A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue. Ralph Potts reviews Full Metal Jacket, Director Stanley Kubrick’s acclaimed Vietnam War drama which is making its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.


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

Film:


Extras:


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

90



Details:

Studio and Year: Warner - 1987
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Matthew Modine, Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Arliss Howard, Kevyn Major Howard, Ed O’Ross
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Written by: Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, Gustav Hasford
Region Code: A


Release Date: September 22, 2020


"Born to Kill"


Synopsis:

“A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.” – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment


My Take:

Full Metal Jacket features a superb ensemble cast who falls in for Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant saga about the Vietnam War and the dehumanizing process that turns people into trained killers. The scathing indictment of a film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay as it follows a group of Marine recruits experiencing boot-camp hell under the punishing command of the foul-mouthed Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermy) and later as they navigate the rigors and horrors of Vietnam. The action is visceral, the story unsparing, and the dialog is laced with scathing humor.

Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, like many of his films, needs no introduction among film enthusiasts. Its story as seen through the eyes of an idealistic young Marine whose outlook is forever changed by his experiences in the Corps. The story is told in two distinct parts. The first, taking place in Parris Island South Carolina at boot-camp and the second, in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. Each has its moments of biting commentary but, hands down the film’s first 45 minutes at boot-camp features its most memorable sequences and characters.

I am not certain how many times I have seen Full Metal Jacket over the years but, each time I view it I am totally engaged. I could watch the late R. Lee Ermey tear off his dialog in the role of DI Gunnery Sergeant Hartman over and over and never tire of its pitch perfect timing and vehemence. This is to take nothing away from the performances by Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Baldwin, Matthew Modine and Arliss Howard. I am thrilled that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has chosen Full Metal Jacket to come to Ultra HD Blu-ray and that it has received a new 4K remaster. Read on to see how it turned out.


Replay Value:



Parental Guide:

The film contains language, sexual references, violence and strong subject matter.


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:
    • Dialog Reproduction:
    • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
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:
Full Metal Jacket comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

Warner Bros. remastered Full Metal Jacket from the original 35mm film elements. Its presentation in Ultra HD is derived from that 4K image.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Full Metal Jacket has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.


Full Metal Jacket is a poignantly crafted film, both in narrative, and scope. The cinematography uses tight angles and sweeping pans which can sometimes impart a dim visual aesthetic. This is purposeful and comes across in this rendering. Looking at the film's opening sequence it, along with select scenes throughout the film, retain the gritty aesthetic that it always has, with no unnecessary additions. Aside from that copious amounts of detail can be seen, both in wide-angle and close-up perspectives, imparting a discernible increase in depth/dimension.

The film’s terrific cinematography benefits from the enhanced resolution and emboldened contrast. The low-level exterior shots of the war-torn landscapes offer a marked improvement in dimension. Resolution is primarily stable, with some innate softening cropping up but, not to a deleterious degree. The color range in the film is narrow, with lots of earth tones, with only the occasional use of primary colors like red and blue appearing onscreen. Shot on 35mm film, using anamorphic lenses, film grain is present.

The use of HDR is spot on, driving the story’s use of visual cues offset by gleams of brilliant light that illuminate the various landscapes, gray skies, burning fires and explosions. The beautiful use of sepia stands out in stark contrast to the gradational blacks, grays and green, that make up the look of wartime featured in the story. The film’s shadow laden environs have never looked better, offering increased interstitial details that promote depth of field. Blacks are inky without compromise to fidelity.

As middling as the 1080p Blu-ray rendering of Full Metal Jacket can be, I found the Ultra HD presentation takes it to another level entirely, allowing its attributes to be fully realized in a way that it hadn’t been before. Video enthusiasts are sure to appreciate it.


DTS-HD Master Audio:


Warner didn’t include a new audio mix for Full Metal Jacket and opted to provide the previous 5.1audio track in DTS-HD Master Audio. The soundtrack is presented in a front oriented mix that is highlighted by the effectual music and later, the wartime action. The recorded elements are spread across the front of the room with subtle articulation that blends perfectly with the rest of the soundtrack to create a predominantly even balanced presentation that drives the story.

Dialog is authoritative with good room penetration through the center channel, with a hint of graininess that is more pronounced in this track versus the older releases. The soundstage occasionally opens up. Low frequency detail has fair presence during wartime segments, but isn’t frequently used over the course of the film. I didn’t find that presentation to be lacking in any way.


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



Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Full Metal Jacket Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Full Metal Jacket Blu-ray
  • Legacy Bonus Features
  • Digital Code
Final Thoughts:

Based on the novel “The Short-Timers” by Gustav Hasford and brought to the big screen by esteemed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, Full Metal Jacket continues to be among his most memorable cinematic works. Its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray in this Combo Pack from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is sure to please from a technical standpoint as its remastered Ultra HD/Blu-ray video compliments it from head to toe. As a film enthusiast I am thrilled to own it in Ultra HD, and highly recommend it to fans.







Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 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
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems