Friday, April 12, 2013
The Expendables (2010)
"Give this Job to my Friend. He Loves to Play in the Jungle!"
Piracy! The problem has gotten so bad in Asia and in Russia; and it's gotten to the point in Russia where films will be released in a "vanilla" version about a week or two after the film hits theaters. These will mainly hit DVD and a few will hit Blu-ray, albeit a very few. The Expendables is one of those few that hit on Blu-ray in a combo pack with a DVD copy. All though, I think this plan of having "vanilla" releases has somewhat backfired in terms of fighting piracy. You virtually have perfect video and just Russian audio that bootleggers will sync up English audio from a camera copied source.
The thing is, Russian DVDs and Blu-rays are hard to come by. Almost all of Russian webstores will only ship within Russia. I was luckily able to get one of these elusive Russian Blu-rays from a kind soul in Canada who sold this to me for a good $10.
The Expendables is a rag-tag group of mercenaries, composed of Sylvester Stallone (Rambo & Rocky), Jason Statham (The One & Transporter), Jet Li (The One & Fearless), Dolph Lundgren (The Punisher & Red Scorpion) Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart & Sin City), Terry Crewes (White Chicks & Friday After Next), and Randy Couture (Red Belt & Scorpion King 2). After given a job by a stranger named "Mr. Church", played by Bruce Willis, they are on the path to a small island in South America called Vilena.
The island is ruled by a Castro-esque villain, played by David Zayas, who is being pulled along by an ex-CIA agent (Eric Roberts). Barney (Stallone) and Christmas (Statham) meet and are lead by a beautiful island girl played by Giselle Itie. The military closes in on the trio and as Barney and Christmas escape; they return back to their base to develope a strategy to take down Vilena.
For being a throw back to 80's action films, I enjoyed it. Sure, the acting could be better, but how long has it been since we seen my favorite version of "The Punisher" on the big screen? Statham and Li's third outing together is probably the best one yet. And the cameos by Willis and Schwarzenegger are pretty bad ass. I give the film a 4/5.
Usually these Russian "vanilla" versions have some rough video quality. For an HD transfer, I feel that this one is pretty good. Video is soft in some shots, but grain is present and it's pretty sweet. For a telecine transfer, it's good. 3.5/5
Only audio option we have on the film is a Russian dub in DTS-HD MA 7.1. I don't who mixed this audio track, but, I honestly felt that this was a disappointment. Action was weak, but all of the dubbed dialogue felt over done. The Russian dub would revert to the original Spanish (or is it Portuguese) whenever we cut to David Zayas' character talking and we would have Russian subtitles on the screen; there's a difference in quality whenever it cuts back and forth. I give this a 2/5.
On the disc, we have only two Russian dub trailers for the British film "Centurion"; and the French documentary "Oceans". And then, we have a DVD copy of the film. .5/5.
I cannot recommend this release unless you speak Russian. There's no English at all on this disc. If you are someone like me, who goes after obscure Blu-ray releases, this one is a long stretch. If this was 2010 when the film came out, sure, it'd be worth picking it up. Now, just pick up the U.S. Blu-ray or whichever Blu-ray release is out in your country for the film. 2.5/5.