Black Hawk Down 4K SteelBook review

Nov 07, 2023- Permalink

Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down is a 2001 film about the Battle of Mogadishu. In 1993, as part of the UN operations in Somalia, the US deployed Rangers and Delta Force troops to capture warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, who was stealing Red Cross food shipments meant for the famine-starved citizens. When two Black Hawk helicopters crashed, the US forces on the ground suddenly found themselves outnumbered. The cast included Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner, Jason Isaacs, Sam Shepard, Jeremy Piven, Ioan Gruffudd, Ewen Bremner, Hugh Dancy, and Tom Hardy. Sony released a 4K of the film back in 2019, but this 2023 release now includes Dolby Vision HDR and a limited-edition SteelBook case. I had a chance to take a look.

The 2160p HEVC / H.265 encoded native 4K digital transfer with Dolby Vision and HDR10 is presented in a 2.38:1 aspect ratio. The 4K scan is from the original camera negative and we get both the theatrical and extended cuts in this release. The grain structure is well defined and detail is in abundance, from faces to battle-worn uniforms and locations. The colour palette leans towards monochromatic, with a lot of dusty yellows and greys. Black levels are deep and there’s no lack of detail in shadows and darker scenes, nor is there much evidence of banding and crushing. It’s an excellent transfer.

On the audio side of things, you have the choice of English Dolby Atmos soundtrack that folds down to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, as well as an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, French (Canada), French, Italian, Hungarian, Portuguese, Spanish (Castilian and Latin American), Russian and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are available for English, English SDH, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish. The soundscape is full of the action, with the sound of bullets, rockets, explosions and helicopters flying through the surrounds and height channels and placing your firmly n the scene. The subwoofer adds a powerful low end to the action as well. Dialogue is clear. A great audio presentation.

The 4K SteelBook of Black Hawk Down comes with three discs: The theatrical and extended cut on 4K, the theatrical cut on Blu-ray and a Blu-ray disc full of extras. There is also a digital code. The bonus features include audio commentary by director/producer Ridley Scott and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, audio commentary by author Mark Bowden and screenwriter Ken Nolan, audio commentary by Task Force Ranger veterans, “The Essence of Combat: Making Black Hawk Down” documentary, The History Channel Presents: “The True Story of Black Hawk Down”, PBS Presents: “Frontline: Ambush in Mogadishu”, eight deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary, “Designing Mogadishu” featurette, production design archive, storyboards with optional commentary, Ridleygrams with optional commentary, Target Building Insertion: Multi-Angle sequence with optional commentary, Q&A Forums: BAFTA. Motion Picture Editor’s Guild and American Cinematheque, Jerry Bruckheimer’s BHD photo album, title design explorations with optional commentary, “Gortoz A Ran – J’Attends” music video by Denez Prigent & Lisa Gerrard, photo galleries, theatrical poster concepts, trailer, and TV spots.

The Black Hawk Down 4K SteelBook combines a powerful war film with excellent audio and video and a plethora of extras, all in a collectible SteelBook case. Recommended.