'Rambo: 4K Ultra HD'
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(Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / (2008) 2019 / Lionsgate Films)
Overview: The ultimate American action hero returns – with a vengeance!
After spending several years in northern Thailand operating a longboat on the Salween River, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) reluctantly agrees to carry a group of Christian missionaries into war-torn Burma.
But when the aid workers are captured by ruthless Nationalist Army soldiers, Rambo leads a group of battle-scarred, combat-hardened mercenaries on an epic, last-ditch mission to rescue the prisoners – at all costs.
4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate Films continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the widely-beloved Stallone classic, 'Rambo' in the new 4K home video format on September 3rd, 2019.
For my money, this 'Rambo: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is 'Rambo' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy.
Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265; Resolution: Native 4K (2160p); HDR: HDR10; Aspect ratio: 2.35:1;
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.
Featuring Dolby Vision and HDR10 for brighter, deeper, and way more lifelike colors, as with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features these qualities - but somehow, this film gloriously shines within them all.
Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like in the forest hunt scenes, as Rambo stalks/captures his protagonists one by one. It just all comes more vividly to life now there in the forest. Which is amazing to see, in truth.
Indeed, the picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out the aforementioned extremely fine facial and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes, much like the brutal final scene battle between braw, steel and nerve - lot alone a crap ton of weapons and bullets and shells) now have a kind of honeyed amber appearance. Which is interesting, and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.
As for the audio, well we have: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.
Additionally, the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray feature Dolby Atmos® immersive audio mixed specifically for the home, to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.
Overall, this is a very strong 4K HDR Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, thrilling and moving in equal measures, Rambo returns to war and to rescue American prisoners here in the fourth installment.
John Rambo lives in Vietnam as a guide of the river, he makes a living collecting snakes for a sport for the villagers. There is a huge war going on, a civil war, where the Vietnamese are brutally killing villagers if not taking their boys and making them into soldiers, and violently raping their women.
When a peace group who is convinced that they will change everyone's ways asks John to bring them into the war, they go into more than they expected when they are captured. John has to go back into action to save their lives and bring them back home safely.
I remember the first time that I saw 'First Blood', I thought it was going to be a typical silly action movie, but it turned into one of the best action movies I had seen.
I remember watching the sequels and growing to like Stallone's take on John Rambo. But here we are now knee deep in 'Rambo 4' and for my money this is seriously still the best action movie in years!
I couldn't believe how incredible this movie was. Brutal and terrifying in equal measures, but with a great and solid story line to boot.
Sylvester Stallone still has it here and hasn't lost his edge at all - which bodes well for the upcoming 'Rambo: Last Blood,' of course.
The movie's message is a powerful one, striking at the heart with the most aspiring of the holy emotions. The film depicts accurately the most extreme forms of human barbarity (short of cannibalism) and does not pull any punches in doing so.
However, the true message of the film expands into multiple parts as the storyline progresses, including John's own realization of what life means to him - giving him "the reason" that he has been searching for in his life.
This ultimately leads to the completion of his own journey. It also focuses on the striking difference between those of us in civilized culture and those who have endured or witnessed such cruelty, bringing home a truth that at the heart of man is the beast - and we must be ever vigilant in our own culture here at home as to not allow the display of this beast to ever become acceptable.
Through this, the film's two strongest messages become clear - that violence is necessary to defeat violence, and that the blessings we shroud ourselves in here in this country were paid for by the blood of many - a truth that has since been almost forgotten and replaced with naïve logic that is only true within the "bubble" of this nation's blessed Post-WWII life.
In closing, when you see these kind of movies on your TV screen, you're instantly transported back to your childhood and you can't help but cheer on these iconic figures you grew up on.
There were several points in 'Rambo' where myself and others gathered erupted into applause for, which in my experience is a very rare thing in my front room!
It's not too often that a movie can get you so emotionally involved that you clap or cheer, but 'Rambo' has had a lot of people doing just that for the past decade (and further).
Anyway, that's that, for the most part, so now let's concentrate on the 4K Ultra HD's special features. As a lot have already been reviewed down the years, the ones I'll choose to overview are the best value, for my take.
Running at a solid 19 minutes, "It’s a Long Road: Resurrection of an Icon" is a brilliant, quite wonderful look into the making on set of this latest 'Rambo' installment. Containing jungle explosions and fights, one-on-one interviews with Stallone and the crew, this is easily one of the best of the special features.
The near-11 minute featurette "Legacy of Despair: The Real Struggle In Burma" is an eyeopener, that's for sure as it details why Stallone himself sought out the "worst hell hole on the planet" to film and shoot this movie in.
As mentioned, a lot of the other special features have been seen and reviewed before, and most at length, but the one that I will end with is a fascinating "A Score to Settle: The Music of Rambo" which at just over six minutes showcases how composer Bryan Tyler mixed and matched his music with the actions on screen.
Available for the First Time on 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack and including Dolby Vision™, this is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the aforementioned Special Features of:
4K UDH SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Audio Commentary with Sylvester Stallone (Theatrical Cut Only)
• “It’s a Long Road: Resurrection of an Icon” Featurette
• “A Score to Settle: The Music of Rambo” Featurette
• “The Art of War: Completing Rambo” Multi-Part Featurette
• “The Weaponry of Rambo” Featurette
• “A Hero’s Welcome: Release and Reaction” Featurette
• “Legacy of Despair: The Real Struggle In Burma” Featurette
• “Rambo: To Hell & Back” Director’s Production Diary
• Deleted Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer
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