The Expendables 2
Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99
Available on VOD beginning Nov. 20
Doubling down on what worked just fine two years ago, this sequel brings back Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and adds Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme to the roster of action veterans paying homage to the big, dumb guns-and-bombs flicks of the 1980s. The plot this time has the team of mercenaries losing one of their own and exacting revenge, but "plot" isn't really the point of either of the "Expendables" movies; the idea is to show buff, beloved old stars, swapping quips and bullets while running in slow-motion ahead of explosions. The big difference with the second movie is that Stallone abandons the director's chair to Simon West, who has more experience making a blockbuster shoot-em-up look as slick as it's supposed to. The DVD and Blu-ray add a commentary track by West, and a 20-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.
Ken Burns' The Dust Bowl
PBS, $24.99; Blu-ray, $29.99
Arriving on DVD and Blu-ray one day after it finishes airing on PBS, Ken Burns' two-part, four-hour documentary makes a fine follow-up to Burns' recent docu-series "Prohibition." Just as "Prohibition" was ultimately about the hubris of a grass-roots movement to legislate morality, so "The Dust Bowl" is about how financial speculation and a disregard for the balance of nature led to an ecological and economic disaster in the 1930s. Burns and his team tell the story of those who weathered the storm and those who fled, with stunning pictures and the voices of some of the survivors. Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray include further interviews and deleted segments.