3:10 to Yuma 4K Blu-ray Review

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Underrated remakes don't get much better than this.

by Casimir Harlow Oct 22, 2018 at 7:39 AM

  • SRP: £19.99

    3:10 to Yuma Film Review

    Elmore Leonard's short story was turned into a classic 1957 Western, but half a century later, James Mangold's remake proved to be its own minor modern classic.

    The late, great, Elmore Leonard was known for his razor-sharp dialogue exchanges, with his stories regularly making for memorable movie adaptations - think Out of Sight, Get Shorty and Jackie Brown. Despite the almost universal 'modern' settings to his stories, there's frequently been something quintessentially old school about his characters, which was never more apparent than in the outstanding modern Western TV series, Justified. There's another earlier short story in his oeuvre which was actually set in the Wild West though: 3:10 to Yuma; a simple story of a good man who, against all odds, undertakes to personally transport a wanted criminal to the titular train which is to take him to prison.

    The 1957 film built upon this basic structure, taking some dialogue and themes but having to craft a much broader picture out of the limited source material (it was, after all, just a short story), turning the book's deputy into a mere rancher; a good man whose moral impetus drives him to undertake a task which nobody else wants to touch, knowing it's an almost guaranteed suicide run with his charge's violent gang on the hunt.

    One of the most underrated quality remakes in existence.

    Whilst there's no doubt that the 1957 film is a classic, fifty years later and Mangold - who has had his fair share of modern gems in Copland, Identity and, most recently Logan - managed to add his own twists to the plotting (although both based on Leonard's short story, Mangold's is certainly the definition of a 'remake' as it borrowed the same ideas which were not present in the original story and which were put into the first adaptation to make it a more substantial narrative). Here, his main character of gang leader Ben Wade (played excellently by Russell Crowe) was never overtly called upon to murder innocent people in cold blood, making him a much more accessible, charming devil villain for an audience to get behind as Christian Bale's rancher Dan Evans tries to get him to the station on time. The interaction between Bale and Crowe is excellent, and the slow-build relationship that develops is all the more organic without that singular event which defined the same character of Wade in the 1957 original.

    What follows is a great little escape-and-evade, unlikely partners movie, as the two are forced to team up - of sorts - in order to stay alive, with Wade's gang, led by a merciless young Ben Foster (who has become a must-see in simply anything he does these days courtesy of films like Hell and High Water), hot on their trail and determined to free their leader at all costs. Seldom noted on any 'top remakes' lists, this is one of the most underrated quality remakes in existence.

    3:10 to Yuma 4K Picture

    3:10 to Yuma 3:10 to Yuma 4K Picture
    3:10 to Yuma was shot on film, but is capped by a 2K Digital Intermediate, which has been used here for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release.

    The disc presents a native 3840 x 2160p resolution image in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. It uses 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec.

    We reviewed the UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of 3:10 to Yuma on a LG 55B7 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED TV with an LG UP970 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

    A good upgrade.

    Lionsgate already brought this title to the format some 18 months ago in the US, so it's somewhat frustrating that UK fans had to wait all that time to get a 4K release on this side of the pond. Of course, sensible fans would have just imported the now very reasonably priced US disc, but those who waited for whatever reason can now enjoy the exact same disc available through national outlets.

    As a result of the availability, many will already know the quality of the disc, which is largely very good indeed, particularly given that it's a 2K upscale. It was already a great looking film on good old 1080p Blu-ray, so it's unsurprising really that it looks so good on Ultra HD disc, rendering the wide open ranges, the lavish vistas with a superb amount of rich clarity and tangible texture. Skin textures, suitably Western in terms of sun-burned sweaty grime, are rendered with fine observation, as are the battered clothes and old school revolvers.

    WCG and HDR help take this up a notch over the Blu-ray, rendering rich, deep browns, warmer hues and supreme blacks which allow for more impressive shadow detail. Grain is a tad variable, but mostly just lends the feature a suitably filmic texture and overall it's a good upgrade.

    3:10 to Yuma 4K Sound

    3:10 to Yuma 3:10 to Yuma 4K Sound
    3:10 to Yuma enjoys an upgrade on the aural front too, courtesy of an immersive DTS:X 3D HD audio track, besting the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track already available on the previous Blu-ray release, which forms the core foundation for the added layers of discrete object-based immersion.

    It's an impressive track.

    Dialogue remains firmly prioritised across the frontal array, clearly and coherently delivered throughout the piece, whilst the suitably sweeping score provides a thrumming intensity to the action sequences and warm but bittersweet undercurrents for the more thoughtful interactions, served up with keen usage of the surrounds and a little LFE backbone too.

    Of course, it's the effects that really sweep you into the maelstrom, from the blazing fire at the outset to the whipping winds in the open ranges, from the whistling train to the thunderous clops of galloping horses. And the booming gunshots ring out all around, perforating your living room and leaving you wholly involved in the key setpieces. It's an impressive track, and keenly matches up to the video upgrade.

    3:10 to Yuma 4K Extras

    3:10 to Yuma 3:10 to Yuma 4K Extras
    Lionsgate continue their laudable trend of porting the old Blu-ray extras over to the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc itself (admittedly, many 4K adopters assumed that this was a given for the new format, but clearly the studios thought better, with even new movies only coming with bare-bones 4K discs).

    Lionsgate continue their laudable trend of porting the old Blu-ray extras over to the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc.

    The extras are headlined by a Director's Commentary, supported by a slew of great little Featurettes looking at the making of the film, the Wild West setting, the impact of railways in the Old West, the period firearms used, key events from that period of history, and the tremendous score used for the film. The disc is rounded off by Deleted Scenes and Trailers.

    3:10 to Yuma 4K Verdict

    3:10 to Yuma 3:10 to Yuma 4K Verdict
    If you haven't already added this to your collection, now's the time to rectify that.

    3:10 to Yuma is a great little Western, retelling what was already a fabulous story with its own interesting twists on the source material, and delivering a great pair in Russell Crowe's loveable villain and Christian Bale's unimpeachable, everyman hero. Logan's James Mangold does superior work here, and it's a truly underrated remake.

    Adding to another Bale title recently released by them in 4K, American Psycho, the only disappointment is that it has taken 18 months for Lionsgate to make 3:10 to Yuma's 4K disc available in the UK, leaving it a bit of a niche title given that most fans would have likely imported the US disc by now. That said, with great video and audio, and a plethora of extras ported over to the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc itself, if you haven't already added this to your collection, then now's the time to rectify that.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99

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