Black Hawk Down 4K Blu-ray Review
By Chris Heinonen on
Black Hawk Down Summary
From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (The Martian) and renowned producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pearl Harbor) comes the gripping true story about bravery, camaraderie and the complex reality of war.
BLACK HAWK DOWN stars an exceptional cast including Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor and Eric Bana. In 1993, an elite group of American Rangers and Delta Force soldiers are sent to Somalia on a critical mission to capture a violent warlord whose corrupt regime has led to the starvation of hundreds of thousands of Somalis. When the mission goes quickly and terribly wrong, the men find themselves outnumbered and literally fighting for their lives.
Black Hawk Down Movie Review
When the events of Black Hawk Down occurred, I remember it happening but only in the vaguest of details. I was certainly old enough to watch the news but at the age that I didn’t care much, so I came into the film with only a vague idea of the events. Watching the film, you see a chain of events unfold in front of you that you realize is going to happen. Everyone is a bit too relaxed about how things have been going, and expect their mission to be over in an hour or two. They don’t prepare as well as they should and don’t bring in the full firepower they need to. These combine with an enemy that is waiting for them to come and results in a horrible situation.
The majority of the film takes place on the battlefield and can quickly become confusing if you don’t pay full attention. The chaos and confusion of the film fits, as it tries to make you feel as out-of-control as the participants likely felt. Even at close to 2.5 hours, the film doesn’t feel as long as it goes so quickly once the battle starts. Black Hawk Down was an intense watch, but one that is well done and that I can see myself watching again.
Black Hawk Down Technical Review
Black Hawk Down was shot on 35mm film using the Super35 process and was given a new 4K transfer for this release. Having not seen the film in theaters, I’m left to make a few assumptions about the way the film was shot and stylistic points that the director was after. The overall image here is just fantastic. Darker scenes suffer from more grain due to Super35, but bright scenes are just fantastic. The image has lots of very saturated colors, and sometimes this over-saturated look results in a bit of loss of shadow details in very dark areas. Based on the overall look of the film, I tend to believe this is a stylistic choice and not a flaw in the transfer, so it isn’t something I’d deduct for.
The opening scene also is a bit hazy and lacking in detail, but since other later scenes mimic this look, I think it’s just a stylistic choice. HDR is used well, though you can see the flaws of HDR with film transfers. A small explosion will be great, with a bright spot of fire on the screen that stands out against a darker background. But the very next cut has a larger, brighter explosion that isn’t quite as bright and is more washed out because of being a film transfer. That said, the image here is just wonderful and will not look any better than it does today (Super35 lacks the resolution for much more than 4K typically). More 35mm films should look this good.
The soundtrack has been redone in Dolby Atmos and is superb as well. Much of the film is taking place in battle with people firing all around and the soundtrack does a great job with this. Dialogue is easy to understand despite everything that is going on, and the subwoofer gets a serious workout from everything that is happening. Just like with the video, I see nothing here to take away from the audio transfer quality, and the movie has never sounded better than it does here.
Black Hawk Down Special Features
- Both Theatrical and Extended Versions of the Film
- Theatrical Version of the Film
- Audio Commentary by Director / Producer Ridley Scott & Producer Jerry Bruckheimer
- Audio Commentary by Author Mark Bowden & Screenwriter Ken Nolan
- Audio Commentary by Task Force Ranger Veterans
- “The Essence of Combat: Making Black Hawk Down” Documentary
- The History Channel Presents: “The True Story of Black Hawk Down”
- PBS Presents: “Frontline: Ambush in Mogadishu”
- 8 Deleted & Alternate Scenes with Optional Commentary
- “Designing Mogadishu” Featurette
- Production Design Archive
- Storyboards with Optional Commentary
- Ridleygrams with Optional Commentary
- Target Building Insertion: Multi-Angle Sequence with Optional Commentary
- Q&A Forums: BAFTA. Motion Picture Editor’s Guild & American Cinematheque
- Jerry Bruckheimer’s BHD Photo Album
- Title Design Explorations with Optional Commentary
- “Gortoz A Ran – J’Attends” Music Video performed by Denez Prigent & Lisa Gerrard
- Photo Galleries
- Theatrical Poster Concepts
- Trailer & TV Spots
Black Hawk Down Review System
Sony A1E OLED, Panasonic UB820 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver, Power Sound Audio Subwoofer.
Fantastic image and audio quality with a new 4K transfer and Dolby Atmos soundtrack, very well done story.
Could have Dolby Vision? But not much otherwise.
Black Hawk Down has never looked or sounded this good and the 4K Blu-ray from Sony shows how much movies can benefit from getting a new 4K transfer and release.