Based on the book by Mark Bowden, "Black Hawk Down" is the harrowing true story of a group of elite American soldiers sent into Somalia in 1993 as part of a U.N. peacekeeping incursion. Their mission is to abduct several top lieutenants of a Somalian warlord as part of a strategy to quell the civil war that is tearing the country to pieces. When the mission goes terribly wrong, the soldiers find themselves in the middle of the biggest U.S. military firefight since its involvement in Vietnam. The incident is a long, seemingly drawn-out depiction but helps the viewer understand the horrible night that these soldiers were forced to endure. (Suzanne Hodges)
Both the theatrical version (02:24:18) and the extended version (02:31:50) of the film are available. Special features include three audio commentary tracks: one with Author Mark Bowden and Screenwriter Ken Nolan, another with Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Director Ridley Scott, and a third track with U.S. Special Task Force Ranger Veterans. "The Essence Of Combat: Making Black Hawk Down" is an astounding 151-minute chaptered documentary that covers story and character development, military orientation, shooting locations, scoring the film, and visual effects. Other special features include "On The Set " (HD 24:08) "The History Channel Presents: "he True Story Of Black Hawk Down" (HD 01:31:35), "PBS Presents: Frontline: Ambush In Mogadishu" (HD 55:02), "Questions & Answer Forums" and "Target Building Insertion" (HD 05:44); eight deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary (HD 20:01); the music video: "Denez Prigent & Lisa Gerrard: Gortoz A Ran-J'Attends" (HD 03:54); photo galleries; theatrical poster concepts; theatrical trailer and TV spots; and a Movies Anywhere digital code. There is also the Blu-Wizard on the Blu-ray Disc, which lets you customize the way you watch the special features to provide a unique viewing experience, allowing you to put the content in context within the film.
The 2.35:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed Super 35 on Eastman and Kodak Vision film stock using the Arriflex 35-IIC, Arriflex 435 ES, Moviecam Compact and Moviecam SL camera systems and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. Both versions of the film feature newly remastered 4K transfers from the original camera negative approved by Director Ridley Scott. Film grain is virtually non-existent. The heavily stylized picture matches its storytelling well, with a gritty color palette and highly contrasted imagery. The picture exhibits intense grittiness with sweat-covered faces throughout, all of which conveys a very realistic war experience, caked in dangerous conditions and settings. Color fidelity is excellent and at times stylized. Colors are naturally saturated throughout with excellent hue delineations, including fleshtones. HDR contrast is excellent with bright white highlights, deep black levels, and revealing shadows. Resolution is superb throughout with fine detail exhibited in building facades, uniforms, gear, dirt and dust, white and black smoke, shells, fire, rubble and debris, blood-soaked wounded and dead, blood-stained faces, and so much more. Even the night scenes are dynamic with effective spotlighting and realism. This is an incredibly intense visual experience on a very large scale that delivers an unnerving emotional impact. (Gary Reber)
The repurposed Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is incredibly dynamic and powerful. Of course, sound effects are prominent with a lot of combat fighting, with bullets ricocheting everywhere and their shell casings bouncing off concrete pavement and facades as well as rocket fire and grenades shattering their targets. Black Hawk helicopter pans occupy the soundfield with intense rotary blade sounds. Atmospherics are realistic throughout with an overall sense of mayhem. Dialogue is impressively well presented with superb spatial integration. Hans Zimmer's music score is spectacular, dynamic, and spatially enveloping with a rhythmic presence throughout, with an aggressive extension to the four surrounds. Surround energy is intense and directionalized with respect to atmospherics, sound effects, and occasional dialogue. Deep bass is extended to sub-25 Hz frequencies with intense .1 LFE energy. Foley sound effects are exceptional. The soundtrack sounds very realistic, with natural frequency response and excellent dynamics. This is truly the reference holosonic® repurposed soundtrack. (Gary Reber)