American Sniper (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

American military films are divisive to say the least.  Now more than ever, there is a general air of disdain for American military issues as they come to light over the years.  We watch the films as either an escape or an awakening and some people view these films as the worst of propaganda.  These feelings aren’t shared by everyone, especially those of us that are patriotic. Then there’s me.  I can’t really categorize my feelings. I watch military based films as entertainment and take what I want from them.  I don’t see propaganda and I don’t see jingoism.  Unfortunately, my sentiment isn’t very general and frustratingly, the line seems to be drawn in the sand for eternity! Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is based off an autobiographical book by Chris Kyle, who unfortunately was killed before the film could be made. Besides a garish CGI baby in one scene, some derided this film as military propaganda, and some saw it as an eye-opening portrait of mental health in veterans.  Either way you slice it, Clint Eastwood made the film and for many of us, this is what makes the film worth seeing.  Here we are 10 years later still discussing it and the film has debuted on 4K UHD Blu-ray too! Read more about American Sniper and its newest format version below and be sure to click the cover art at the end if you would like your own copy!


From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, whose skills as a sniper made him a hero on the battlefield. But there was much more to him than his skill as a sharpshooter. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is sent to Iraq with only one mission: to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield, and as stories of his courageous exploits spread, he earns the nickname “Legend.” However, his reputation is also growing behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. He is also facing a different kind of battle on the home front: striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world. Despite the danger, as well as the toll on his family at home, Chris serves through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq, personifying the spirit of the SEAL creed to “leave no one behind.” But upon returning to his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and kids, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.

I have seen American Sniper a few times.  I was at the ready with a pre-order of the Blu-ray way back in 2014 and watched it enthusiastically with my husband.  He is a war film fan and whether it’s something like The Green Beret with John Wayne or Black Hawk Down, he’s usually all in for those types of movies.  This of course was no exception, and we both watched with open minds, enjoying especially Bradley Cooper’s performance as the hard-edged Kyle.  His refusal to show his sensitivities as he takes multiple tours to Iraq and his pushing away of his wife Tana were somehow worlds away from our experiences, yet we felt such an empathy for him.

The whole mental health angle really struck a chord for the both of us and as we happened upon the ending, which we didn’t realize would be coming, we both even shed a tear. I don’t believe everyone has this reaction, however it’s a shame to see that despite Chris Kyle attempting to find ways to be better, there was still a huge takeaway because of what ending we get. It’s a sad reality that sometimes even getting help can lead you down an unexpected road.

Aside from Bradley Cooper, we get a subtle supporting performance from Sienna Miller, who as wife Tana is someone who stays by Chris’s side despite his personal distance from his home life.  We also get the sure handed direction of the ultra-professional Eastwood, who even in his advanced age has been making some solidly directed smaller films.  His scenes of war-torn Iraq have realism and are not made in a hero-worship style.  He goes for “just the facts” without sugar coating the violence and shock of such difficult situations that happen in war.

American Sniper is not perfect. We get too brief glimpses into Chris’s upbringing and early adulthood. We get an abrupt ending too.  We also get little character development. Those things don’t cripple the movie but these points are still worth pointing out.  We also linger a little too long on the time in Iraq, when a big part of the movie is Kyle opening up to the idea of life at home after so long away. Those domestic scenes may have been more interesting if we had gotten more of that in the film.  As it stands, at 132 minutes, the film has more than enough material without piling on more scenes. At the end of the day, American Sniper, for me anyway, is a portrait of a fragile man trying to find his place in the world who finds comfort in battle but not at home.  This is something I feel is relatable even to people who have not served in the military and for that reason, I can say that I truly enjoy the film.


Stills are for promotional use only and not from the 4K UHD Blu-ray

Encoding: HEVC/H.265

Resolution: 4K

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1


Layers: BD-100

Details: American Sniper has had two Blu-ray releases since 2014 and the disc I got in 2014 was already a very nice-looking, well-rounded presentation. This new 4K UHD Blu-ray edition runs circles around that disc.  Detail is almost shocking, and in some instances, the look can be nearly artificial.  While I do enjoy the presentation, I did feel like that there was some DNR, because grain is missing in some scenes.

Depth:  Despite what seems like some digital scrubbing, depth of field is still nice overall, with nice looking shots showing some nice detailed and textured landscapes and interiors.

Color Reproduction: HDR10 gives us some true to life colors, with Iraq looking washed out as it is in most modern war films.

Black Levels: Blacks are peak perfection.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look natural except when there is DNR present.

Noise/Artifacts: None and sometimes it seems as if some digital scrubbing or DNR was implemented, not always but enough for me to remark about it.


Audio Format(s): English, French, German and Spanish Dolby Atmos; Spanish, Italian, Polish, Czech and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, English, German, German SDH, Italian SDH, Japanese, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish

Dynamics: The Dolby Atmos mix included on this 4K UHD Blu-ray edition of American Sniper is the same one that came with the Blu-ray from 2015.  It was loud, in your face and dynamic then and still is now!

Height: War scenes place gunfire and battle sounds all around the room, and especially in the more intense moments, you can hear aircraft and explosions overhead.

Low-Frequency Extension: Bass pounds during action moments and any time sound effects need to carry heft. The subwoofer definitely digs deep.

Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds carry the lower activity just as accurate and expansive as the height channels.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is mostly focused on the center channel speaker, with clarity and no loss of detail.


Extras for American Sniper are ports from the original and Chris Kyle Commemorative Edition Blu-rays! There is no bundled Blu-ray with this edition, but people who aren’t future proofing will survive!

Special Features:

  • One Soldier’s Story: The Journey of American Sniper
  • Chris Kyle: The Man Behind the Legend​
  • Clint Eastwood: A Cinematic Legacy – The Heart of a Hero
  • Navy SEALs: In War and Peace
  • Bringing the War Home: The Cost of Heroism​
  • The Making of American Sniper
  • Guardian


American Sniper will not gain new fans for war films.  It is also not the most exciting or original biopic style military film.  The film is however a fascinating observation on the mental health of a decorated war hero with a knockout performance from Bradley Cooper.  Chris Kyle, may he rest in peace, would be proud of his portrayal. For Clint Eastwood fans, this is obviously a must see, and for war film collectors , I’m sure you’ve already ordered a copy!

  1. No Comments