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Patriots Day (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

In 2016, director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg teamed for a pair of action-oriented films base on real life big headline stories trying to display American heroism.  The first was Deepwater Horizon, focusing on the 2010 oil spill and the other was Patriots Day that was about the bombing  at the 2013 Boston Marathon and hunt for the terrorists behind it.  Patriots Day came out in a limited fashion in 2016 and was spread more wide in early January.  Maybe it was too early for this one or just too much else to see, but despite good reviews, the film failed to connect with audiences and underperformed.  Its now maybe hoping to find audience at home with its 4K UHD Blu-ray release, coming on March 21st.  You can check it out early via streaming and digital, but physical is always the preferred method of delivery and you can ensure yourself a copy on release day by pre-ordering from the Amazon link provided below.

Film 

Based upon the dramatic real-life manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers, this powerful action-thriller follows Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders as he joins brave survivors, first responders, and investigators in a race against time to find the bombers before they strike again. Directed by Peter Berg and featuring a stellar cast, Patriots Day is a stirring tribute to the Boston community’s strength and courage in the face of adversity.

Not to be a dick, but Patriots Day winds up being a much better movie than anticipated or that it had any business being.  Peter Berg’s “real life stories” tends to waiver from unforgivably bad (Lone Survivor) to just kinda feeling like nothing special (Friday Night Lights).  This one focusing on the Boston Marathon bombing and ensuing suspect chase winds up bringing out the best in Berg’s filmmaking and the worst.  Luckily the second half of the film features him delivering some of his finest and best moments yet.

Those poor qualities usually come in how Berg establishes his characters and build the setup and background for the events.  While I am aware that these are real people, judging it first and foremost as a MOVIE, its renders very hollow, easy and way too on the nose.  All these characters have significant others, they love each other, things are just dandy and happy and really that’s it.  It comes off as incredibly corny, weak, schmaltzy and just bottom of the barrel and the actors asked to carry it out can’t handle it making it extra cheesy and very much like those Dove.org movies.  There is an audience that continually falls for this stuff and that’s who Berg seems to cater to when making his films.  This is nowhere near as awful as the opening of Lone Survivor, but it sure gave me some memories of that while watching.

Now the good.  Once the chase is on, this movie really picks up and Peter Berg starts showing what he can be at his best; a rival to Michael Bay.  While the events shown in this movie are widely known and the outcome just waiting, there is still a nerve wracking intensity that flows through as the terrorists try to escape and endanger people and get into shootouts.  As a matter of fact, there is a major shootout on a neighborhood street that argues to be one of the best action sequences of 2016.  The moment involves lots of firepower, bombs, car destruction and good set ups and pay offs.  Its a symphony of destruction and its a true thrill to watch.  This scene alone makes this movie worthy of recommended viewing.

Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg team up have a charm the third time around.  Once Patriots Day gets through its big setup and first act, it kicks into gear and becomes an FBI manhunt film that can hang with the best of them.  Performances are strong, Wahlberg is pretty much typical Wahlberg, and kudos for casting Michelle Monaghan.  Its a film that is thoughtful and respectable in all angles of major characters and players with any sort of focus in the film.  Some of the writing is a little goofy to be too on the nose or trying to prove itself to be “thoughtful”, but its nothing you can’t shake off and move on.  It feels quick to have a major film based on this out so soon, but this one managed to do it with both quality and respect.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail:  Patriots Day comes with a real nice, crisp, sharp and smooth image.  There is a lot of smoke during the bombing sequences of the film and this one handles it mixed with characters, backgrounds and objects like it isn’t a thing at all.  Its a bold image and where it really sticks out that this is a 4K UHD Blu-ray over its standard counterpart is perfectly led by an example of a long shot that has a stream of runners in the marathon and you can really make out how individual they are, not only in detail but in smooth, spaced and clear movements.  This film does feature some decent HDR, but its moreso relegated to a natural approach to using it.  Uniform textures, street surface with blood stains, cracks, damages and more impresses as you can sense its texture on your skin looking at it.

Depth:  With the good crisp clarity and sharpness to the image, the three dimensional aspect of the film becomes much more apparent in the 4K UHD Blu-ray edition.  Characters move in cinematic fashion but with a real smooth, easiness that makes them pop a little off the screen and have a real sense of being in front of the background with it pushing the latter back, giving a nice sense of distance.  Its a loose image that fully brings on the quality of what the format does beyond delivering exceptional colors.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and well diversified in different tints and shades.  Nighttime sequences follows a really good sense of shadow, shading and holds on to a lot of detail and enhances the definition of character, objects and overall environments.  Pitch black still is plenty visible and maintains an exciting appeal and look.  No crushing witnessed during this viewing of the film.

Color Reproduction: Blue is the dominant color in this mix, featuring it used as a filter and also heavy usage on landmarks and clothing.  Different shades, and hues and all discernible, distinct and full looking.  Reds show up quite well and the neon-looking police vests pop very vibrantly.  The HDR here is not abused, and it really sticks out on car lighting, whether it be brake lighting or the roof lights of the police cars.  Street lights and neon signage also stick out quite good, especially during the night sequences in the film.  Its a movie that goes for a very natural aura and while the colors all hit strong and bold its not trying to fake its palette with a lot of colors it was never using in the first place.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones take on an aesthetic of looking colder during the early morning marathon sequences leading up to and including the bombing, but pull a more natural look in all other scenes of the film.  Detail is great from any distance, with wrinkles, stubble, lip texture, blemishes, bruising, cuts and dried blood all coming on quite strong and lifelike.  Its not flesh or skin, but you can really get a good look at eye/pupil detail in medium and close-up shots as well.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English DTS:X (English 7.1 DTS-HD MA compatible), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Digital Audio Optimized for Late Night Listening, English DTS Headphone:X

Subtitles: English SDH, French SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  Patriots Day comes with a rocking DTS:X track.  As mentioned in my review, just skip on over to that shootout.  Its the perfect demo for this movie and really throws you into the action, utilizing every resource it can in this mix.  This mix has a healthy and balanced weaving of the film’s score, vocal track and special effects.  Said effects are very distinct, well rounded and have plenty of layers with good representation no matter where on the screen or how loud the volume.

Height: From above you can get some bullets whizzing by at a couple times, but mostly it provides some ambiance or amplification of other events going on in a given scene.

Low Frequency Extension:  The score has some deep hits in some intense situation that bumps your room.  Bombs, all kinds of guns, explosions, car crashes and loud engines get a nice big kick from you subwoofer that is both loud and proud hitting all the right buttons to have a full impact on your viewing.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Everything about this mix is pretty terrific.  The 7 channels outside of the ceiling do well in crafting the environments displayed in the film.  From individual ambiance like spectators having their own purpose in a side speakers and rear to the tracking and travel of bullets, firing, explosions and firing during action sequences, this one really delivers.  Even the stuff with the hostage in the car has an impressive, lifelike feel to it.  No to be understated are some of the command center sequences that are able to produce a good room while not being heavy on the action and just suiting up to play ball with normal talking scenes.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clear and crisp unless distorted like when the bombs go off and people are muffled and there is a ringing sound on top of that.  At all times voices are crisp and you can make out each individual even with background players and offscreen lines.

Extras 

Patriots Day comes with the Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Boston Strong: True Stories Of Courage (HD, 21:31) – Told in 3 segments – “Dr. Jeffrey Kalish”, “Dun Meng”, “Sgt. Jeff Pugliese” – these cover the real events with the actual people involved from a surgeon who took in folks injured, the man who was forced to drive the terrorists brothers around and escaped and the officer who took them down in a shootout.

The Boston Bond: Recounting The Tale (HD, 21:43) – Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg and many of the cast and crew discuss their passion and reason for making the film as well as their relationship with the people and city of Boston while filming it.  Wahlberg’s reasoning for it was his love for the city of Boston, but also because he didn’t want to let someone to do it and not understand or get it.

The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes’ Stories (HD, 19:48) – This one gives the accounts of the real life  police commissioner Ed Davis, Sgt. Jeff Pugliese and the heroic driver that escaped Dun Meng telling their stories while also having interviews about the situations with director Peter Berg and their actor counterparts John Goodman, JK Simmons and Jimmy O. Yang.

The Cast Remembers (HD, 5:51) – This has the cast telling their stories of “Where were you?” when the news broke about the Marathon bombing or when it was they heard about it and what their reaction was.

Actors Meet Real-Life Counterparts: A 2-Part Series – In this, the actor and real life person sit together and talk about the events.  Its starts with the actor asking questions and talking about what impressed them about how they handled their situation.  It then goes into a series of questions on the film, their contributions, relations and how it portrayed these real situations.

  • John Goodman & Ed Davis (HD, 8:10) 
  • Jimmy O. Yang & Dun Meng (HD, 10:03) 

Researching The Day (HD, 11:21) – A piece on Peter Berg’s dedication to telling real life stories as accurately as he can.  There’s a focus on his deep research, getting to know towns, people and events in order to bring the most authentic version of real stories to the screen.

Summary 

Patriots Day finds to be a rock solid and very entertaining true life events thriller.  As a 4K UHD Blu-ray, it doesn’t overdo the HDR and gives nice nuances to the video while delivering a pretty great Atmos track to pound the action into your viewing area.  The bonus material proves to be pretty informative if not a bit repetitive/monotonous, moreso focusing on the real events rather than the actual filmmaking and details on the actual craft of the film.  Those picking this up or that are blind buying are getting their money’s worth in really complete package.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

8 Responses to “Patriots Day (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    Thanks, Brandon! I’ll definitely pick this one up as a blind buy based upon your recommendation. How’s the replay value in your opinion? Since we know the outcome already is it something you could see yourself watching again?

  2. Brandon Peters

    The second half has some terrific stuff, like the rural shootout. I’d definitely say that has replay value like crazy.

  3. Cliff Stephenson

    Hi Brandon,
    As the producer of the special features I wanted to point out a few things that may explain/clarify some of your comments. We made a decision VERY early on (back when the film was still being shot) to focus almost exclusively on the real stories and people behind the tragedy. We felt (and still do) that doing the more traditional “look how hard we worked to make this movie” special features was in poor taste in light of the real heroics and sacrifices faced in the days following the bombing. Only when those intersected (like the sensitivity of re-creating the bomb scene in Boston or the amalgamation of the Wahlberg character to clarify the timeline) did we get into the filmmaking. It just felt wrong to do that given the circumstances.

    Additionally, the special features (with the exception of the Boston Strong:True Stories of Courage) were all done/completed at 4K, not HD.

    Thanks for the great review
    Cliff Stephenson – Producer / Patriots Day Blu-ray/4K

  4. Brandon Peters

    Hi Cliff,

    First off…Wow! I’m flattered not only to have your reading my review, but also to have commented.

    In regards to the content of the bonus material, I was making a general overview of what the potential buyer can expect from it if they are just skipping to the final paragraph and not reading the review. It was not intended to be negative at all, and I’m sorry if you took it that way. You made the correct call in taking the approach you did when making it.

    As far as them being in 4K, when I get the time I will go back, but at the time of the review my player was identifying them as HD, and there was no HDR applied to it as well.

    Once again, thank you for read and for your insight and kind words. I look forward to your next endeavor!

    Brandon

  5. Brian White

    Whoa! This review just got real! Thanks for leaving us a comment here, Cliff. Really appreciate it!
    I can’t wait to pick this 4K title up now on Tuesday. I missed it theatrically and Brandon and I try our best to split 4K duties up here on the site so he obviously reviewed it.
    As a reviewer I generally fall in love with the extras when I like a film as I get to deep dive into all the insight and behind-the-scenes work and determination in making the feature I just enjoyed possible. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes they even make me appreciate the film more. And that’s why I’m smitten by your comment of you taking the time to explain the approach behind the choice for what extras are chosen, etc.
    I am curious to both of you, Brandon and Cliff. Brandon did your display say 1920×1080 or the 4K specs? I ask only because it’s possible these extras are on the 4K disc, and truly are 4K, but not finished with HDR…as is the case with Neon Demon *German import) and Bad Santa 2. I’m just curious because the last Paramount 4K disc I reviewed, the Jack Reacher sequel, had extras on the 4K disc, but they were obvious HD resolution. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to basking in all of this come Tuesday night.
    Have a good one!

  6. Cliff Stephenson

    The features are 4K, but NOT HDR. The on-set interviews were not shot in HDR and, like the Bad Santa disc you reference Brian, the extras are 4K SDR. If nothing else, it should provide a good comparison of 4K film clips in both SDR (in the features) and HDR (in the main presentation).

  7. Brian White

    Understood and thank you for clarifying that Cliff. As both a 4K reviewer and a consumer I want to say thank you for bringing true 4K footage to the extras on the UHD disc. I and I’m sure many others truly appreciate it. Can’t wait to check this out! I trust Brandon’s reviews so I know this will rock! Have a great weekend!

  8. Dvdmike

    Saying the movie bombed is in very poor taste