Black Hawk Down (Blu-ray)
A- Sound: A- Extras: B Film: B+
Scott’s Black Hawk Down (2001) was
one of the few hits in the new War genre cycle that was building in the late
1990s. Besides a strong script, great
action that makes you feel like you are there without being phony or
“videogame/amusement part ride” phony about it, it was a work worthy of the few
War films before that were unflinching in their portrayal of events.
been such fans of the film that we did a rare comparison of no less than three
versions of the film, including a Superbit import that played on U.S. machines:
critic nailed what makes the film work, so I do not need to repeat what he has
said, but will say that it is no surprise that this holds up so well and has
been over-imitated (usually for the worse) many times since. The problem with the previous versions is
that they would either have great sound and no audio commentaries or vice
versa. This new 50GB Blu-ray from Sony
has both and offers most of the extras from the other sets. So how does this play?
of the best titles in Blu-ray, Black
Hawk Down reminds me of Training Day
and The Bourne Supremacy in the
HD-DVD format (Day is not as good in
Blu-ray) as a dark film even featuring some stylized/degraded shots as part of
the visual driving of the narrative. The
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image was shot in Super 35mm by Slawomir
Idziak and the reproduction of that image here makes even the best aspects of
the Superbit editions pale in comparison.
You can definitely see that any distortion is intended as picture
reproduction is solid throughout.
the sound, including one of Hans Zimmer’s better scores of late, The Dolby
Digital 5.1 mix is here from the previous DVDs, but no DTS is here. Instead of being disappointed however, there
is an equally amazing PCM 5.1 mix with the same punch as the standard DTS from
the Superbit editions that is as good as any soundtrack we have heard in this
format to date. The film was a
7.1/8-channel Sony Dynamic Digital Sound theatrical release and you can sure
hear it here. The combination delivers
the “WOW” factor that Blu-ray is supposed to and as compared to the competent
but ultimately forgettable S.W.A.T.
(also reviewed on this site and another Blu-ray from Sony), Black Hawk Down just blows it away.
include the three audio commentaries from before, the 150-minutes long Essence Of Combat piece dubbed a
featurette but is more like a documentary and the disc has the exclusive
Blu-Wizard feature that makes accessibility to the film smoother and easier
than ever. Obviously, the Korean
Superbit DVD has more extras and maybe we’ll see some kind of expanded Blu-ray
for this always-hot title, but this is easily one of the best Blu-ray releases
to date and could go a few rounds with the best titles so far in the HD-DVD
interesting is how cast members Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, Ioan
Gruffudd and Orlando Bloom have become larger stars and actors with potential
to go on to greater success like Brendan Sexton III (so good in Love, Ludlow, reviewed on the site too)
helps to make this one of the best ensemble cast films of recent years. Veterans like Jason Issacs, Tom Sizemore and
Sam Shepard (who wrote a little dialogue) also help. The resulting chemistry in Scott’s hands
creates an important film that will only grow in reputation as audiences slowly
catch up with what Scott accomplishes here.
- Nicholas Sheffo