American Sniper 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue Issue 273, May/June 2024

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
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Strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-100)
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Clint Eastwood
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In "American Sniper," Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), exhibits skills as a sniper, which made him a hero on the battlefield. But there was much more to him than his skill as a sharpshooter. Kyle is sent to Iraq with only one mission: to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield, and as stories of his courageous exploits spread, he earns the nickname “Legend.” However, his reputation is also growing behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. He is also facing a different kind of battle on the home front: striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world. Despite the danger, as well as the toll on his family at home, Kyle serves through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq, personifying the spirit of the SEAL creed to “leave no one behind.” But upon returning to his wife, Taya (Miller), and kids, Kyle finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind. Based on the book by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. (Gary Reber)

Special features include tsix featurettes: "One Soldier’s Story: The Journey Of American Sniper" (HD 31:04), "Chris Kyle: The Man Behind The Legend" (HD 20:21), "Clint Eastwood: A Cinematic Legacy –– The Heart Of A HeroZ" (HD 15:22), "Navy SEALs: In War And Peace" (HD 29:49), "Bringing The War Home: The Cost Of Heroism" (HD 20:40) and "The Making Of American Sniper" (HD 28:30) upfront previews, and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The 2.40:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 4K Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a VIZIO Quantum X P85QX-JI UHD/HDR display, was photograph digitally in anamorphic Panavision® using the Arri Alexa XT camera system and sourced from an upscaled 4K Digital Intermediate. The picture appears slightly improved compared to the previous Blu-ray reviewed in Issue 198 (July/August 2015). Image quality appears realistic throughout with a slightly flat and pasty appearance in some scenes, which imparts a gritty look. Colors range from generally natural to slightly desaturated as with the Blu-ray. With numerous segments situated in shadowy dark urban areas, shadow delineation is excellent. Flesh tones appear generally natural. Other aspects of HDR contrast are good as well, such as black levels and white levels. Resolution is generally good but not extremely detailed. Overall, the picture is generally fine looking but not particularly stellar, as one would expect. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is a replacement of the Blu-ray's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack, which is mis-credited as a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. As previously reviewed it is most often frontal focused, with good stereo separation of atmospherics and sound effects. The soundfield is energized during the more intense battle scenes with aggressively directionalized sound effects such as gunfire, heavy armored vehicle movements, and jet flyovers occupying all eight ear-level channels. The presence of light gunfire in the background additionally supports the sense of realism. But otherwise the focus is frontal, with dialogue generally well integrated spatially. There is an extremely limited music score with rhythmic segments and a trumpet playing taps. Deep bass, during battle scenes, is energized in the .1 LFE channel. The scene during the strong sand storm is energized with intense SPL and complete all-channel envelopment. But, except for the battle scenes, the soundtrack is far too limited to the front channels, ignoring the potential of the four surround channels.

There is effectively no Immersive Sound element except for two very brief instances of height layer activity, one of distant aircraft and the other during the sand storm intense battle. Obviously, there was no effort to create a height layer.

Otherwise, the ear-level holosonic® presentation imparts good realism and dynamic energy during the battle scenes. (Gary Reber)