was seeing our old 1980s and 1990s action heroes blowing stuff up. There were some neat additions like Antonio Banderas but overall the movie was a flop, and supposedly the end of the series (to be fair, Wesley Snipes and Mel Gibson were the only saving grace of that film. Both men were having a BALL in the roles).

Now, fast forward almost 10 years since the 3rd film, and we had rumors that a 4th was being made. Originally Sylvester Stallone’s Barney Ross wasn’t even going to even be in the film, and Stallone himself wasn’t too hot to return. I mean, he’s almost 80 years old, and he’s not even in the shape he was 10 years ago (noting wrong with that, we all gotta get older), and the majority of the big names who were in the previous 3 were not that interested either. Then by the grace of God (or a curse from the devil), Expend4bles was born. Only thing is, most of the cast are gone, and Barney Ross is shoehorned in there for a grand total of 15 minutes to tie everything together, and that movie magic is LOOOONG gone.

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To borrow a line from Pet Semetary “sometimes dead is better”. The Expend4bles is a torturous event that makes even this fan of big, dumb, action movies wish for a second drink just to make it through. Barney Ross and his aging crew of expendables are back for another mission, only this time it ends up taking Barney’s life by criminal killer Rahmat (Iko Uwais, who is way underutilized in the film). Christmas (Jason Statham) loses his spot on the team for going off mission and causing it to fail while trying to rescue Barney, and the rest of the team decide to go after Barney’s killer with their CIA boss Marsh (Andy Garcia) leading them. The rest is a nonsensical cacophony of non stop CGI action, with everyone shooting, punching, kicking and having the entire world green screened around them (seriously, you can actually see the lines where characters are green screened into an action background. Also, you can see the CGI muzzle flash on guns and blood looks more like CGI red paste than actual blood) while they try and hunt down the mysterious guy who killed Barney.

Honestly, NOBODY is having fun in the movie. Dolph looks worn out and absolutely BORED the entire film (he’s almost nodding off mid scene half the time), Jason Statham grits his teeth and growls out of the corner of his mouth the entire time, while Megan Fox does her best to look like Expendables Barbie with a crop top and fake….ummm….inflatable devices. The ONLY person who actually is having fun is Jacob Scipio’s Galan, who plays Antonio Banderas’s son from the 3rd film. The dude does an absolutely amazing job imitating Antonio’s mannerisms and accents. Even gets the inflections and quirks of the man JUST right. I honestly almost felt like I could hear Banderas speaking through him at times. It was simply eery. But that being said, the action is downright garbage, with squibs going off where they shouldn’t, everything CGI’d to death, and hand to hand fight scenes barely manageable. Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais are utterly WASTED, with both of their fights together more boring than the single 3 minute fight with Statham and Scott Adkins in the 2nd film. There’s no chemistry, the humor is stupid (there’s literally a scene where the white haired Expendables barbie tries to check out the size off Randy Couture’s manhood when he’s taking a , which is played off for laughs). Yeah, some things just need to die.




Rating:

Rated R by the MPAA




4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :4.5stars:
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The Expendables flicks have always had a varied look to them, with the first being fairly neutral but DARK, while the second was heavily stylized to match the gritty look of 1980s film stock. The 3rd was rendered a flat and gray tone (with one of THE worst 4K UHD transfers of all time), but the Expend4blesis a much shinier and more clean look to it. It’s got some grim and grimy looks to it on board the ship, but overall this is a spectacular looking digital transfer in native 4K. Everything is razor sharp as can be, allowing us to see a bit TOOO much of the transfer at times (the CGI stands out like a sore thumb on the 4K disc as a result) and I noticed that there was some minor black crush inside the bowels of the ship. That being said, the Dolby Vision enhancements are amazing with this disc, rendering dark levels pitch black without sacrificing shadow detail, and the colors just POP with clarity (weirdly really noticeably in regards to the wood grain on enemy AK rifles. You can see the nuances and grain of the wood with the extra color and brightness). Usually 4K discs are much dimmer than their Blu-ray counterparts, and while the Blu-ray included IS a bit brighter, it’s not massively so. The film uses a really high nits count and it shows in spades. All in all, this is a VERY nice upgrade over the already stunning Blu-ray, and well worth the upgrade.








Audio: :5stars:
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Yeah, not exactly a shocker hear that the Dolby Atmos track (found on the Blu-ray as well) is a KILLER audio mix that literally rocks you back into your seat and keeps you pinned there. Gunfire blasts off all around you, and the explosions and rocket fire from Barney’s old sky whale thuds with massive weight with every impact. The dialog is crisp and clear as expected, but I was really impressed with the overheads. There’s a ton of discrete info that shifts from overhead to the sides and all around the listening position in a way that kept me glued to my seat with a huge grin on my face (well, as much of a grin as I could muster considering how weak the story is). Simply put, this is a devastating and punishing mix that doesn’t let go until the credits and role and takes no prisoner. Rest assured this is pure demo worthy stuff here.












Extras: :2.5stars:
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• Audio Commentary with Director Scott Waugh
• Bigger, Bolder, Badder: The Expendables in Action
• More Than a Team: New Blood Meets Old Blood
• Theatrical Trailer













Final Score: :3stars:


The Expendables was originally designed as a throwback to action movies of old, but somewhere along the way with the 3rd film it lost it’s way. They’re desperate to pass the torch of a franchise that was INTENDED to be old school to begin with, and made a 4th film almost 10 years after the mediocre 3rd flick debuted, with a film that Stallone himself didn’t even want to come back an star in. The end result is a near unwatchable modern day action movie mess, with action that looks DTV, and star power fading into the distance with each movie. There’s a few fun moments, but otherwise this is the literal nail in the franchise’s coffin unless it’s reborn as a DTV series that has nothing to do with any of the original leads/producers. The 4K UHD is fantastic though, with amazing picture and demo worthy sound. The extras are a tad light, but nothing too bad. All in all, a great demo disc with a plot that would make Cuba Good Jr. and Steven Seagal chuckle (ok, maybe not THAT bad). Skip it.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Jason Statham, Megan Fox, Randy Couture, Jacob Scipio, Dolph Lundgren, Iko Uwais, Tony Jaa, Sylvester Stallone, 50 Cent
Directed by: Scott Waugh
Written by: Kurt Wimmer, Tad Daggerhart, Max Adams
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Spanish DD 5.1, English DVS
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Rated: R
Runtime: 103 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 21st, 2023
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Recommendation: Gouge Your Eyes Out

 

Epoxy1

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I've never been a fan of these movies. I didn't even request this one for review...didn't want to lose 2 hours of my life that I'd never get back!
 

MusicManLen

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@michaelscott Great and accurate review. I have the first 3 and glad I watched #4 before buying it which would have been a mistake. While it could be used as a demo disc for your system it is not something I could recommend for purchase.
 
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