After months of discussion, March marked the arrival of the newest format for home theater aficionados, 4K UHD Blu-rays. The roll out has been a bit slow, with just a handful of titles available as of this writing, but for home theater enthusiasts, the arrival of a new format is always an exciting event. I’m not sure how the studios decided which titles would be among the first to get the”ultra high definition” treatment, but some high profile films are definitely in the mix.
The first one I’ve reviewed for the site is Lionsgate’s recent release of 2014’s The Expendables 3. For my thoughts on the film, please see my original The Expendables 3 Blu-ray Review. The focus here will be on the video and audio quality, while including a note on the extras.
The Expendables 3 4K is presented on UHD 4K Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate with an HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer in 2.40:1. Things look pretty impressive. The level of detail is excellent throughout, with even the finest lines viewable. The colors appear natural and vivid, without being overblown. Blacks looks absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, I was surprised by some easily noticeable banding that showed up in several scenes. It’s odd, but definitely popped up. It’s also worth noting that some of the CGI elements that look so good on the Blu-ray, loose some of their realistic feel on the 4K UHD platform.
The audio is presented via the Dolby Atmos track available on the original Blu-ray release. Powerful and thumping from the start, the panning ability of this track is amazing. You’ll feel as if you’re inside the action. Bullets whizz by, and explosions erupt. This sound effects heavy film will give your sound system, a workout, and for me, it really reaches reference quality status. The dialogue (secondary though it may be to the action), is presented cleanly, with fine prioritization. Fidelity is excellent, and dynamic range is satisfyingly wide.
English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles are included.
There are no extras included on the 4K UHD disc. The 1080p Blu-ray included in this package includes the extras as detailed in my original The Expendables 3 Blu-ray Review.
Since the standard Blu-ray already offers the tremendous sounding Atmos track, this 4K UHD offers little to those who already own the previous Blu-ray release. However, if you don’t already own it, and have and Atmos capable receiver The Expendables 3 4K UHD is a great way to show off your system.