Angel Has Fallen Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Mike Banning is framed for the attempted assassination of the President and must evade his own agency and the FBI as he tries to uncover the real threat. Ralph Potts review the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Angel Has Fallen, the third installment in the “….Has Fallen” film series from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

93

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 121 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Danny Huston, Piper Perabo, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte
Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh
Music by: David Buckley
Written by: Robert Mark Kamen, Matt Cook, Ric Roman Waugh
Region Code: A

Release Date: November 26, 2019

“The Hero Becomes the Fugitive”

Synopsis:

“Mike Banning is framed for the attempted assassination of the President and must evade his own agency and the FBI as he tries to uncover the real threat.” – Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

My Take:

When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), is wrongfully accused and taken into custody. After escaping from capture, he becomes a man on the run and must evade his own agency and outsmart the FBI in order to find the real threat to the president. Desperate to uncover the truth, Banning turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name, keep his family from harm, and save the country from imminent danger.

Angel Has Fallen is the third installment in the “…Has Fallen” film series. I own the first installment in this franchise, Olympus Has Fallen on Blu-ray and, generally found its take on the mindless action/thriller/popcorn entertainment genre to be fair. I didn’t bother with its follow up London Has Fallen. Here we are six years later with another crack at bringing this formula back to the big screen. I like Gerard Butler and, since the story is based on the same character/premise, I have a good frame of reference and can be forgiving of the potential for contrivances. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough.

The script is barely surface level in terms of plot and character development. The lack of plausible foundation for the elements surrounding the “framing” is glaring which negatively impacts nearly every aspect of the plot. The action is fair but, nothing that we haven’t seen before. I liked the idea of the Wade Jennings character and the potential associated with his background but, it’s never fleshed out, and the remaining subplots found in Mike’s father, the investigating FBI Agent and, of course, the predictable mystery man are not enough to overcome the flavorless characters and banal narrative.

The cast, with the likes of Morgan Freeman, Danny Huston, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tim Blake Nelson has excellent potential but, none have the chance to contribute anything substantive. The production design and stunt work are solid. Inevitably Angel Has Fallen feels like a fast food throwaway that left me indifferent.

Replay Value: 2.5 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence and language throughout.

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): 94
(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): 96
(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: 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: 

Angel Has Fallen comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Angel Has Fallen was derived from a 3.4K source and, rendered from a 4K DI. From a cinematic perspective, this film was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in this presentation. At times the image is nearly devoid of color, while at others, has a pleasingly diverse palate, that sets the mood of a scene. Shot digitally the image has a smooth aesthetic, with clean delineation that draws out plenty of detail, in both close-up and wide-angle camera shots. Blacks are deep without compromise to fidelity, as the layers of detail seen with them is readily apparent. Contrast abounds as the richness of the depth seen in grays, whites and mid-tones pops in the film’s variety of low-level sequences. Fleshtones are primarily lifelike and, consistent throughout the presentation.

Angel Has Fallen isn’t a colorful film however, its cooler chromatic hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut, appearing warmer and pleasing to the eye. There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. Where applied I found it complimented the images on screen. The sequence where Mike and his father ambush the invading assassins, with its fiery explosions set against the dark drape of nightfall looked great as its specular highlights appeared brilliant. There were also instances where bright elements looked appreciably vibrant (such as the nighttime tractor-trailer chase in the mountains), which emboldened the imagery, providing a level of realism.

I felt that this Ultra HD rendering made the most of the film’s elements, which are excellent. Looking at the 1080p version, which is also excellent, the difference is appreciable, but not what I would describe as stark. That being said, there is no question about which of the two makes for the better viewing experience.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system 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.*

As I alluded to earlier, this film’s elements aren’t consistently lent to use of overtly bright color but, I did take a close look at the rendering of contrast, chromatic depth and delineation during scenes containing dark and bright highlights. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR10 renderings, I felt that the DV presentation revealed better definition in the darkest portions of the image, and slightly deeper primary color reproduction. These differences aren’t especially noteworthy but, in the grand scheme, made for a more pleasing image. At the end of the day both looked excellent, leaving me satisfied with what I saw.

Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 Sound:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix atmospherics, music and discrete effects. This is done to very good effect, creating a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The drone attack at the lake features a host of swirling effects that travel around the soundstage moving overheard, passing by and coming directly at the listening position.

Throughout the course of the film there are set pieces that show off the immersive effect as the blend of music, weapon fire and smaller object sounds rain down from above. Everything comes together during the violent encounters during the forest ambush and at the hospital where you are placed inside the action as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere and integration of discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience. See My Comments Below Regarding the Overall Sound Mix Which Also Impacts the Dolby Atmos track.

The is a solid Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Atmos core) soundtrack that features crystal clear dialog and an involving surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension and discrete directional sounds that created a realistic and immersive listening environment. This worked hand in hand with film’s music, and thematic elements to build tension and help drive the story.

I found the dynamic presence contained in this mix to be less than anticipated. Low frequency effects while present, didn’t have the solidity and room coupling impact found in the better action/thriller soundtracks available. Increasing the volume didn’t have a demonstrative effect but, helped to improve things. At the end of the day this prevented this surround sound mix from being a totally engaging home theater experience.

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

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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

Angel Has Fallen comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. The film’s variety of wide-angle shots look great. Framed at 2.39:1 the images onscreen have excellent depth, and a stimulating visual aura. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. Angel Has Fallen looks great on Blu-ray.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Angel Has Fallen Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Angel Has Fallen Blu-ray
    • “Even Angels Fall: The Story” Featurette
    • “Someone to Watch Over Me: New Blood” Featurette
    • “Calling All Angels: Casting” Featurette
    • “True Faith: Authenticity” Featurette
    • “Fight for You: Stunts and Action” Featurette
    • “Earth Angel: Recreating DC” Featurette
    • “Angel Declassified” 3-Part Audio Commentary with Director Ric Roman Waugh
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Angel Has Fallen is the third installment in the “….Has Fallen” film franchise and is a poorly conceived and overtly contrived action/thriller that has little to offer genre fans hankering for an adrenaline rush. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Combo Pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring terrific overall video quality, active Dolby Atmos immersive sound, a dynamically underwhelming sound design and a decent assortment of supplements. Angel Has Fallen is tough to recommend as a purchase but, if you’re curious I highly recommend a rental first.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra 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 AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray 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)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems


Ralph C. Potts