Belly – 25th Anniversary Edition (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

On January 24th, Lionsgate released the 25th Anniversary Edition 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray of the film Belly, which was the only film directed by prolific music video director Hype Williams. Boasting tow of hip hop’s biggest names at the time; Nas and DMX, the film features some big stylistic flourish and a bumping soundtrack. This new edition features a Dolby Atmos track and carries over its previous extras. There’s a steelbook version and a standard version available for the film. If you’re wanting the standard 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, you can order yourself a copy by using the paid Amazon Associates link at the bottom of this page following the review.




As gang leader Tommy (DMX) looks to expand his turf by dealing a new form of heroin, his friend Sincere (Nas) dreams of escaping the gangster life with his girlfriend and baby daughter. After a drug house operated by Tommy is raided, he and Sincere — now pursued by both the police and rival gangs — each find themselves on a course that will either lead to redemption or ruin.

Its a shame Hype Williams hasn’t tried his hand at another feature film after Belly. While the film itself is a bit of an average script, his touch on it elevates it many levels. Williams brings his music video sensibilities and successfully delivers a feature film that you can see his touches on, while also translating them into a different video medium successfully. There’s a lot of playing with strong light feature, funky lenses and big angles that really show off his chops. There’s also a beautiful contrast in the film between what the gangster crime fantasy looks like and then the normal “real life” touches are. Look no further than how he lights, shoots and builds sets for the scenes with Taral Hicks and how he does them for T-Boz. Williams exudes a lot of expert talent here.

Where Belly finds itself coming up short is in the story not giving itself some sort of edge beyond its style and who is in the cast for it. Yes, it has memorable sequences by way of their look and the song playing against it. But, it would have been cool to have a memorably choreographed or cut together action sequence as it has plenty of attempts at that. And I’m aware its not their true profession here, but the musicians in the film are asked to lead and carry it and they just don’t give strong enough performances to make it any more compelling, engaging or take the script or characters up a notch. No, this isn’t like watching a Neil Breen film, but its also not Goodfellas nor is it even Knockaround Guys.

Luckily, those performance don’t sink it and do add some novelty in the who it is you are watching. Belly is a stylish gaze I’ve certainly enjoyed returning to every so many years. If you’re a cinematography nut, this film offers a heck of a lot for you. Taking it in as mostly a visual + music experience, it can offer plenty. And to its benefit, its not a very long film at all and cuts to the chase in many areas rather than tinker around.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail Belly is film that was sitting, waiting for the 4K Ultra-HD format and HDR and it did not disappoint. This hyper stylized movie was a an easy hit for this format and Lionsgate’s disc does not disappoint. Right form the jump you’ll be quite wow’d. This has a sharp picture, very fine details and a beautiful display of color against natural blacks. If you’re looking for a beautiful looking image, this is one to check out.

Depth: Depth of field is quite strong here with the scale feeling adequate and the cinematography feeling big and larger than life at times. Movement is smooth and natural with no issues coming from any sort of jitter or blur during the action sequences

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural and really show off to expert degrees. Contrast here form this really brings out the colors in incredible ways. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are absolutely rich and gorgeous here. Blues are impressive, especially as they filter up a scene. The HDR on display, contrasting in many of the dark scenes is the ideal experience you want. The eyes in the blacklight sequence to open the movie is straight up bad ass on this disc.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. The film features various strong enforced filters and things do follow suit as to be expected there. Facial features and textures like pores, sweat, dried blood, stubble, wrinkles, lip texture, make-up strokes and more are clear as day.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Belly come crashing through your surround system. Its loud and proud here as either the music cranks through or guns come ablazing all over the room. This mix is incredibly well balanced between the vocals, effects and score. There’s some good layering and depth here to craft some nice rooms to live in. Oh and did I mention this one gets gleefully loud?

Height: Not a whole lot of crazy from up top, but there are some more natural contributions and some ambiance and score that flows through the ceiling at times.

Low Frequency Extension: The music in the film really bumps and rumbles. Gunshots pop and pound as does glass crashing, engines humming, punches landing and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: This mix is full realized and has some good bounce around the room. Sound travel roll with some good power. Rear and side channels have a full awareness of the entire room offscreen at any given moment in the film.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Belly – 25th Anniversary Edition comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code. Aside from the commentary, all bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc. Extras are ported over from the previous Blu-ray and DVD releases and nothing new as been added.

Audio Commentary

  • with Hype Williams

Spoken Word (SD, 39:07)

Deleted Scene (SD, 3:33)

Grand Finale Music Video (SD, 4:05)


Belly is a sort of  average gangster tale, absolutely heightened and enhanced by its directorial flourish. Lionsgate brings it to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a stunning presentation in both its video presentation and the Atmos track that bangs all around the room. Extras here are archival, going back to its original DVD release. This is a pretty top notch upgrade that should be picked up at the right sale price for those who are fans.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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