Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray debut of this western that tells the story of a female gunfighter that returns to a frontier town where a dueling tournament is being held, which she enters in an effort to avenge her father's death.

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

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


Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 1995
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Genre: Western

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lance Henriksen, Pat Hingle, Keith David
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Written by: Simon Moore
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: July 17, 2018

"Think You're Quick Enough?"
My Take:

I reviewed The Quick and the Dead’s 2009 Blu-ray release, and have included my comments from that review here. The rating for the film will be the same. New comments and ratings for the additional bonus content, Ultra HD video and Dolby Atmos mix are below.

In this edgy and darkly humorous Western, a mysterious young woman rides into the lawless town of Redemption to settle an old score that has haunted her since she was a child. She becomes swept up in a deadly quick-draw tournament and, in order to win her revenge, must compete in a contest in which gunslingers from all over put their lives on the line for fame and fortune.

I have owned The Quick and the Dead on home video for years and have seen it multiple times. It is a film that I realize isn’t particularly good but has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. It was the very next disc I popped in for review after reviewing Silverado. While it doesn’t necessarily compare I still find it to be fun, mindless entertainment that I find entertaining. I have always been drawn to the David versus Goliath premise and when you add in the retribution factor that heightens interest all the more. I know that this is far from being a new cinematic concept and the screenplay is a little cheesy but one of the things I find most alluring about this film is the cast.

I am a big Gene Hackman fan (“if you live to see the dawn it’s because I allow it”!) and while this is far from one of his best he still pulls it off with credibility and class. The supporting cast is loaded with familiar faces, some of whom have been in many classic westerns. Woody Strode and Pat Hingle are Hollywood veterans that are right at home portraying characters in the western genre. Keith David and Lance Henriksen are two of my favorite character actors and have small but memorable roles here. The less dominant characters portrayed by Actors Kevin Conway, Tobin Bell, and Mark Boone Junior all made viable additions to the film’s dark theme. Fresh from his superb performance in Forrest Gump, Gary Sinese had a small cameo role that unfortunately wasn’t much of a part.

I always find it interesting to see actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe (who recently worked together in Body of lies) in roles they played before achieving star status. Both men have become huge box office draws since but, back in 1994 when they began shooting this film I am sure that neither had any idea of what the future held. Dicaprio had actually gotten an Oscar nomination for his role in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”. This film’s most dramatic scene involved him and he pulled it off quite well. Crowe’s style remains pretty much the same today as it was then when playing similar types. That isn’t a criticism because he has certainly proven himself to be versatile. In my opinion the weak link in the chain was female lead and producer Sharon Stone. Her often corny dialogue, stoic delivery and perfect makeup made for a less than believable characterization of this tortured and tormented woman who desperately seeks to avenge the death of her father.

The ending is a bit corny and contrived but, that’s okay with me because the build-up (although predicable) works thanks in large part to Sam Raimi’s direction and Hackman’s despicable John Herod. I like how the contest plays out, the conflict between “The Kid” (Dicaprio) and Herod, The history between Herod and Cort (Crowe), and Herod’s steely demeanor, larger than life stature and the inevitability of what is to come. The plot is simple and the storyline isn’t very fulfilling but, the film’s smaller themes combine with its aforementioned strong points to provide a few laughs, and a few thrills that add up to an average but, entertaining western.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for western violence.

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: 84
(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: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness: 
  • Entertainment factor: 
The Quick and the Dead comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

According to the press documentation Sony remastered The Quick and the Dead from the original 35mm film elements, and Its presentation in Ultra HD appears to be derived from the 4K Digital Intermediate.

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 The Quick and the Dead 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.

This is period film that utilizes a variety of visuals to convey its time frame, mood, and thematic tone. The cinematography uses lighting schemes, shadows and low-lit environs, that can impart a dark visual aesthetic. This is purposeful and comes across in this rendering. Looking at the film's opening sequence the improvement in depth and definition is noticeable, especially during the many sunshine splashed daytime scenes that take place in Redemption. I could detect finer details present during interiors shots such as those in the saloon, The Kid’s store and in Herod’s house. There are a few nighttime exterior shots which didn’t offer a marked improvement in dimension, but rendering was fine. Grain is preserved, appearing primarily organic with occasional instances where it takes on heavier emphasis. The color range in the film is narrow, with only the occasional use of primary colors like red and blue appearing onscreen.

I found the presentation to be very tame in terms of its use of dynamic highlights, both bright and dark, however some of that is owed to the nature of the photography. With the exception of the Day of the Dead evening celebration, the image didn't make any visually compelling use of interstitial black levels offset by vivid bright elements. In general, the image looked fine but, not necessarily next level. I believe that what we are seeing is a faithful rendering of the film’s elements, which when all is said and done, is all we can ask for. The question now becomes, is the Ultra HD version worth considering over the Blu-ray?

I would say that if you’re a fan and truly want to own The Quick and the Dead in its finest form, the answer is, yes. If you’re happy with the Blu-ray and are hoping for a revelatory difference, the UHD rendering may disappoint you.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos immersive surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, music and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely, especially when things ramp up during the tournament/western fight sequences. The music score plays an integral role in the film’s soundtrack and it is given a position of prominence in the new Atmos mix. During the big set piece in the finale everything comes together as near field objects, and multi-dimensional ambience places you inside the scene (literally) as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. While this isn’t what I would regard as an aggressive immersive mix, I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere combined with discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and made for an involving listening 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

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: The Quick and the Dead Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: The Quick and the Dead Blu-ray
  • NEW 7 Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
Final Thoughts:

The Quick and the Dead doesn’t fall into the category of a classic western but, I find it to be enjoyable, mindless entertainment that features plenty of western action that is built around a multi-faceted cast. It’s making its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Combo Pack that includes newly restored video, previously unreleased bonus material and Dolby Atmos sound. If you’re set up for Ultra HD Blu-ray and don’t already own the 2009 Blu-ray release (included here) this offering is an excellent choice.

If you already own the Blu-ray release, the option to upgrade will depend on how important the improvement in video quality, plus the new Dolby Atmos mix, is to you. For me, watching The Quick and the Dead in Ultra HD is the only way that I will watch it going forward. If you want to take your cue from that, then you have your answer.

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” 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
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)
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