Red (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Entertainment One
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (13th October 2013).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

Frank (Willis) is a former black-ops CIA agent living a quiet life alone... until the day a hit squad shows up to kill him.

With his identity compromised, Frank reassembles his old team - Joe (Freeman), Marvin (Malkovich) and Victoria (Mirren) - and sets out to prove that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Stand back and watch the bullets fly in this explosive action-comedy that critics call a rip-roaring good time.

Retired. Extremely Dangerous

Video

Entertainment One released RED in the United Kingdom locality in the original aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The transfer is 1080p and uses an AVC MPEG-4 codec. It isn't quite reference material, but the transfer is very good.

Shot on 35mm using Arricam and Arriflex cameras, it does appear as though the print has been cleaned up a little too well, with only a very small amount of natural film grain running throughout. It hasn't been overly done though, and has avoided looking unnatural and waxy. Colours are great; blacks are deep, and whites clean. Skintones are perhaps a smidge dark at times, but detail in facial close-ups is perfect. In fact, detail everywhere is of a very high standard, from clothes, to the locations and environments. As should be expected for such a recent feature, there are no signs of print damage such as scratches, dirt or blemishes.

The disc is locked to region B, and the feature runs 111:09.

Audio

There is a single audio option available here:
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Being a movie with a lot of action, the track can be quite aggressive. During any scene with large amounts of gunfire, directionality is surprisingly accurate and the surrounds are put to good use. Explosions utilise the LFE well, never being overly enthusiastic, and remaining 'realistic'. In contrast, the more relaxed, dialogue heavy scenes, make full (but subtle) use of the surrounds for simple effects such as wind, distant chatter, and chirping wildlife. Most notable scene for the more subtle effects would be when Bruce Willis is sneaking around the house of CIA agent Karl Urban. Dialogue is clear at all times, volume levels are consistent, and there are no dropouts or scratches.

Optional subtitles are available in English HoH.

Extras

The first extra is an audio commentary with retired CIA Field Agent Robert Baer. This is an interesting track that differs from your usual cast and crew affair, dealing with someone who actually worked in the profession portrayed. Baer was the consultant on the movie and retired from the CIA after the FBI arrested him following his failed attempt at assassinating Saddam Hussein. He talks about CIA protocol, his own personal experiences, and how the CIA and FBI work in reality. Baer does sometimes struggle to think about things to talk about, and there are occasional lulls, but then something happens on-screen and Baer perks up again.

There are two "Access: RED" viewing options that can be watched. They are a picture-in-picture viewing experience and a trivia track. The trivia track cannot be viewed when subtitles are on, and the picture-in-picture mode cannot be viewed with the trivia track. These extras are very well made, and should be noted as to how to do this sort of extra properly. The trivia track covers a wide range of topics, including facts about the movie, the laws that are broken in each state, the amount of damage caused ($340,000 when they destroy Willis' house) and tidbits about inventors. There are also a whole host of mini-featurettes, interviews and graphics that can be accessed throughout, with a timer counting down the length of time you must wait to access the next informative segment.

Next up, are a selection of deleted and extended scenes:
- Play All (8:40)
- Gone in a Flash (0:41)
- You Have a Gun, Awesome (0:33)
- Help Me (0:43)
- I Wasn't Ready (0:37)
- You Need to Be More Careful (0:53)
- We've Both Been Played (1:33)
- Swimming with Sharks (1:18)
- Glass of Champagne (0:35)
- Spectacular Lack of Vision (0:57)
- I Want a Margarita (0:46)
These are mainly just minor extensions to existing scenes, the odd line of humourous dialogue which don't quite fit the scenes they were removed from. They are worth viewing, especially "You Need to Be More Careful" which adds a little more character to Karl Urban and his family, and "I Want a Margarita" which adds some more dialogue between Bruce Willis and John Malkovich in the final scene.

The next extra is actually an easter egg. To access it, highlight the Special Features tab and press the down arrow key on the remote. It's a "Red VFX" featurette (10:46) which gives us a closer look at the visual effects in the movie. It's essentially a whole host of before and after footage of the green screen composition used, but lacks narration and interviews to actually be informative.

We finish the extras with a couple of start-up trailers (3:55):
Gnomeo and Juliet
The Runaways

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: B+ Audio: A- Extras: B- Overall: B+

 


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