American Sniper (Blu-ray Review)

American Sniper Blu-ray ReviewAmerican Sniper saw a limited release theatrically last year on Christmas Day.  So if you are in the know with my usual rants, then you have already guessed it and hit the nail on the head.  It wasn’t released or screened anywhere near me last Christmas, hence why I did not see this masterpiece until January this year and also why it’s sorely missing from my Top 10 Films of 2014 post here.  It juts goes to show you that you can’t have your cake and eat all the time too.  You either pay the high taxes and live in a shoebox in LA or you stuff your face with fatty BBQ, sip back on sweet tea and watch the world pass you by, but I digress.  We really do have a movie to discuss here.  So ladies and gentlemen, let me be the first to formally welcome you to my much-anticipated and all-American Blu-ray review of American Sniper.


Before we go full blown into the movie here, I do want to spend a moment discussing the film’s brilliant first trailer.  That was really what sold me on the film without knowing anything else.  The tension captured there in only those two brief minutes had me wanting to plop my money down on the ticket counter right then and there.  It seems like everyone loves Homeland.  And quite honestly, I don’t think no one will ever tell you they weren’t remotely interested in the events that unfolded and went down in Zero Dark Thirty either.  Rest assured, I really am trying to make a point here.  What I am trying to say is if you are somewhat interested and intrigued in everything I have talked about in this second paragraph, then you already know that like it or not American Sniper is a flick you’re just going to have to see to satisfy your curiosity.  It’s about an all-American hero after all.  What’s not to love?  It’s finally on Blu-ray yo!

Make no mistake though, American Sniper is a sometimes hard-to-swallow biographical war drama film directed by Clint Eastwood so go in prepared and armed with the knowledge there will be some slow burning moments, but don’t get your panties in a bunch.  This isn’t your usual Eastwood directed film.  The movie is based on and adapted from Chris Kyle’s autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (try saying that title fast ten times in a row).  It stars everyone’s favorite raccoon, Bradley Cooper, as Chris Kyle and my Baroness Sienna Miller as his wife with contributions from Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Jake McDorman, Sam Jaeger and Cory Hardict in supporting roles, plus my San Diego friend of a friend, actor Ben Reed.  Just with the two former star names previously mentioned, you already had me hello.  Say whaaaaat?!

So let me just reiterate again, had I been living in LA or NYC last December there’s no way that American Sniper would not have been included on my 2014 Top 10 list.  I really love it even after three views of that fake baby!  It’s one hell of a respectful tribute to one of American’s true heroes.  Don’t believe me?  Well, hopefully I can persuade you.  Let’s take a tour of this war torn movie and discuss all the ways this is one of Clint Eastwood’s masterpieces, his very own Zero Dark Thirty.

If you want to talk about gritty, nail biting, unnerving, gripping tension and one hell of an onscreen portrayal of a soldier’s struggle with PTSD back home, then good because you’re reading the right film here!  Of course there’s also a lot of patriotism thrown at you at times, but dammit this movie makes a point and I think it knocks it out of the ballpark with its message and respectfulness of matters.  So answer me this.  Isn’t it sad that we are sitting here complaining we have to work our dead end jobs while sucking away our caffe mochas, munching on chips and binge watching Breaking Bad or wasting time playing the newest Call of Duty video game when there’s a war overseas that no one really talks about where real soldiers are laying down their lives for the freedom that most of us take for granted everyday?  It’s films like these, and I’m sorry for saying this Gerard, that make me proud to be an American.  It makes me wish that I did not have these bum hips and I could be a Navy SEAL and fight for the very same freedom that I take for granted everyday.

Not being his biggest fan in the past, I thought Clint did an amazing job with pacing and direction here.  I’m sure things were made easier for him with the remarkable performances delivered by the main billing stars and supporting cast.  Hell, I even wish Ben Reed had more screen time than he did as the father figure here.  His performance was both solid and intimidating.  However, let’s circle back to Clint’s direction and pacing for a quick moment.  Sure there’s some slow parts here and there, but much to my surprise Clint really did an awesome job here with the action sequences lifting my opinion of him after some slower films he has done as of late.  It had the quick paced, realistic action and somewhat “historical” accuracy of Zero Dark Thirty mixed with the intensity and high emotional stakes of something akin to The Kingdom or Lone Survivor.

Underneath it all, this was more than just your everyday run of the mill biography, there’s a real, living breathing, tangible “Hollywood” story at play here with an antagonist that everybody grows to hate.  Clint also seemed to know just when a certain scene would start to wear its welcome and he would switch things up.  At first it seemed kind of erratic, but I appreciate the change of scenery and timeline shifts as the film moves along.  I guess what I am trying to say is it just flows, and stupid old me initially thought that I would be bored.  Sometimes I do love being ever so wrong about things like this.

So I don’t really feel like there’s much of a reason to talk about plot so much here.  As stated before, Cooper portrays Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most accomplished marksman in American military history.  In other words, he was a legend.  This story takes place over several tours throughout the Iraq War.  And while I have yet to read the aforementioned autobiography here, I have talked to a few that have and rest assured there are many parts that have been Hollywood-ized here.  I only make mention of this as to not to compare apple to oranges.  People who know the real story may come out of this feeling a bit jaded as to what was added, but for a newbie like me to Kyle’s story, I am still on the edge of my seat after seeing this three times now.  I also feel the artistic liberties in the storytelling approach in how the ending played out was very pleasing too, but again quite Hollywood-like in nature.  It’s the screenwriter in me though that really appreciates it.  It just fit perfectly.

I could go on and on about why I love American Sniper so much, but perhaps the biggest thing for me is how well the psychological trauma and PTSD disorder was handled here.  Kyle came home a broken man more often than not, alienated from our society.  His body was here, but his mind wasn’t.  Although I can’t honestly say I have anything to compare to in my life in regards to everything he went through and saw, I can definitely understand and appreciate the gravity of the situation and ultimately the disorder.  Sometimes I get so bogged down in the everyday stresses of my own jobs that my mind becomes Jello and even when I am somewhere else I am conceivably not always there in the mind department.  It’s a bad habit that I hope to break someday because I really do want to truly live in the moment, but in my opinion, the first step of the cure is always admitting you have the problem.  So I have at least done that right in life, but I can’t deny I did really get into watching Kyle battle his demons onscreen.  It hit hard on the home front for me and hopefully it will for you too.

So I’ll finish up and tidy up things with this next remark.  If you’re a fair weather fan of modern war films like The Hurt LockerThe KingdomZero Dark Thirty and Lone Survivor, then there’s no other place that your a$$ belongs than watching Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort, American Sniper, soon to be on Blu-ray!  It’s not a preachy movie, but it’s a character study.  Whether you believe in war or not you have to value the lives others put on line for our freedom.  Don’t you?  Of course you do (or else you’d an evil person and no one likes those).

American Sniper


  • Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1
  • Clarity/Detail: Fine detail is all abound here in all the military gear, weapons, garb and desolate environments.  The Middle East landscapes are rendered flawlessly.  Every bead of sweat, stubble of hair, drop of blood and grain of sand is meticulously accounted for here.
  • Depth: The characters all pop onscreen three-dimensional against the military action that unfolds.  Depth of field is prevalent in the streets of the war torn Middle Eastern cities as well as the rooftops the snipers look down and across from.
  • Black Levels: Black levels are not always the deepest, but they are good enough not to ding the presentation for the few scenes I am teetering on.
  • Color Reproduction: Think about what Three Kings looks like, and you have a visual representation of the color palette in your head.  The dullness and void of colors makes you feel like your overseas fighting in the war.  However, venture into the wilderness or go back to the States and vibrancy will be accessible.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones are all natural and lifelike throughout with no signs of exaggeration.
  • Noise/Artifacts: There is never anything negative in the print or transfer that made me vomit or remark this looks ugly.  In other words, it’s flawless and void of debris, noise and other nasty artifacts.

American Sniper


  • Audio Format(s): English 7.1 Dolby ATMOS, Canadian French  7.1 Dolby ATMOS, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Dynamics: Like the throttle and throaty exhaust on a 2015 Mustang GT the dynamics are wide open and breathy here from the quietest squabbles, heartfelt moments and scenes of tension to the chaos and mass hysteria of full blown war in the Middle East streets.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE does take a nap here occasionally, but more than makes it presence known from the immersive roar of the moving tanks crushing the ground to the sound of grenades and RPGs exploding all around.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: I already mentioned explosions so let’s talk about all the other immersive moments here such as helicopters swirling behind you, the gunfire spray, bullets zinging everywhere and rockets flying over head.  It’s all here peeps.  Like watching Saving Private Ryan, you’re in the middle of the war here.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: There’s some mumbled southern accents to contend with here at times, but other than that the dialog is always intelligible and clear here.

American Sniper


For all the greatness that this film offers on Blu-ray it’s a little sad to see that with the exception of the redeemable UltraViolet presentation of the feature, there’s really only two lonely supplements to be found here.  That’s it!  A director’s commentary or even a soldier’s one would have been awesome.  However, just these two extras alone, which aren’t too shabby in the length department, are just as equally awe-inspiring, powerful and emotional as the movie itself and I held back many the tear while watching and typing all the below up.  I hope I made you proud in my coverage of them below.

  • One Soldier’s Story: The Journey of American Sniper (HD, 31:04) – Complete with footage from the film, the cast and crew talk about what the film means to them (the beyond the war point of view and the effects it has on man) and how the journey all began by picking up the story.  It was interesting to hear them talk about how they met with Chris in real life and of course how the screenwriter worked with him to bring the story to life for the screen.  Bradley Cooper also talks about how he approached the character and became involved.  Chris was excited about Brad’s involvement.  Then we venture into darker territory here when the filmmakers found out that Chris was tragically murdered and the heartbreaking stories around all that.  The creative team had to regroup after this and Chris’ wife wanted them to really do it right.  It was interesting to learn that Spielberg was originally attached to this project.  Ironically, Chris originally wanted Eastwood to be involved.  There’s so much more in this half hour doc, including scenes, locations and character preparations/transformations (even the weights Bradley lifted in the movie were real), but I don’t want to spoil it for y’all.  I want you to watch this!  This one, like the film itself, nearly moved me to tears.
  • The Making of American Sniper (HD, 28:35) – This one in my opinion is very much a promotional piece for the studio complete with a long list of onscreen critic quotes and large quantities of film footage.  This one examines and takes a look at what the story is all about.  Some of this is a repeat from the extra mentioned up above.  It was interesting to hear about the amount of pressure Bradley had on him to make this right because all the Marines told him that he better not F this up.  The amount of preparation and transformation Bradley went through to pull this role off is simply breathtaking and remarkable.  The filmmakers were astonished how Bradley uncannily brought Chris to life whether scripted or improvised.  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this extra though is hearing Chris’ wife and other veterans speak firsthand on the hardships and reality of it all.  In other words, there are more tear jerking moments to be had here.
  • Trailers (HD) – There are two Warner Bros. theatrical trailers found here, San Andreas and the hotly anticipated Mad Max: Fury Road.

American Sniper


Long story short, and I hate to be the guy to say/preach this, but I feel if you live in the United States and haven’t served in the Armed Forces, then it’s your patriotic duty to support and partake in a viewing of American Sniper.  To ensure you do, Warner Bros. sweetened the pot!  How?  I’m glad you asked!  Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will donate a portion of the proceeds across physical and digital sales to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).  One dollar of each purchase will be donated up to $1,000,000 from April 21, 2015 through December 31, 2015, void in Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi and South Carolina.  To get involved and learn more, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.com.  Support your country and the freedom most take for granted by seeing American Sniper.  My work is done and my preaching is over.  Enjoy!


American Sniper

Takes The Shot on Blu-ray 

May 19th!





American Sniper Blu-ray Cover Art


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

2 Responses to “American Sniper (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Cash

    well i found this film well made but left a bad taste in my mouth which left it as a 4/10

  2. Brian White

    Yeah I know this film isn’t for everyone. I HATE the fake baby, but all was forgiven on that front because the emotions and film exceeded my expectations.