After rebuilding his audience with Rocky Balboa in 2006 and Rambo in 2008, Sylvester Stallone proved he can still successfully launch a brand new franchise. The Expendables was a worldwide hit in late summer 2010, and now audiences can truly appreciate the mammoth effort invested by all involved. In terms of sheer technical excellence, this Lionsgate Blu-ray release succeeds on all levels. In addition to looking and sounding great, it has an array of well-produced supplemental features that take the view deep inside the filmmaking process.
As for the plot, I think it's best to avoid a tedious recap. This isn't the most intellectually involving movie; the emphasis is squarely on loud, crazy action. The movie's only real weakness is sloppy storytelling. I actually got more out of the story rewatching it on Blu-ray. In theaters, I found myself caught up in the spectacle but sometimes confused about what was going on. Suffice it to say, I would imagine large parts of the plot got left on the cutting room floor in order to amp up the adrenaline.
The Expendables are a group of mercenaries willing to take just about any job, regardless of how dangerous. Led by Barney Ross (Stallone), they attempt to overthrow a South American puppet dictatorship. The task turns out to be more difficult than expected, especially when it's discovered that the savage dictator's daughter is fighting to restore the nation's freedom.
The Expendables is the third film in a row helmed by Stallone since his 2006 return to directing after a 21-year hiatus. He also co-wrote the script with Dave Callaham (Doom). But of course, it was the cast that had action fans salivating. Much has been said about the brawny, beefy guys assembled to wreak havoc on the fictional South American island of Vilena. Less closely examined is the seeming acceptance by Stallone that he couldn't carry on as a loner. Throughout his legendary career, true ensemble efforts have been few and far between for Stallone. He always seemed intent on carrying his movies solely upon his own shoulders. In fact, 2001's Driven found him uncharacteristically sharing the spotlight. The film flopped and seemed to mark the end of his viability as a mainstream box office star.