Review: Black Hawk Down (4K)

The film takes place in 1993 when the U.S. sent special forces into Somalia to destabilize the government and bring food and humanitarian aid to the starving population. Using Black Hawk helicopters to lower the soldiers onto the ground, an unexpected attack by Somalian forces brings two of the helicopters down immediately. From there, the U.S. soldiers must struggle to regain their balance while enduring heavy gunfire.

Plot: 160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Director:  Ridley Scott

Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1

Runtime: 144 min

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Though it’s light on character development and cultural empathy, Black Hawk Downis a visceral, pulse-pounding portrait of war, elevated by Ridley Scott’s superb technical skill.

Online Ratings:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes 76%
  2. IMDB 7.7
  3. Metacritic 74

“Add this to your list of must-own 4K UHDs!”

Review:

This movie was shot with Arriflex camera’s on 35mm and ultimately given a native 4K Digital Intermediate. As per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in HDR10. When it comes to grain, there is quite a bit — everything from heavy, moderate to none at all. If you are a grain-hater, this may be too much for you. If that doesn’t bother you, don’t let the grain stray you away from how top notch this disc is. Every mark hits at the highest level — that means all the goodies; HDR & clarity & black levels. Another fantastic release from Sony.

When it comes the clarity and black levels, this disc is a massive jump from the Blu-ray. Most scenes are insanely detailed from up-close grit and grime to pores, wrinkles, sweat — the works. You can see what I’m talking about in Chapter 1 (almost immediately) when Garrison (Sam Shepard) is sitting in the room set for interrogation with Atto (George Harris). The amount of detail on the characters faces is in full-bloom, something the UHD format does best — and don’t forget that the black levels are so inky around them that they flow right off the screen — super impressive. Theses characteristics continues throughout most of the movie, even in the heat of battle.

Keeping with the acclaim, the HDR does something decisive as well. First, it gives off that well-known green tint that you can see throughout the movie on a new level. Second, most, if not all colors fly off the screen with a new level of pop and depth. Third, you will see everything in a new perspective from the tones in the soldiers skin, wore-torn uniforms, blood, various skies, surrounding environments, etc. It’s hard to pin-point this ideal in words, but let’s just say that this gritty war movie has finally got it’s time to shine on the best format available.

On top of all that I have to mention that the textures are also on a new level. You will see this on the various military uniforms — from the wear and tear on various pieces of armor to the characteristics of surrounding environment, including the rubble, rocks, dirt, sand, etc. It’s not as big of a ‘usual’ aspect compared to the mainstays of HDR, clarity & black levels — but on this disc, it really holds its own and adds to your viewing.

Black Hawk Down, still to this day, remains one of the top War films ever made… even though it’s been 18-years, nothing’s changed. With this treatment it will continue to hold its mark for the considerable future. It’s quite amazing what they have done with this film. Sony continues to kill the game when it comes remastering their movies and this hits all the right marks — they really have set the bar and other studios need to pay attention. After taking all of that in, you already know that this disc is highly recommended — easily add this to your list of must-own 4K UHDs!

Go grab a copy immediately.

Cheers,

Matt.