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Unrated Edition on Blu-ray (also includes Theatrical Version)





Office Christmas Party






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Expendables 3, The

Comparison:

  • Theatrical Version
  • Extended Director's Cut
Release: Dec 14, 2014 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB

Thinking about it, one never would have thought that Sylvester Stallone, one of the icons of 80s and 90s action cinema, is capable of such a renaissance. After Cop Land from 1997, the Italian Stallion did not deliver anymore for some reason. With his wooden, mumbling and massive appearance, he did not seem to be a fit for box office blockbusters of the modern era. An impressive comeback that would put him back in the saddle seemed unlikely, even for most of his fans. Too many of Stallone's colleagues make their money with DTV movies nowadays. But with his decision to revive his legendary Rocky character in 2006 and awaken nostalgic feelings by doing a new Rambo movie two years afterwards, Stallone hit the bull's eye (and also his only real chance to reestablish himself). With the Expendables franchise, he followed that path with further development. He made old school action fans happy with a basic idea almost taking place on meta level: reactivating veterans from the macho-like, testosterone-filled action cinema from back in the day and sending them out for action as a group. It was no problem for the audience that the result was not very sophisticated or innovative. Seeing the action heroes on the big screen again working together as a group this time was sort of nostalgic and romantic. Who would have thought 8 or 10 years ago that it would possible that Chuck Norris, for instance, would give his comeback in a motion picture? Viewed in this light, one can only congratulate Stallone for his decision. He seemed to have a feeling for what fans want for quite some time. Unfortunately, he seems to have lost his way with The Expendables 3. A faux pas with consequences. Among those who made him important again, he has lost a lot of credit.


It is one thing if one adds fresher, younger faces to the cast. There are people who can really handle themselves in this area. But that was not enough for Stallone. He intended to transfer the rejuvenating cure to the audience, as well, and thrill teenagers with his muscly good old boy's club. In order to do so, he accepted to narrow down one of his basic elements from the movies that made him and the others what they were: the violence. Admittedly, there are many intelligent action movies without graphic violence but you can't say that about the Expendables franchise. Also, the violence in the first and second installment was quite graphic, the movies were rated R for a reason. The Expendables 3 on the other hand was rated PG-13 (for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language) in movie theaters and that version was shown in movie theaters worldwide.

There were already rumors that the second installment would be rated PG-13 but the fans caused an outcry so loud that Stallone himself tried to calm everyone down and confirmed the R rating. For the third installment,  though, he ignored any kind of protest and implied that financial aspects would be an important issue in this matter: "We want to reach as many people as possible. It’s very close to an R, believe me, it’s right there. But I think we owe it to the next generation. We thought we’d join that club for a while.". Well, well. He believes that he has an obligation to provide for the next generation? It seems a bit naive because after all, what generation was responsible for him rising again? And what generation still made a lot of effort during the rating discussion of the movie?

But sometimes, it takes bare figures to figure out what prefences the next generation has. And apparently, what The Expendables 3 had to offer was not part of that. Sure, it was not very helpful that a version of the movie (allegedly without finalized special effects) was leaked three weeks before its theatrical release, many many downloads were the consequence. The impact it had on the box office result can hardly be determined. But still, that was not the main reason why The Expendables 3 only made approx. $40 million at the US box office. The rating suitable for the mass simply did not attract the mass. It is especially due to the Asian market that the movie made approx. $206 million USD. But it does not really mean that a lot of revenue was made because Lionsgate had sold the rights beforehand.

Stallone himself came to that conclusion, as well. In retrospect, he admits that he gambled and lost: "I believe it was a horrible miscalculation on everyone’s part in trying to reach a wider audience, but in doing such, diminish the violence that the audience expects.". Furthermore, he made it abundantly clear that a hypothetical Expendables 4 will be rated R again. It looks like Stallone has realized that he once again needs to go back to the roots if he wants to win back his old school fans.


The Unrated Version

It looks like a fourth installment kicking it into high gear is absolutely necessary. The disenchantment regarding the PG-13 was huge, even though one was assured that it would be pretty close to an R which is also how the MPAA rated the movie at first and cuts were required in order to get the lower rating. For that matter, many fans were convinced there would be a harder version on Blu-ray and DVD. Something that equals the blood level to the first installments and reverses the alterations required for the lower rating. And indeed, Stallone did announce such an Unrated Version. He said: "Of course when we go to do the DVD, you’ll see all that. You know the "80 frames" and you'll say, 'oh, there it is'". The obviousness of his statement makes it clear just how important the financial aspect was for the theatrical release. But does this Unrated Version actually show what was missing before? Stallone has his own opinion on that:

 

Well, opinions differ on that question. Given the huge number of differences, 90% of them are violence-related (the remaining differences irritatingly affect the rather harshly critized Antonio Banderas character Galgo), one is almost tempted to agree. It reveals the wide spectrum of alterations, often only a few frames were cut which is typical to satisfy the MPAA. The hostiles may hit the ground after being hit but one does not see the actual impact of the bullets. Stabbing once is alright, more than once is not. More harmless alternate footage and even zooming in on a scene was also a part of reducing the violence to a level acceptable for the MPAA. It kind of reminds one of all the efforts made to get a rating suitable for the masses for the Brad Pitt zombie flick World War Z (comparison). There is one huge difference though: the discrepancy between basic theme and execution did not end up in a fatal box office result for the latter.

Other than that, the Unrated Version also contains longer action scenes during which for instance Jason Statham may show us some more of his tactical warfare skills. But what is really eye-catching is the almost complete lack of blood. Admittedly, some of the CGI blood in the previous installments was way over the top but it also emphasized the filmmakers' intention to position themselves against the often more harmless mainstream action. Keeping that in mind, the Unrated Version is a complete and utter disappointment. Those hoping for a higher body count and for seeing the bullets hit their targets should be satisfied. Anyone else, however, will not be satisfied because the movie simply looks too sterile, too clean. The subsequent match point to improve the overall perception was thrown away. In this regard, The Expendables 3 will always keep his status as a negative exception within this franchise.


Compared are the Theatrical Version (PG-13) and the Unrated Version (not rated) (both available on the US Blu-ray by Lionsgate).

93 differences, consisting of
71 extended scenes
16 scenes with alternate footage
3 extended scenes in the Theatrical Version
2 recuts
1 additional scene

The Unrated Version is 350.56 seconds or approx. 5 minutes and 51 seconds longer than the Theatrical Version.

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Extended Scene
0:01:58: In the Unrated Version, two more soldiers get hit by Gunnar.
1.2 sec



Alternate Footage
0:03:21: When the soldier gets hit in the car, the impact of the bullets make him flinch. That is exclusively in the Unrated Version. The Theatrical Version almost makes up for the time difference by starting the following him shot of him dropping backwards earlier.
Unrated Version 0.12 sec longer



Extended Scene
0:03:25: The first actual extended scene follows the scene with Christmas and the others sneaking around the car. They notice a hostile just ending his visit to the facilities and point their guns at the door. Christmas fires off some rounds and the hostile hits the ground with several hits to the chest. He has not pulled up his pants entirely.
18.24 sec



Extended Scene
0:03:43: The Unrated Version contains a few more frames of the soldier getting hit by a bullet (without bloodshed). Again, the Theatrical Version makes up for it with a more harmless shot from behind starting earlier.
Unrated Version 0.12 sec longer



Extended Scene
0:05:44: A soldier gets hit. Again, not a single drop of blood.
0.48 sec



Alternate Footage
0:15:12: Slightly alternate shot of Doc. Redundant.
Theatrical Version 1.84 Sec. longer


Alternate Footage
0:15:14: When Christmas stabs the soldier, the Unrated Version is more explicit. In the Theatrical Version, boxes are blocking the view.
Unrated Version 0.2 sec longer

Theatrical VersionUnrated Version



Extended Scene
0:15:15: In the Unrated Version, Christmas kills another guy with his knife.
0.88 sec



Alternate Footage
0:15:18: In the Unrated Version, another hostile falls off the screen. In the Theatrical Version, he does not. Also, Doc's dialog with Christmas that everything was under control is filmed slightly different plus Doc has one more line when he mumbles.
Unrated Version 5.4 sec longer



Extended Scene
0:15:42: When Doc enters the room and opens fire, he yells something in the Unrated Version before he starts shooting: "Happy new year, motherfuckers!". Barney makes a comment about that. In the Theatrical Version, Doc does not say anything. Nor does Barney.
2.92 sec



Alternate Footage
0:15:55: When Gunnar warns the team that there is still a hostile left, the Theatrical Version shows Gunnar and Hale Cesar on the boat. The Unrated Version on the other hand contains the actual hit (without bloodshed). And when the goon falls off the rooftop, the Theatrical Version is a few frames longer.
Theatrical Version 1.48 sec longer

Theatrical VersionUnrated Version



Alternate Footage
0:16:58: Doc slices the guard's throat (unbloody), then he sinks to the floor. The Unrated Version contains a close-up of that, the Theatrical Version a distance shot.
Unrated Version 0.28 sec longer

Theatrical VersionUnrated Version



Extended Scene
0:17:36: A few more frames in the Unrated Version after Doc killed the crane operator with his knife.
0.52 sec



Extended Scene
0:18:57: The soldier hit by Christmas' knife is going down in the Unrated Version.
0.96 sec



Extended Scene in the Theatrical Version
Theatrical Version: 0:19:05: The Theatrical Version contains a shot of Hale Cesar and Gunnar on the boat. Rather useless.
+ 0.88 sec


Extended Scene
0:19:39: Another soldier gets hit by bullets.
1.88 sec



Extended Scene
0:19:44: When Hale Cesar opens fire with Gatling Gun, the Unrated Version shows the hostiles getting hit.
2.16 sec



Extended Scene
0:19:48: Brutal. A further car explodes in the Unrated Version.
2 sec



Extended Scene
0:20:10: The soldier at the machine gun gets hit by a bullet.
0.2 sec



Extended Scene
0:20:11: The guy behind the car door gets hits by bullets.
1.04 sec



Extended Scene
0:20:12: His buddie at the driver's side shares the misfortune.
0.6 sec



Extended Scene
0:20:19: In the Unrated Version, Toll Road gets to kill some hostiles with the machine gun on the jeep.
4.04 sec



Extended Scene
0:21:15: Headshot with the MG.
0.8 sec



Extended Scene
0:21:37: Toll Road shoots another hostile.
2.92 sec



Alternate Footage
0:22:08: Only the Unrated Version contains a further bullet to the driver's head. The Theatrical Version contains alternate, more harmless footage without a further shot being fired.
no difference

Theatrical VersionUnrated Version



Extended Scene
0:22:13: The three soldiers get hit by bullets and fall off the jeep.
1.2 sec



Extended Scene
0:23:33: The two mercs on the jeep get hit by Christmas' bullets.
0.84 sec



Additional Scene
0:51:15: The Unrated Version contains a scene on the plane showing that the rookies are not that wet behind their ears anymore. The only relevant information here is that Stonebanks used to be Australian Special Forces back in the day.
52.16 sec



Recut
1:20:42: When Barney offers Galgo to get out, he says he loved to travel (only in the Theatrical Version). The scene is a bit earlier in the Unrated Version, when they get the plane moving. Also, Galgo is yacking longer. Moreover, he says the plane was big but he was old. When he asks about the other team members, Barney reveals to him it was just the two of them. Galgo thinks it is nuts (even though it takes guts). From that point on, the dialog in the Theatrical Version and Unrated Version are equal.
Unrated Version 17.08 sec longer



Extended Scene
1:25:25: Galgo gets to bug the group a little more. When they are en route with the jeep, he talks about another one of his old team members but then he turns to Gunnar's tattoo on which he is really keen.
27.28 sec



Extended Scene
1:35:49: A part of the team is under fire but the only one dying is a hostile.
3.36 sec



Extended Scene
1:35:58: Hostile: dead.
1.2 sec



Extended Scene
1:36:03: Two further foot soldiers get shot.
0.64 sec



Extended Scene
1:36:05: A few more frames of Luna's bullets hitting the hostile. Not worth mentioning.
0.32 sec



Extended Scene
1:36:07: Only the Unrated Version shows the soldier getting hit by buckshot.
0.8 sec



Extended Scene
1:36:08: Only in the Unrated Version, Barney shoots a hostile onscreen.
0.52 sec



Extended Scene
1:36:11: Two soldiers at the rope kick the bucket.
2.08 Sec.



Extended Scene
1:36:23: Bullet hits soldier, soldier dies.
1.64 sec



Extended Scene
1:36:29: Thorn hits a soldier in the chest.
1.12 sec



Alternate Footage
1:38:12: When Christmas wants to make sure Galgo is alright after he took a fall, he keeps yacking for an extended period in the Unrated Version. He is mumbling something about them being brothers now. The Theatrical Version is shorter here.
10.36 sec

Theatrical VersionUnrated Version



Extended Scene
1:39:31: The soldiers on the ground get shot by rounds fired from the chopper.
1.64 sec



Extended Scene
1:39:34: Ditto.
1.28 sec



Extended Scene
1:40:17: Soldiers near the explosion are taken out by bullets.
0.88 sec



Extended Scene
1:40:19: More impressions of dying soldiers on the ground.
1.32 sec



Recut
1:40:21: When the choppers approach the chopper with Drummer, Trench and Yin Yang, it is positioned a bit ealier in the Unrated Version. Also, Trench's comment "Look out for the chopper!" from the Theatrical Version is missing.
Theatrical Version 2 sec longer
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