Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sicario 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and HD Blu-ray Plus Digital HD Review

In many ways I think Sicario could have been a new addition to the Traffic anthology that began with the original miniseries, spelled Traffik with a 'K' and set in London, Hamburg, and Pakistan and was subsequently adapted into an Academy Award winning feature film, which starred an ensemble cast that earned Benecio Del Toro his Academy Award for his role in the film. Subsequently a new Traffic miniseries followed that featured a new ensemble cast that included Elias Koteas and was largely set in Washington State. Sicario tells a more focused story because it does not really jump around too much from locales telling parrellel stories so much as it tells a succinct tale wherein one might argue that Emily Blunt's character is both the polar opposite of and at the same time a spiritual doppelgänger of Benecio Del Toro's character in the film. Josh Brolin kind of carries a swagger with his character, but like the Traffic anthology, nothing is what it seems and the line between doing good and being honest is blurred by the fact that there is a gray area that we all coexist within where the devil is in the details and there is no right or wrong so much as there are compromises and fate. The film features a pulse pounding score by J'ohann Johannsson, who I recall as the Icelandic artist behind the haunting techno tune, "The Sun's Gone Dim And The Sky Has Turned Black." There may be one or two moments where I felt certain assumptions seemed to come from nowhere, but Sicario is a film worthy of multiple viewings and I am pleased to present it was my first official 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc review.

First of all the jump in picture quality is only truly noticeable with High Dynamic Range enabled 4K Ultra HD monitors that meet the required HDMI and HDCP compliance in order to play back this disc in it's native resolution. Out of curiosity I tried seeing what would happen if I tried to play this disc back on my 3D ready 120hz HDTV and the same way you cannot play back a Blu-ray 3D disc back on a 2D 1080p set not to mention a 3D compliant Blu-ray player, or watch a 1080p Blu-ray dialed down to 480i SD resolution even on a 1080p TV, you must have an Ultra HD BD player and preferably a new 2016 model UHD set with HDR in order to get the full effect and really playback the content as it should be seen. Much like most Blu-ray 3D Discs, the 4K Ultra HD BD does not have any 4K bonus content. The film requires the storage of the 4K Ultra High Definition 2160p (2.40:1) widescreen aspect ratio presentation along with the English Dolby ATMOS (Dolby TrueHD Compatible) Soundtrack, which can be dialed down if need be to Dolby Digital though you will lose the full audio fidelity that is akin to trying to watch the 4K version on 1080p HD. Any film lover will tell you that sound is half the picture and while the investment in the minimal standard speaker arrangement will likely turn some consumers off especially if they just paid for a new HDTV in the last year or two. Even if you have to wait a few months, I highly recommend the upgrade provided the TV is also 3D ready if you have invested into that format as well. In fact I think 4K is a lot like 3D Blu-ray Disc in that physically it is the same type of physical media, but requires specialized hardware for playback. This noted, Lionsgate has also included a Region A high definition 1080p BD that looks great on it's own merits and features the same soundtrack along with Spanish Language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and an English 2.0 Soundtrack optimized for late night viewing as well as an English Descriptive Audio track and English SDH and English and Spanish Language Subtitles encoded as options.

The extra features are all 1080p/24fps and cover the visual design (16:46), Acting (14:35), Score (6:19) and a look at the origins of Sicario (13:45). Bonus trailers that include The Last Witch Hunter, Heist, The Hurt Locker and TriBeCa/Lionsgate film streaming film service wrap up the bonus features on the standard HD Blu-ray Disc. A limited time only code for an i'Tunes and Ultraviolet Digital Copy of the film is included upon an insert within the black plastic 4K Ultra HD BD case.

I have another 4K BD review of Lionsgate's Ender's Game coming presently and The Expendables 3 as well as The Last Witch Hunter are also available on 4K UHD BD. Sicario 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and HD Blu-ray Plus Digital HD is available now at retailers on and offline courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2016 By Mark A. Rivera.
All Rights Reserved.