'Anna' [4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital]
(Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2019 / LGF)
Overview: Beneath Anna Poliatova's striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world's most feared government assassins.
An electrifying thrill ride unfolding with propulsive energy, startling twists and breathtaking action, 'Anna' introduces Sasha Luss in the title role with a star-studded cast including Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren.
4K Blu-ray Verdict: Lionsgate Films is expanding their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this month with the release of the recently announced ‘Lock Up' in the new 4K home video format on September 24th, 2019.
For my money, this 'Anna: 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 'Anna' 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: 4K (2160p), HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10, Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, and 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.
None more so than when the tunnel redness "soaks" not only over, but seemingly into Anna in her early car ride. It's moments like that, pure art, if you will, that make this 4K presentation so nicely suffused that it's hard to not want to rewind it and pause it.
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 within most all of the now infamous one-shot scene in the restaurant where Anna really comes into her own lethal killing machine self! The gold walls of the expensive hang out soon get hazed in blood and bullets, but, and once again, before the mayhem it's a beautiful scene of art, for sure.
As for the audio, well, we have: English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby, TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), and Spanish: Dolby Digital 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.
As the movie opens, we are told it is "Moscow 1985", when a number of people are rounded up by the KGB and presumably killed.
We then go to "5 Years Later", when a French guy looking for the next super-model by happenstance runs into Anna at a market, and promptly offers her a modeling job in Paris.
Anna is more than happy to accept and escape her bleak existence in Moscow. During her first modeling job, Anna makes the acquaintance of another Russian guy.
At this point we are 10 minutes into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, so you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out!
That said, this is the latest film from veteran French writer-director Luc Besson, who has quasi-trademarked the action movie with strong female lead genre, all the way back to 'Nikita' in 1990 (yes, almost thirty years ago!).
Here he once again pairs up with Russian model-turned-actress Sasha Luss (who also starred in Besson's previous movie, the big budget sci-fi 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets').
The movie's plot is as confusing as it is basically irrelevant. We watch things unfold without having any idea why (Does the KGB really need one of their agents to become a super-model to achieve what they want to achieve? And, Why is the KGB targeting certain people? etc.).
This is best encapsulated in the pivotal restaurant scene 40 minutes into the movie (and also featured prominently in the movie's trailer), where Anna needs to take out a guy, but things go wrong and she ends up fighting everyone in the restaurant!
Sasha Luss is nothing short of a formidable fighting machine, in a highly choreographed ballet-like fight to the death, while of course looking drop-dead gorgeous all along.
Frankly, the movie is a mess, but always a beautiful mess that simply has to be watched to be fully admired. Helen Mirren is wickedly fun as the KGB supervisor also, but that you could have guessed without having seen her on screen!
In closing, 'Anna' is another bug budget movie (for European standards) and looks and feels that way, with gorgeous scenery and photography throughout.
It is no accident that this movie is set in the 1985-1990 era, as it seems that Besson is doing exactly the same in 'Anna' that he was doing in 1990's 'Nikita'.
Basically, time has stood still, apparently, and whereas 'Anna' is definitely far too long at nearly two hours I still enjoyed each and every one of the fight scenes the lead was involved in (think 'Atomic Blonde').
As for the slew of Special Features included, well, the stand out for me by a long shot is ;Anatomy of a Scene: Restaurant Fight.' Oh boy, does this reveal so much more about how they got the one shot, from all its angles.
A real gem of a featurette another good one is 'Unnesting a Russian Doll: Making Anna,' where we get to not only know more about Sasha Luss (who I personally know next to nothing about beforehand) and how she was "turned" into her deadly character of "Anna."
This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY / DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
• “Dressing a Doll: Costumes of Anna” Featurette
• “Anatomy of a Scene: Restaurant Fight” Featurette
• “Unnesting a Russian Doll: Making Anna” Featurette
• “Constructing the Car Chase” Featurette
The 'Anna' 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD releases September 24th, 2019 and will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.99, $24.99, and $19.98, respectively.
Official 'Anna' Trailer