Red and Red 2 Ultra HD Review

Follow the adventure and misadventures of former black-ops agent Frank Moses as he reassembles his old team in Red and Red 2 which ar emaking their debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

86

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2010/20103
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 112/116 minutes
Genre: Action/Comedy/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC @ 1000 NITS
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio (Blu-ray)
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Starring: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, Neal McDonough, Byung Hun Lee, Catherina Zeta-Jones
Directed by: Robert Schwentke and Dean Parisot
Music by: Christophe Beck, Alan Silvestri
Written by: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber based on the graphic Warren Ellis & Cully Hamner
Region Code: A

Release Date: September 5, 2017

“Retired and Extremely Dangerous”



My Take:

Both Red and Red 2 have been previously released on Blu-ray. These catalog titles are making their debut in Ultra HD Blu-ray, with upgraded Dolby Atmos sound mixes, as well as including Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range. They are available separately however I have opted to review them together here. My comments will be relative to the Dolby Atmos sound mixes and Ultra HD video quality. The technical rating will be derived from those ratings alone. It should be noted that these Ultra HD/Dolby Atmos presentations essentially share the same attributes, which is why I opted to review them together. As such the technical rating will apply to both. Each of these two disc sets include the film (both the Ultra HD/Dolby Atmos, and previously released 1080p/DTS-HD MA versions), previously released supplemental material, and Digital HD copies.

Red: Frank (Willis) is a former black-ops CIA agent living a quiet life alone…until the day a hit squad shows up to kill him. With his identity compromised, Frank reassembles his old team – Joe (Freeman), Marvin (Malkovich) and Victoria (Mirren) – and sets out to prove that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Stand back and watch the bullets fly in this explosive action-comedy.

Red 2: Retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses (Willis) reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. To succeed, they’ll need to survive assassins, terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the superweapon.

Let’s face it, neither Red or Red 2 are highbrow entertainment, nor are they meant to be. These films are intended to turn the genre on its ear via an overtly formulaic narrative that uses characters that are well past their prime, played by actors that, with the exception of Bruce Willis, aren’t the type you would normally find in an action comedy. I think each succeeds in a fun, check your brain at the door, comedy, action, adventure that are cleverly written and executed on an entertaining level that doesn’t play down to the audience.

Red is definitely the stronger of the two, offering a better balance of tongue and cheek humor, superb interplay and slightly over the top action, that fits neatly into the narrative framework. Red 2 loses some of the freshness, adds just a smidge too much slapstick, and incorporates a few too many eyebrow raising action set pieces. Be that as it may, it’s still lots of fun, featuring Willis, Parker, Malkovich, and Mirren’s entertaining interplay.

Red and Red 2 are simply lots of fun. If you didn’t enjoy one you’ll more than likely not enjoy the other. I had a good time revisiting these on Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for pervasive action and violence, including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material.

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): 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

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

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

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

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 92
(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

Red and Red 2 come to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Neither one of these have eye catching video quality on Blu-ray, which didn’t leave me with high hopes for their presentation on UHD Blu-ray. Each is rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. Each film utilizes color grading that leave certain elements appearing less visually enticing. That trend continues in the Ultra HD rendering. Color reproduction is consistent, with primaries like blue and red appearing richer, even a bit more delineated. Secondary hues look great, although not appreciably better. The increase in resolution isn’t always on display, especially in wide angle shots, although I believe that this is innate to the photography. Close-ups tend to offer better refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features compared to the Blu-ray. The improvements are distinguishable, but not noteworthy.

I liked the implementation of HDR, which I felt was complimentary without being overstated. The opening sequence in Red, where Frank’s house is invaded, uses both brilliant (flashbang) and deep contrast (the shadowy confines of his basement or the hallway scuffle) highlights to deliver an eye-catching depth. The daytime sequence on the streets of New Orleans looked terrific, showing excellent detail and lifelike visuals. The nighttime scene at the street café where Frank meets Katja, the daytime chase through Paris, or the helicopter crash/Night Shade explosion, in Red 2 offered similar results.

All in all, I think that each presentation benefitted from the Ultra HD treatment. The improvement isn’t a consistently glaring one, however there are moments where they shine. This is something that those contemplating the upgrade will have to consider.

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 Red and Red, 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. The Christmas lights on the house on Frank’s street in Red, Helen Mirren’s red lipstick, and the blue gloves worn by Mary-Louise Parker at the Iranian Embassy, in Red 2, are good examples. The same held true for the various shades of red and blue in the Costco scene in the beginning of Red 2. I also thought that gradations in the white detail in the flashbang explosions were easier to see. The infiltration sequence at The Kremlin had slightly improved depth of field as well as punchier highlights. 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 mixes I found each to be an entertaining listening experience that made steady use of the platform. The 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 and weapon fire emanates from one point and hits its mark in another, there are several key sequences that bring everything together.

The opening scene at Frank’s house, or the shipyard attack in Red features lots of gunfire, explosions and flying debris. The chase through Paris, the embassy shootout, the helicopter crash or the Kremlin infiltration in Red 2 are equally engaging. I enjoyed the balance of subtle atmosphere and discrete object placement over the course of each presentation, which added an enriching and entertaining element to the viewing experience.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Red Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Red Blu-ray
  • Audio Commentary with Retired CIA Field Officer Robert Baer
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes
    Disc 1: Red 2 Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Red 2 Blu-ray
  • The Red 2 Experience
  • Gag Reel
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital HD Copy – Red
  • Digital HD Copy Red 2

Final Thoughts:

Red and Red 2 probably aren’t at the top of the list of favorites for genre fans, but they certainly have their place among those that appreciate them for what they are. Simply fun to watch. Each is making their Ultra HD Blu-ray debut in these Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Packs from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, featuring faithful video renderings (which includes Dolby Vision HDR) that make the most of the source material, terrific Dolby Atmos immersive sound mixes, and legacy supplemental material. If you enjoy the type of popcorn entertainment Red and Red 2 bring to the table, and are set up for Ultra High Definition, and/or Dolby Atmos immersive sound, these offerings belongs in your video library.

 

 

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