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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > War > WWII > History > Hacksaw Ridge (2016/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

Hacksaw Ridge (2016/Lionsgate Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

Picture: A-/B Sound: A- Extras: B Film: B-

Mel Gibson returns to the directing chair for Hacksaw Ridge - a war film that is based on the true story of WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, and refused to not fire a firearm in battle but instead help save lives. While the character and themes are compelling, the film tends to blur the lines of believably as it progresses almost turning Doss into a super human solider by the time the film is through. One sequence involving a bomb getting kicked back is almost humorous in the face of battle yet still a strong performance by Andrew Garfield as Doss and a strong supporting cast makes its respectable. All in all, Hacksaw Ridge flourishes during most of its cinematic battle sequences but falls into safer filmmaking tropes in the scenes where its not.

The film also stars Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), Sam Worthington (Avatar), Hugo Weaving (The Matrix Trilogy), and Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers) to name a few.

Desmond T. Doss (Garfield) is a kind hearted man, whose strong will has got him through a rough childhood with his retired military Father (Weaving). When the time comes to enlist in World War II, Doss has just found his true love (Palmer) and plans to get married. But after his brother enlists, Doss decides that he can't be content to stay at home while men his own age are out fighting for his Great Nation. Doss enlists with the intention of becoming an Army Medic, and goes as far as to even refuse to train and use a firearm in battle. While at first butting heads with the Military over this radical way of thinking, he soon proves his worth tenfold when he ends up saving over 70 lives in battle and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

It's nice to see Gibson telling a bloody story like this for the big screen and I'm happy that he has found his good graces back in the Hollywood Studio System. Despite what you may or may not think of Gibson's personal beliefs, there is no doubt that he is a talented actor and filmmaker that isn't afraid to tell a R-rated story with drama and gore to get his points across, as was evident in his previous directorial efforts Braveheart, Apocalypto, and The Passion of the Christ.

Presented in 4K Ultra HD 2160p with HDR (high dynamic range 10-bit color, Hacksaw Ridge is demo disc worthy with a jaw dropping 4K (2160p) presentation and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 that is perhaps a bit too perfect. Some scenes are so crystal clear that you can tell where the digital matte paintings are and some digital effects (namely scenes involving Battleships) look especially phony. As far as character details go, you really can't ask for more detail than is evident here as the lush cinematography lends itself well to this groundbreaking new format. As for the Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless sound mix (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) core), the war scenes particularly shine with a mix so loud and clear it will make your couch seats rumble.

The 1080p HD presentation on Blu-ray disc is not quite as great as the 4K, but still gets the job done with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and the same audio as the 4K UHD disc. A digital copy of the film is also included.

Special Features:

The Soul of War: Making Hacksaw Ridge Documentary

Veterans Day Greeting with Mel Gibson

Deleted Scenes

While nominated for several Academy Awards this season as well as Golden Globes, Hacksaw Ridge is up there with other Hollywood War films of current times while it doesn't quite hit the mark the way Saving Private Ryan did. Still, fans of War genre films will certainly want to check this out, as will cinephiles with 4K UHD players as this truly is a demo disc.

- James Lockhart



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