Brawl In Cell Block 99 4K UltraHD

WSR Score4
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RLJI Films
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(MPAA Rating):
Not Rated
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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(Running Time In Minutes):
132 Minutes
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(THX® Digitally Mastered):
S. Craig Zahler
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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In "Brawl In Cell Block 99," Bradley (Vaughn), a former boxer, loses his job as an auto mechanic and his troubled marriage is about to expire. At the crossroads in his life, he feels that he has no better option than to work for an old buddy as a drug courier. This improves his situation until the terrible day that he finds himself in a gunfight between a group of police officers and his own ruthless allies. When the smoke clears, Bradley is badly hurt and thrown in prison, where his enemies force him to commit acts of violence that turn the place into a savage battleground. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the making-of featurette "Journey To The Brawl" (HD 15:10), a Beyond Fest Q&A with cast and crew (HD 31:31), and upfront previews.

The 1.85:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been upconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. Picture quality is excellent, with at times a stylized appearance and intriguing production design. While the early scenes take place in an urban setting and are naturally rendered, once the picture setting shifts to prison scenes the color palette really appears institution with green and blue hues. Once at the Redleaf prison, the imagery gets darker and more sinister, especially in the scenes of Bradley's cell. Color fidelity appears to be accurate with natural blues and orange prisoner garb and natural fleshtones. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks exhibited in guard uniforms and bright highlights in outdoor light and interior spot lighting, with an excellent range of shadow delineation. Rendering shadow delineation is critical in viewing, especially in cell block 99 and other segments. No HDR encoding is credited nor, strangely, is there any HDR10 credit at the start. Still, with the excellent cinematography, whether real 2160p HDR or not, the imagery is impressive. Resolution is excellent, with fine detail exhibited throughout, especially during close-ups of facial features, hair, clothing and object texture, such as the fine textures of prison walls and floors. A WOW! segment begins at 01:29:32 and ends at 01:30:40. Another is from 01:34:08 to 01:35:23. This is a dramatically effective picture that is a mesmerizing and tense experience. (Gary Reber)

Unfortunately, this is not a DTS:X, Dolby Atmos or Auro-3D Immersive Sound soundtrack, but a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack. The sonics are incredibly well produced with realistic atmospherics throughout, as well as sound effects, such as gunfire and all manner of Foley sound effects. Surround energy is most subtle but with convincing ambience. Dialogue spatial integration is excellent, especially during dialogue spoken in the Red Leaf prison and the natural reverberation. Music is pretty limited to pop selections and brief segments of electronic instrumentation but extends to the surrounds. Deep bass is limited as well, but when used effectively gives weight to the segments.

With the native soundtrack being limited to 5.1 channels, when Auro-3D AuroMatic is engaged, the channels are expanded to 11.1 with an effective Immersive Sound presence. The overheads now create a sense of heightened ambience and sound effects, such as voices suggesting volume of location, bird sounds, a boat engine, police sirens, gunfire, breaking of arm and leg, and crushing of heads, fist punches, an electric shock screeching sound, bodies shoved against walls, and the extended music. Impressively, the height extension really enhances the sense of spatial and spherical volume and the transient impact of sound effects. This is a perfect soundtrack to experience how AuroMatic creates an effective, virtually constant holosonic® spherical experience. Both DTS Neural:X and Dolby Surround also project an Immersive Sound presence but not quite as effective. With AuroMatic there is a constant overhead presence and with good SPL weight. (Gary Reber)