Chi-Raq Blu-ray Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-20-2016, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Chi-Raq Blu-ray Review



Ralph Potts reviews this eclectic and relevant urban satire inspired by the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata.”



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

Film:

Extras:

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

91



Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2015
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 127 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Starring: Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson, Steve Harris, Harry Lennix, D.B. Sweeney, Angela Bassett, John Cusak, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Spike Lee
Music by: Terence Blanchard
Written by: Kevin Wilmott & Spike Lee
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 26, 2016


"No Peace. No Piece"


My Take:

Two rival gangs, led by Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon) and Cyclops (Wesley Snipes), are locked in bloody combat on the streets of Chicago's south side. After the murder of a child by a stray bullet, the beautiful Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) persuades the women of the Spartan and Trojan gangs to swear off sex with their men until the fighting stops.

Directed by Spike Lee and written by Lee and Kevin Willmott, Chi-Raq is a searing satire of gun violence in America inspired by the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata.” It tells the timely tale of a community at war with itself, with scathing commentary on gun culture, black-on-black violence, corrupt politicians and urban decay. The film features raw, original music by Nick Cannon, and seeks to ignite a provocative dialogue on the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world.

Chi-Raq pulls few punches and is intended to awaken our conscience with its hard hitting statement, biting social commentary and brash aesthetic. The narrative and execution have an air of mania that palpates with reverence to the subject matter as it speaks to the human condition with both cause and earnestness. Chi-Raq is topical, stylized and innately ostentatious, driving home its message via dark elements of humor and artful optimism. It's not a particularly cohesive film from a contextual standpoint but then again it need not be. Where it succeeds is the urgency of its plea and the craftiness of its delivery. Chi-Raq could be off putting to those not open to its edgy, urban theme and purposefully preachy topic.

Once I fully understood where it was coming from I was able to sit back, take it all in, and appreciate what a thought provoking and contemplative film it is. All in all I found Chi-Raq- to be relevant, entertaining and well crafted.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong sexual content, including dialog, nudity, language, some violence and 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.**



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:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA


Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


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



Chi-Raq comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.

This is a great looking new release title from Lionsgate. Images onscreen exhibit plenty of fine rendering and crisp definition that on occasion rises to higher levels especially during close ups which can be very revealing. Long range shots appear resolute with good dimensional depth and notable object detail. Bright exterior segments are punchy with crisp dynamic whites and appreciable texture. Colors are vibrant with eye catching primaries and natural rendering that looked great in high definition. Fleshtones are tonally divergent and appear lifelike in depiction. Blacks are respectable and shadow detail is revealing of appreciable levels of delineation in dark backgrounds and low lighting. I didn’t detect any deleterious artifacts or other video related anomalies.

The lossless soundtrack doesn’t consistently engage the entire surround platform however it has moments where it energizes the room and reproduces the source elements with aplomb. Dialog has definitive presence with refined vocal character and excellent room penetration. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. The source elements don’t always call for this as dialogue, atmospheric ambience and musical enhancement is conveyed with little fanfare. However there are several sequences that engage the entire system to briefly produce entertaining and room filling sound that is measurable. This soundtrack isn’t demonstration worthy but it readily delivers a satisfying listening experience that didn’t leave me disappointed.



Bonus Features:
  • (HD) 13 Deleted Scenes
  • (HD) 4 Extended Scenes
  • (HD) The Making of Chi-Raq – 4 minute featurette
  • (HD) "We Gotta Do Better" Music Video
  • Digital HD Copy


Final Thoughts:

Inspired by the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” and directed by Spike Lee, Chi-Raq is a relevant, entertaining and well executed film that tells the timely tale of a community at war with itself. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound quality and a subpar supplemental package. Chi-Raq may not strike a chord with everyone but it's a worthwhile film experience that I recommend on 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 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade 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 BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
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SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS PC12-NSD
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
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Ralph C. Potts
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Last edited by Ralph Potts; 01-20-2016 at 07:25 AM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-20-2016, 02:35 PM
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Thanks Ralph, I saw it at the theater and enjoyed it. You're right - edgy and thought provoking... almost like a greek tragedy.

The cast was great. Too bad they missed a bit with the audio, the soundtrack was good.
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-21-2016, 04:16 AM
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I didn't enjoy it. Thought it was over the top and more of a joke than an actual thought provoking film.

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post #4 of 7 Old 01-21-2016, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bori View Post
I didn't enjoy it. Thought it was over the top and more of a joke than an actual thought provoking film.

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Different strokes, depends on what you like to think about.

I like movies that reprise ancient tales into modern times; one reason I loved "Oh Brother where art thou".

Also talked (in my opinion) about important topics. Over the top or not, it's good to see it in bluray and will be a purchase for me.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-21-2016, 09:14 AM
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Ralph, thanks for the review of this off beat movie. I wasn't aware of it until your review.

Never easy taking these old stories and re-imagining them in a more modern setting. Based on some comments, I gather there were some challenges but I am still intrigued and down the line expect to put it in my NF queue.

I'll reserve any opinion until viewed other than it sounds like the cast is worthy of the view.
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-21-2016, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hernanu View Post
Different strokes, depends on what you like to think about.

I like movies that reprise ancient tales into modern times; one reason I loved "Oh Brother where art thou".

Also talked (in my opinion) about important topics. Over the top or not, it's good to see it in bluray and will be a purchase for me.
I actually liked brother where art thou.

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post #7 of 7 Old 01-25-2016, 06:54 PM
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I watched it and it was decent, but my wife didn't care for it so she left. With that said, I watched this sleepy movie all by myself.
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