The Expendables 1-4 Collection (Steelbook) (Walmart Exclusive) (4K Ultra HD + Blu-Ray + Digital Copy) Review
The Expendables 1-4 4K set from Walmart is a must-have for fans of the franchise but even if you only like the first two films they have never looked or sounded better with a nice 4K upgrade. The packaging is slim taking up little space on your shelf and the steelbook artwork is gorgeous.
I recently received the Walmart special edition 4K set of The Expendables 1-4 which features some of our favourite legends of action together on screen for the first time. Today, I thought I would revisit each of the films and let you know if this collection is worth picking up.
The Expendables (2010)
I hadn’t watched the first Expendables for a few years so I was looking forward to seeing how it would be in 4K and it didn’t disappoint. The picture and sound are faultless especially the nighttime scenes where the blacks look clear as sometimes if you watch movies on DVD, they can be a little blocky.
I forgot just what a good film The Expendables is and for me it’s still my favourite of the franchise closely followed by part 2. I was reminded how exciting it was to see all these action icons on screen together for the first time and then the second movie upped the ante even more giving us Arnie, Bruce and Sly shooting up bad guys in epic fashion.
I love how Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren have bigger roles in this film as they are not used as much in the later films as well. I’m still not sure how Gunner survived that gunshot wound but it was a few inches above the heart so it’s not a big deal.
Of all the four films this is the best looking one, before they took the franchise to Bulgaria which was grey and ugly this has bright looking action scenes where the sun actually shines and everything just looks bigger and glossier. This also has my favourite action scenes of the franchise including the harbour bombing, the basketball court fight and the Omaya Kaboom sequence when Hale Ceasar arrives blowing the living hell out of the bad guys.
It was great to see Gary Daniels in a big budget action picture and his final battle between Statham and Jet Li is awesome if a little too quickly edited.
Eric Roberts is at his smarmy best as the lead villain Munro with Steve Austin making for an intimidating henchman.
Brian Tyler’s score is exquisite and is arguably still my favourite of his; it’s still beyond me that they didn’t bring him back for the fourth movie.
None of these movies are known for their amazing dialogue but we get plenty of banter here especially between Sly and Statham who are a great double act. Some have complained that the movie takes itself too seriously but I disagree, I think having a more serious tone adds extra stakes to the action rather than essentially being a parody which the second movie ultimately becomes.
It’s too bad the Extended cut isn’t included in any way but I already own it on Blu-ray so I’ll just keep that version.
Overall, the fact that The Expendables even exists should be a joy for classic action fans as who would have thought we’d get to see so many icons on screen together in our lifetimes? It may have its flaws but it’s still a slick action picture with some great set-pieces and a classic music score from Brian Tyler. It’s never looked or sounded better so the 4K is the only way I will watch this movie from now on.
The Expendables 2 (2012)
The opening sequence of this entry is not only the best of the franchise but one of my personal favourite action movie intros ever. It’s 15 minutes of explosion filled nirvana and is arguably the highlight of the entire film. Then we’ve got the great JCVD killing it as the best bad guy of the series Jean Vilain with his main henchman Hector played by Scott Adkins.
There are some classic moments in this film like when Chuck Norris first appears although I’ve always been confused why it plays The Good, The Bad and The Ugly theme tune… isn’t that Clint Eastwood? But seeing Chuck, Bruce, Arnie and Sly gunning down goons is what we’ve been waiting to see since the 80’s so this movie delivers the promise of the franchise for the most part.
We get some satisfying fight scenes with Stallone versus Van Damme at the end which is quite short but these are older men and not in their physical prime so we can’t expect them to fight like they are 25 anymore. I do think the fight between Scott Adkins and Jason Statham was definitely too brief and if I remember correctly even Adkins himself admitted he wanted it to be longer. Still, it’s an awesome showdown and Adkins does get a spectacular death scene.
Like I said above, the film does look a bit grey and ugly compared to the glossier first film, but I guess it’s to give it a grittier feel. It still looks great in 4K with perfect sound and picture.
Brian Tyler returns with his awesome music score which is once again transcendent.
I’ve talked abut this movie so much before that there isn’t anything left that hasn’t already been said. I do think some of the dialogue is a little too close to parody especially the “Rambo” line but it’s all part of the fun, I guess.
Overall, The Expendables 2 is up there with the first movie in terms of sheer action movie heaven with a jaw dropping opening sequence, the best villain of the franchise, plenty of fights and a huge bodycount making it the last truly great Expendables movie.
The Expendables 3 (2014)
I must say I’ve enjoyed watching all of these movies again over the weekend; although this third entry is a major step down from the first two I have to admit I still had fun with it. The PG-13 rating idea was terrible idea but the unrated cut (included in this set as Blu-ray only for some reason) is superior but you can’t help but feel the budget is considerably lower than the previous entries as it’s noticeable in nearly every action scene.
As we’ve already stated before the new young cast were essentially pointless; they were all fine in their respective roles but it would have been so much cooler if they just expanded the team with people like Chan, Dudikoff, Bernhardt or other actual action movie stars but at least with this one we do get a few legends added to the roster. Although Antonio Banderas is meant to be the annoying character in Galgo I really enjoy him as he brings real energy and personality to the film and the scene between he and Barney as they discuss what really happened with his team is a great character moment.
It’s great to see Arnie back and I also forgot that Harrison Ford was in this; his character makes little impression but it’s still cool to see him joining the other legends. I also need to give a shout-out to 80’s action movie regular Robert Davi who gets a small role in the film as an arms dealer working with Gibson.
My favourite addition to the cast is Wesley Snipes who gets a few scenes to shine early on but then is barely used for the finale; he still has the screen presence and he was sorely missed from the fourth movie.
Although I love him in the role they totally should have killed off the Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) character rather than just injuring him as he didn’t even come back for part 4 either; it would add a bit more drama to actually make some of these characters genuinely expendable rather than just injuring them where they magically heal by the end. Kill someone off, replace them with another action star in the next film. Done.
Mel Gibson feels a little underused in the film and his final fight with Barney is far too brisk but he acts everyone off the screen and makes for an intimidating villain.
The biggest flaw in this film is the overuse of CG especially when it comes to the explosions which really takes you out of it; I’ve said it before that the whole point of this franchise is a throwback to the classic action movies of old with practical effects which should absolutely be the case with The Expendables. CG makes it all look cheap and essentially defeats the purpose of these films.
The final battle still manages to entertain with a few cool stunt sequences and the unrated version has better kills but it’s still inferior to the previous two movies.
The 4K looks and sounds OK but the film never looked that great anyway so even the nighttime scenes look a little ugly.
Overall, The Expendables 3 is a step down from the first two movies and the PG-13 rating really kills it but I do enjoy seeing Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson joining the cast even if the younger members feel pointless. It still has some fun action scenes and the unrated cut is at least included as a Blu-ray but I do wish it was in 4K too.
I literally just reviewed this movie when it came out a few months ago so I’ll try to keep this brief. This is the second time I’ve watched Expend4bles and it just feels like a straight to video movie although I’ve seen some with better production values than this.
Expend4bles is a misstep in nearly every way; the cast is the worst of the franchise with only Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais making for fun additions. Megan Fox is awful and has no place here at all never convincing as a mercenary character and she has zero chemistry with Statham. We’re never given a reason to care about her and she’s never made remotely sympathetic or appealing in any way.
So much of the movie looks like it’s filmed on a set with unconvincing greenscreen and some CG once again ruining the action scenes.
A lot was made of the R rating which is a plus with some brutal kills and Iko Uwais makes for a fun villain but it’s hardly enough to save the movie. The script is terrible relying on constant unfunny dick or peeing jokes which is just embarrassing.
The whole mystery of who Ocelot is you can guess pretty much as soon as the character is mentioned and we also are never convinced that Barney died (spoiler alert). Also, why is Barney a dick in this? He shows up at Christmas’s house asking for help to get his lucky ring back which he lost in a bet when he was drunk. Ok, so you lost the ring fair and square but now you’re going to be a sore loser and actually kill the guy and use him as a decoy to fake your own death? Not something a hero does, Barney…
The other thing is Gunner (Dolph Lundgren) has problems with his eyesight and is a recovering alcoholic but by the end he realizes alcoholism is actually the answer for him to be a more efficient killer… WTF?
The film is at least well-paced and Statham carries the movie easily enough but it all just looks so cheap that even the 4K quality can’t elevate it. It looks and sounds aright but as is looks like a VOD movie then it doesn’t really matter.
Overall, Expend4bles is the worst entry of the franchise by far and I almost wish it hadn’t been made as it just feels like a cashgrab with little thought put into the story or characters and the new cast members have no place in this series at all.
The movies all have their own special features with the best one being part 3 where get the unrated cut as part of the Blu-ray. Like I said it’s too bad we don’t get the extended cut of the first film as that would make this collection feel more complete. Most of these features are already on the existing Blu-rays so there’s not much reason to upgrade if you already have them but I’ve been happy make the change as the packaging is nice and small taking up less room on my shelves and the 4K quality alone makes it a worthwhile purchase.
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
THE EXPENDABLES 3:
Unrated Edition of the Film (Blu-ray™ Only)
The Expendables 3 Documentary
“New Blood: Stacked and Jacked” Featurette
“The Total Action Package” Featurette
“Christmas Runs The Gauntlet” Extended Scene
Audio Commentary with Director Scott Waugh
Bigger, Bolder, Badder: The Expendables in Action
More Than a Team: New Blood Meets Old Blood
Overall, The Expendables 1-4 may not be perfect movies but this set is worth picking up for the first two movies alone as they are still a lot of fun and have never looked or sounded better. The third movie is entertaining despite its flaws but the fourth movie disc you could use as a coaster for your drink.