Megan Leavey Blu-ray Review

Based on the true-life story of a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq.

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



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



Studio and Year: Universal – 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biopic

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Kate Mara, Common, Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford, Edie Falco, Will Patton, Sam Keeley
Directed by: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Music by: Mark Isham
Written by:Pamela Gray, Annie Mumolo, Tim Lovestedt
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: September 5, 2017

“Based on the True Story”

My Take:

Megan Leavey is based on the true life story of a young Marine Corporal (Kate Mara) whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean up the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy.

As a fan of films based on real people/events I was interested in Megan Leavey. Initially the story didn’t sound familiar until we started watching it and learned that Megan grew up not very far from where we live. Later events in the film depict some of the facts/people that sparked our recollection of mentions in the news etc. The film itself is quite entertaining, telling a compelling, human interest story, about a young woman in need of direction/purpose, after suffering a devastating personal loss. She joins the Marines, where she hopes to find what she seeks, and eventually does, when she discovers the military K9 program. There she finds Rex, a soul like hers, in search of a bond.

Megan Leavey isn’t complex in tone, it tells a very straight forward story, not unlike others we’ve seen, but carries with it an emotionally stirring narrative that speaks not only to the kinship between Megan and Rex, but the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. Kate Mara does a terrific job in the title role, delivering one of her best performances. Megan Leavey isn’t going to define the genre, but it’s most assuredly a film that is worth seeing.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for war violence, language, suggestive material, and thematic elements.

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.**

Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialogue Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones: 
  • Compression: 


Megan Leavey comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.

This is a solid high definition presentation that seems a perfect match for the source material. Colors are naturally rendered with eye pleasing vitality and warm accents. Fleshtones err on the side of pale but remain lifelike in depiction. Images are resolute, with stable sharpness, crisp detail and appreciable subtle refinement. Certain scenes appeared better resolved than others although this appears related to the photography and not the encoding. Contrast is stable and blacks are rich in depth with discernible detail in low lighting and shadows. I didn’t see any distracting signs of video related artifacts and thought that in general video quality was top notch.

Being a predominantly dialog driven film, the ability to clearly render that aspect is an important element of the soundtrack, and this DTS-HD Master Audio presentation had no problem in that regard. Voices were reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture that appropriately held sway over the front soundstage. The surround mix made apropos use of the sound platform to render the films elements. I found it to be subtly engaging as it recreated the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The soundstage offered a nicely balanced mixture of ambience/background sounds and music that characterized the mood of the scene. Other than one sequence, there weren’t any sub bass frequencies contained in the mix, however, the subwoofer was used to provide low bass emphasis where appropriate.

Bonus Features:

  • Never Give Up: An Inside Look at how Megan Leavey learned to trust Rex.
  • Bonus DVD
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Based the inspirational true story, Megan Leavey is a compelling, well-executed drama, that ticks the right boxes while drawing you in with a spirited, albeit somewhat formulaic, story of kinship, courage and perseverance. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring solid technical merits and a disappointingly light supplemental package. Megan Leavey comes highly recommended for genre fans and deserves a pot near the top of your Blu-ray rental queue.


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
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package