PictureThe main beneficiary of the superbit treatment. This movie really must have represented a challenge to encode for DVD. With the camera and its subjects almost always in motion, it's possible this movie could have looked awful. At time of writing I didn't have a copy of the original DVD release to check against, but this superbit edition gives up an amazing performance. Framed at a (wider than normal) 2.40:1 and anamorphically enhanced, action looks gritty and, in parts, gorily realistic. The print itself has a fair amount of film-grain present but this just adds to the news-like realism of the movie. A reference quality transfer that just begs to be viewed on a large screen.
SoundI believe Black Hawk Down picked up an Oscar for best sound and, after listening to the track on this DVD, I can well believe it. Carrying both a Dolby digital 5.1 and DTS soundtrack (both in English; subtitles are available for other languages but no other spoken languages are included to preserve disc space) it was the Dolby Digital track I listened to. Again, I didn't have the original release to compare against, but what is present here is pretty much a reference quality mix. Dynamic and with very good use made of the split rears, the soundtrack really does draw you into the movie. Bullets, grenades, rockets and helicopters are all excellently placed spatially with moments that will make you duck as you hear incoming rounds and RPG fire. The score by Hans (Gladiator) Zimmer is also wonderfully presented here with many very well placed cues and a haunting main theme.
ExtrasThis being a superbit release there are simply no extras. Menus are also static and silent.
VerdictA frighteningly realistic portrayal of men in the front line who are simply trying to survive. In turns exhilarating and truly chilling it's a classic piece from Ridley Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer. If you have any interest in war films, or a movie documenting an example of the brutality of conflict in the 20th / 21st century this is a first rate transfer of a brutally gritty movie. Although this is now the third release of this movie on region 1 (with the standard and deluxe 3 disc editions having previously been released), you may still want to get hold of a copy of this superbit set for the excellent transfer and, if you are a convert, DTS soundtrack. Highly recommended.
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