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War Dogs

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Well-crafted film with fair visuals, excellent audio, but middling extras; intriguing but mixed 4K UHD quality.

    War Dogs 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Current HDR lacks standards, making Ultra HD Blu-ray review a balance of observed visual impacts. 'War Dogs' in 4K shows notable improvement in detail, depth, and color, especially in dark scenes and HDR highlights, despite its upconversion from 2K.

  • Audio
  • The film's audio mix delivers clear, immersive dialog and effects, enhancing its narrative with a detailed 5.1 DTS-HD MA track, offering a wide array of language options and dynamic soundscapes that complement the onscreen action.

  • Extra
  • War Dogs Ultra HD Blu-ray features main film with no extras; included Blu-ray and digital HD copy offer short featurettes and insights into the film's creation and real-life inspirations.

  • Movie
  • War Dogs, a film on arms dealing during the Iraq War, shines in HDR but is considered average despite strong performances.

    Video: 80

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "War Dogs" capitalizes on the strengths of the format, offering an uptick in video quality that, while not groundbreaking, marks a noticeable improvement over its standard Blu-ray counterpart. With an encoding of HEVC/H.265 and a resolution of 2160p, alongside a 2.40:1 aspect ratio on a BD-66 layer disc, the visual quality of "War Dogs" benefits significantly from its transition to 4K. The implementation of HDR adds a vibrancy and depth to the film’s color palette and enhances black levels and contrast, delivering scenes with more definition, especially noticeable in darker sequences such as the Albanian warehouse scene. The detail captured, from the textures of cityscapes to the stacks of cash in a depot scene resembling a drug lord’s lair, is rendered with greater clarity, making the visual storytelling more impactful.

    Despite the film's 2K digital intermediate resulting in an upconverted 4K image, the increase in detail and color reproduction is apparent. Colors are vivid and varied, with primaries popping in scenes where the HDR can truly showcase its capabilities. Daytime sequences and well-lit environments benefit the most, offering crisp, sharp imagery that exemplifies the advantages of the 4K format. Nighttime scenes and those under minimal lighting are significantly improved as well, providing an appreciable depth to the overall picture quality. Details that would previously go unnoticed, such as distant lights in a pitch-black cityscape or the tail lights of a vehicle in a desert night sequence, are discernible thanks to the synergy between 2160p resolution and HDR.

    Depth in the visual presentation is solid, with a clear distinction between foreground and background elements that add to the film’s cinematic feel. Skin tones vary according to location but maintain consistency, allowing for impressive facial detail capture in various lighting conditions. Black levels, while deeper and richer than the Blu-ray release, can sometimes appear slightly murky, though details in dark areas are more pronounced, and shadow definition is enhanced without evidence of crushing. The HDR not only elevates color reproduction but also enhances fine details in darker clothing and surfaces, helping textures and patterns stand out. All considered, "War Dogs" on 4K UHD Blu-ray delivers an upgraded viewing experience that makes appropriate use of the format’s strengths to enhance its visual narrative.

    Audio: 82

    The audio presentation of the 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "War Dogs" delivers a comprehensive auditory experience, harmonizing well with the film's primarily dialogue-driven narrative without neglecting the dynamic range required by its more action-oriented sequences. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, consistent across both the 4K and previous releases, achieves a transparent realism in dialogue reproduction, ensuring that conversations are clear and detailed, firmly anchored in the front soundstage. The mix adeptly employs the full spectrum of the surround sound setup to envelop the listener in the film's diverse environments, utilizing rear channels for spatial ambience and directional cues that complement and extend the front audio landscape. This creates a balanced and immersive audio experience that brings the on-screen action to vivid life.

    In terms of specifics, the audio setup presents a solid layering of sounds, from the nuanced noises of everyday objects to the more intense sonic demands of gunfire and explosions, all of which are well-defined with a good balance between vocals, effects, and score. The soundtrack, notably featuring tracks like Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” is given prominence, enhancing key moments with beautiful clarity. The subwoofer's performance introduces a satisfying depth to the action, with low frequencies lending a palpable impact to the film's more explosive moments, and ensuring that the more subtle soundscape elements are equally engaging.

    Adding value to international audiences, this release boasts an extensive array of alternate languages and subtitle options, catering to a wide demographic. Despite its strengths, there’s an opportunity for improvement in the utilization of rear channels, suggesting potential for an even more engaging surround sound experience. Nonetheless, the dialogue remains consistently crisp throughout, capturing the film's louder characters with enthusiasm and clarity, thereby reinforcing the overall effective delivery of this audio presentation.

    Extra: 68

    The "War Dogs" 4K UHD Blu-ray package presents a somewhat barebones experience in terms of special features, solely residing on the accompanying Blu-ray disc rather than the 4K UHD disc itself. The extras include a featurette examining the film's real-life foundation, "General Phillips: Boots on the Ground," providing insights from key cast members and the director. "War Dogs: Access Granted" is a deeper dive into the adaptation of the story from the Rolling Stone article to screen, featuring anecdotes from the actual David Packouz. Lastly, "Pentagon Pie" offers an animated interpretation of a pivotal scheme in the story. While the extras are sparse, they furnish valuable context and background for fans and newcomers alike, granting a glimpse behind the curtain of this intriguing tale.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • General Phillips: Boots on the Ground: A featurette discussing the movie's origin and production with insights from Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, Jonah Hill, and Miles Teller.
    • War Dogs: Access Granted: A discussion on adapting the story for the screen, featuring real-life insights from David Packouz.
    • Pentagon Pie: Animated short explaining one of the film's key plots.

    Movie: 73

    "War Dogs" dives into the dark-comedy genre, presenting the gripping true story of two young friends in Miami Beach during the Iraq War who lucratively exploit a government initiative allowing small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Their journey from small-time dealers to the big leagues of arms dealing, culminating in a staggering $300 million contract to arm the Afghan Military, introduces them to a world filled with morally ambiguous characters, including the U.S. Government itself. The plot draws natural comparisons to 2005's "Lord of War," yet "War Dogs" stands out by injecting a youthful, stoner-comedy vibe while navigating through the serious and often absurd reality of illegal arms dealing. The lead performances by Miles Teller and Jonah Hill are noteworthy, as both actors successfully merge their comedic prowess with dedicated dramatic efforts, further enhanced by the complementary roles from Ana de Armas and Bradley Cooper.

    From a technical perspective, although "War Dogs" was finalized on a 2K digital intermediate, preventing it from showcasing additional detail in its 4K UHD Blu-ray version, it benefits significantly from High Dynamic Range (HDR) treatment. This enhancement is subtly noticeable, offering a visual upgrade over its Blu-ray counterpart without being revolutionary. The film doesn’t necessarily scream for a 4K rendition due to its visual style and narrative focus, yet the HDR application underscores Warner's commitment to aligning the releases of UHD versions with their Blu-ray counterparts, hinting at a promising trend for future releases.

    In conclusion, while "War Dogs" may sit comfortably in the middle of the pack in terms of storytelling ambition and cinematic innovation, its blend of humor and drama, combined with competent direction from Todd Phillips and engaging performances from its cast, warrants attention. Its technical presentation on 4K UHD, despite inherent limitations due to its 2K source, marginally elevates the viewing experience through HDR application. The movie encapsulates a fascinating, though somewhat underexplored narrative that makes it a solid rental choice rather than an essential purchase.

    Total: 66

    "War Dogs," presented by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, finds its stride in a 4K UHD Blu-ray Combo Pack that marries an enlightening dramatic tale with fair to good technical merits. The Ultra HD video quality, while inconsistent, shines in half of the HDR moments, providing viewers with a visual experience that is overall impressive. The high-definition audio complements the visual aspects commendably, delivering an immersive auditory experience that enhances the film's impactful storytelling. However, the supplemental material provided leaves much to be desired, offering only middling insights from the cast, crew, and real individuals associated with the narrative, which may not fully satiate the curiosity of those deeply interested in the story's background.

    As part of the burgeoning library of 4K discs, "War Dogs" offers improvements over standard Blu-ray releases that, while subtle, will be appreciated by early adopters of the format and those looking to future-proof their collection. The film itself draws comparisons to titles like "Lord Of War," yet maintains its uniqueness with a quirky and goofy storyline. The video quality presents a dichotomy of excellence and mediocrity, depending on the HDR execution which is hit or miss throughout the film. This aspect might deter some enthusiasts from immediate purchase, suggesting potential buyers hold out for a sale to add this title to their collection at a more attractive price point.

    In conclusion, while "War Dogs" on 4K UHD Blu-ray excels in many technical and narrative aspects, its inconsistent video quality and lackluster bonus features make it a mixed bag. The film remains a commendable addition to any 4K enthusiast’s library for its engaging story and solid audio presentation. However, it might best be acquired with managed expectations regarding the HDR performance and supplemental content, ideally during a sale.