Kick-Ass Ultra HD Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray debut of this entertaining, and refreshing action/comedy that tells the story of Dave Lizewski, an unnoticed high school student, and comic book fan, who one day decides to become a superhero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

90

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate -2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Genre: Action/Comedy

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Nicholas Cage
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Written by: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Region Code: A

Release Date: October 3, 2017

“A New Kind of Hero”

My Take:

Dave Lizewski (Taylor-Johnson) is an ordinary teenager who goes unnoticed in high school until he takes a chance to “do something” and dons a mask and becomes “Kick-Ass” to fight real-life crime. Bruised and beaten and without any real super powers, he is saved by a father-daughter duo (Cage as “Big Daddy,” Moretz as “Hit-Girl”) who know all the right moves and have a vendetta against a vicious crime lord, D’Amico (Mark Strong). After a fiery internet storm of publicity for Kick-Ass, D’Amico wants to meet the masked man, and his son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) dons a costume of his own and becomes “Red Mist” to befriend him and get in his father’s good graces. The story comes to a head when D’Amico succeeds in luring the crime fighters to his home and ass-kicking destruction ensues.

Kick-Ass is a superhero action-comedy film based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. that tells the story of an ordinary teenager, Dave Lizewski, who sets out to become a real-life superhero, calling himself “Kick-Ass”. Dave gets in over his head when he meets Big Daddy, a former cop who, in his quest to bring down the drug kingpin Frank D’Amico, and his son, trains his eleven-year-old daughter to be his partner and ruthless vigilante Hit-Girl. Co-written/directed by Matthew Vaughn, Kick-Ass was different, edgy, dark, and a heck of a lot of fun.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong violence, pervasive language, sexual content, brief nudity and some drug use.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Kick-Ass comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 68 Mbps and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 4.3 Mbps.[/b]

For its presentation in Ultra HD, Kick-Ass was rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. Color reproduction is consistent, with primaries like blue, red, and green appearing richer, even a bit more delineated. Secondary hues look great as well. The increase in resolution is apparent, allowing the detection of minutia, even in wide angle shots, to be appreciable. Close-ups tend to offer better refinement and deeper resolvable textures on surfaces, clothing, and physical features, compared to the Blu-ray.

The same is true when comparing the video’s dynamic range. Exterior sequences offer the slightest hint of added punch, especially those that take place in the light of day. The darkened highlights in the low-lighting sequences, like the nighttime shots overlooking the city or Hitgirl’s butt kicking of the bad guys in chapter 11, have appreciable dimension and resolvable detail. Fleshtones are a bit on the bronzy side, but don’t appear unnatural. Viewing Kick-Ass in Ultra HD was an entertaining experience. I think its improvements over the 1080p rendering make it worth considering for its fans.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I recently added the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel to my review system. This was to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Kick-Ass, I found the HDR to be close, but felt that the DV rendering edged out the HDR-10. Much of this came when comparing the same scenes, and finding that the rendering of color was not only slightly deeper, but seemingly more delineated. I also thought that gradations in the white detail a bit were easier to see. While I wouldn’t categorize these differences as stark, I definitely felt that the DV rendering was my preference.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be an entertaining listening experience that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, discrete effects and music. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. I noticed that the front overhead channels were used for adding depth to the sounds stage while the rear overhead channels contained more discrete sound objects/effects. In addition to things like overhead pans where sounds move through the soundstage, there are several key sequences that bring everything together.

This includes the chase sequence/altercation in chapter 5, Hitgirl to the rescue in chapter 11, and the serious butt kicking in the final act. These sequences, among various others over the course of the film, place you inside the audio bubble, as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level, making for an involving surround sound experience. I was pleasantly surprised as how good this Dolby Atmos presentation was, adding a complimentary element that elevated the experience of watching the film.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Kick-Ass Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Kick-Ass
    • “A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of Kick-Ass” 4-Part Documentary
    • “It’s On! The Comic Book Origin of Kick-Ass” Featurette
    • Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Matthew Vaughn
    • Marketing Archive
    • Ass-Kicking Bonus View Mode (Blu-ray Disc Exclusive) – Synchronous with the feature film, this innovative multi-media presentation incorporates video and audio commentary, behind-the-scenes clips and illustrative graphics with Co-Writer/Producer/Director Matthew Vaughn, plus cast and crew providing an all-access perspective on Kick-Ass
    • “The Art of Kick-Ass” Gallery
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Kick-Ass is a rollicking, edgy, and fun superhero action-comedy film based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. that tells the story of an ordinary teenager, Dave Lizewski, who sets out to become a real-life superhero. It is making its Ultra HD Blu-ray debut in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, featuring a faithful video rendering (which includes Dolby Vision HDR) that makes the most of the source material, a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and legacy supplemental material. Kick-Ass may not be a film for traditionalists, but it’s one that I thoroughly enjoy revisiting from time to time. I am thrilled to now own it looking and sounding better than ever on Ultra HD Blu-ray.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems