Hustlers Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Blu-ray review of this payback drama from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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

Film:

Extras:

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

91

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, KeKe Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Julia Stiles, Cardi B
Written & Directed by: Lorene Scafaria
Music by:
Inspired by: The NY Magazine Article: “Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: December 10, 2019

“Inspired by a True Story”

Synopsis:

“Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

My Take:

Hustlers follows Destiny (Constance Wu) a young stripper struggling to make ends meet. That is, until she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), the club’s savvy top earner, who shows her the way toward making big bucks. But when the 2008 economic collapse hits their Wall Street clientele hard, Destiny and Ramona concoct a plan with their fellow strippers to turn the tables on these greedy power players.

Inspired by journalist Jessica Pressler’s 2015 viral New York Magazine article “The Hustlers at Scores”, [i[Hustlers[/i] paints a vivid picture that depicts the world of excess surrounding the patrons that grace the type of establishments where the kind of adult entertainment provided by the protagonists in this story is found. I don’t know what liberties were taken in its telling but, just going by the script, Hustlers came across as a bit of a stretch, at least in its depiction of how these ladies were able to drug and manipulate their targets and fleece them for score of money.

The story is told from Destiny’s perspective as she recounts the events, from its earliest stages, through to its conclusion, to a magazine reporter. I like the set up and establishment of the plots characters and foundational elements as it pertained to the treatment of the women employed at the club and the motivations that brought them into criminal acts. I didn’t find the female empowerment or “robbing from the rich to give to the poor” angles to be genuine due to the fact that these ladies became wealthy at the expense of rich fat cats and primarily used their ill-gotten gain to live very much the same way as those they stealing from, more so in some cases.

The narrative sticks to themes we have seen before, providing a glimpse of what can be done with a little ingenuity fueled by desperation and shared kinship. I liked the performances by four primary cast members, finding Constance Wu to be the star that shone brightest. When all was said and done, I found Hustlers to be a push-pull affair that kept me entertained for 90 plus minutes.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for pervasive sexual material, drug content, language and nudity.

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: 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: 

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

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

Hustlers comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Hustlers was shot digitally and finished on a 4K DI for its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Hustlers is a contemporary film that has a specific visual aesthetic which comes through quite naturally in this Ultra HD rendering. It’s a stylish visual film, that adheres to sepia tones and color grading, which ultimately leaves some sequences appearing less visually engaging than others. Color reproduction is consistent, with primaries like blue and red appearing richer, and more delineated. Secondary hues look great, although not appreciably better. The increase in resolution isn’t always on display, but in general wide-angle, well-lit shots both interior and exterior look great. Close-ups tend to offer appreciable refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features compared to the Blu-ray. The differences, while not staggering, are easily discernible.

The same is true when comparing the video’s dynamic range. Exterior sequences offer the slightest hint of added punch which gives the image appreciable visual pop. Like the Blu-ray rendering, the darkened highlights in low-lit environs, can be hit or miss but it most respects, have appreciable dimension and resolvable detail. Fleshtones are reproduced beautifully, with a natural and pleasing tonality. Viewing Hustlers in Ultra HD didn’t make for an especially compelling viewing experience, however, I found it to be a complimentary improvement over the 1080p Blu-ray presentation.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that made effective use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a blend of atmospherics and discrete effects. When applied it creates a discernible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. Where this mix excels is in its use of the platform at ear level. There are a multitude of set pieces that show off the track’s blend of music and smaller object sounds that create an involving listening experience, that broadens the soundstage. I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere as well as the integration of discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and drew me into the film when it mattered most.

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: 92
(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

Hustlers comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC 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 various wide-angle shots of the shooting locations look terrific. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. Hustlers looks great on Blu-ray.

This is primarily a dialog driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialog is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to recreate the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional panning cues that effectively support the front soundstage. When called for there is a solid low end associated with the sequences involving the club atmosphere and its music. This is a complimentary audio presentation that mates well with the source material.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Hustlers Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Hustlers Blu-ray
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Lorene Scafaria
  • Trailers
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Inspired by journalist Jessica Pressler’s 2015 viral New York Magazine article “The Hustlers at Scores”, [i[Hustlers[/i] is a fairly entertaining albeit, overly stylized drama that sharply makes it point. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent overall technical merits that compliments its thematic tone. Hustlers is easily worth the cost of a rental and perhaps qualifies as a blind buy for those that enjoy its cinematic flavor.

 

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