Days of Thunder (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Days of Thunder 4K ReviewDays of Thunder here finds me doing some of my first writing in a long time.  While I immensely enjoy the downtime that the “Quarantine of 2020” provides I can’t help but ultimately feeling lazy from too much sleep and my vice, heavy Call of Duty playing.  However, it’s time to shake the cobwebs off and get back to work here.  That starts with Days of Thunder, which makes its 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debut on May 19th courtesy of Paramount.  I have a secret as it relates to this movie.  I have never seen Days of Thunder before.  Thus I signed myself up for this assignment.  Top Gun and War of the Worlds, which are also coming out on 4K disc the very same date, are a no-brainer purchase for me (I’ll let the other reviewers cover them).  Sink or swim I wanted Days of Thunder.  I figure the worst case scenario is I dodge a bullet on a blind buy, but I’m hoping to completely smitten just like I am with virtually every other Tom Cruise feature.  So c’mon!  Let’s get those engines started, baby!  Vroom!  Vroom!

Days of Thunder 4K Review


Days of Thunder came out in 1990.  It was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Tony Scott.  In addition to everyone’s favorite immortal, Cruise, the film stars a very you, red hot Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Cary Elwes, Caroline Williams and Michael Rooker.  It also features appearances by real life NASCAR racers back in the day such as Rusty Wallace, Harry Gant and Neil Bonnett plus ESPN commentator Dr. Jerry Punch.  Here’s also an interesting fact.  This is the first of three films to star both Cruise and Kidman with the subsequent ones being Far and Away and Eyes Wide Shut.  Oh how I would die for a 4K disc release of the latter, but I digress.  

I’m sure Roger Ebert would have once said back in the day you’ve seen one Tom Cruise movie you’ve seen them all.  Much of that mentality is true for me with Days of Thunder.  I was really planning on being blown away by a feature I missed back in the day, but by the film’s end I couldn’t help thinking about that there were so many other good Cruise films back in the day deserving of a 4K treatment.  I would have easily taken The Firm from Paramount over this, but like my lust for Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut I digress.  It has some great action sequences, a Hans Zimmer musical score and of course Nicole Kidman, but in my opinion a familiar Tom Cruise arc with a predictable storyline/outcome.  I did, however, gain a new respect for the grueling and death defying work that NASCAR driving really is.  Prior to this film I don’t I ever gave a damn about NASCAR.  Perhaps I’m just getting old or this quarantine is really having an effect on me. 

Days of Thunder undoubtedly has a spectacular rounded out cast.  There were times when I was watching Robert Duvall’s performance I found myself getting confused with his character in Nic Cage’s Gone in 60 Seconds.  If you’re a NASCAR race fan, you’re obviously going to be drawn to this and for good reason.  The races and high octane engine action really do justice in making the heart pump a little faster.  For romance aficionados you’re of course going to get your Cruise-Kidman fill, frizzy hair and all.  Was there ever any doubt in that?  I sure hope not!  However, what it all comes down to for me is just a predictable storyline I can’t seem to get past because I was expecting so much more.  I mean why else would Paramount put this front and center for a 4K release and a Paramount Presents Blu-ray release as well?  I guess I’ll never know.  

The story of Days of Thunder is set up around the most usual culprit of events with a mentor whose glory days are behind him, a young one who thinks he knows it all and a promoter looking to take over the world.  And in good ole Rocky like fashion cue the adversary that will end up serving to be so much more.  Oh wait!  I forgot the love interest.  I mean without her how is the young one supposed to go from point A to point B, right?  Luke Skywalker may have did it in Star Wars, but you can’t tell me he didn’t want Leia before knowing that was his sister.  What saves this one for me is the high octane action of the thrilling racing moments, the barrage of car chases and smash-ups and the promise that we’ll hopefully get through all this unscathed for Tom’s promising Daytona 500 debut.  Did I capture it all?  I believe I did.  

Days of Thunder 4K Review


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Paramount’s Days of Thunder.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: Real 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2:39:1
  • HDR: Yes
  • Dolby Vision: Yes
  • Clarity/Detail: Truth be told I have nothing to compare Paramount’s Days of Thunder to on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format here.  Because I never seen the film before I have no idea what the original looks Blu-ray of the title looks like.  I could only imagine it’s probably plagued with wild grain and oversaturated colors.  However, I do know this one was shot in 4K and remastered as a 4K Digital Intermediate for this release so there’s that!  Okay folks.  Brace yourselves.  I’m talking to you grain haters.  You’re not going to like this one.  It’s nowhere near as bad as the first Ghostbusters release on the format, but it’s definitely not a new looking film on the format.  So know that going in please and don’t say I didn’t warn you.  To me it makes the film feel nostalgic, warm and inviting, but I get it.  Not everyone out there appreciates the grain.  However, with that being said, things still do look gorgeous and there’s a lot of fine details in close-ups and brightly lit environments.  Wrinkles and stubble can be found not he actors while little fine details like dents and scratches on the stock cars can easily be seen.
  • Depth: Despite the grain there are many great examples of how depth of field recreates a realistic three-dimensional environment throughout here like the sweeping farm landscapes, the city streets and of course the race track.  One of my favorite examples is when we first see the frame of the car that Robert Duvall’s character is going to attempt to build within his garage.  That said frame appeared three-dimensional within the sequence. @singhcr over at Blu-ray I’m not a grain hater.  In fact this first sentence here signifies that grain, albeit mostly excessive grain, in a print can inherently cause an image to appear flat and not three-dimensional like.  The fact that I am trying to make, which you seem not to get is that is NOT the case here.  Next time I shall be clearer in my words or hopefully you’ll actually copy the whole sentence and not take it out of context.
  • Black Levels: Black levels are consistently deep and inky throughout.  HDR prevents the nighttime and dark sequences from losing too much in the shadows.  
  • Color Reproduction: The colors are all natural, but very warm and organic throughout.  Obviously the bright sponsored race cars pop here under during the sun drenched sequences.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones all look very natural and healthy throughout.  I read the original Blu-ray release had reddish skin tones, but thankfully that wasn’t the case here.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Other than the grain, which was only excessive in the beginning there’s nothing to reprimand this one for score-wise.  Truth be told that the grain actually does subside as the movie goes along and you forget all about it in brightly lit environments like the race track under sunny conditions.  It also makes you feel like you’re watching real cinema and not a polished presentation like Revenge of the Sith.

Days of Thunder 4K Review


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Days of Thunder.  

  • Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese Mono Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dynamics: Alright so you see the obvious up above I am sure.  There is no Dolby Atmos surround track.  However, I’m going to side with y’all and saying that’s hogwash they didn’t provide one after doing a 4K remaster of the video.  I truly believe this one could have benefit from it.  I would have loved to hear discreetly the commentator’s voice during the races coming out of the height channels.  That would have been grand!  Instead we do have a brightly mix surround track that I’m not going to lie about…sounds straight out of the 90’s.  I say that nicely because rest assured the sound stage is wide open especially during the racing sequences, but along with the video you just can’t help but feeling that sense of nostalgia even with the surround track as great as it did sound.  I am told this is the same mix in the former Blu-ray release so there’s is also that pill to swallow.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel handles itself incredibly well as you would expect in the high octane racing sequences.  Whether it’s squealing of the tires, roving of the engines or blasting off from the start line this one is all about aggression so much so that I actually had to turn this one down.  It was so loud, but I really dig that about this surround track.  It’s not afraid to breathe.  Crashes are all rendered authentically and perhaps the biggest draw for me was when you would see onscreen a swarm of stock cars competing to get by at the same moment in time.  The bass rumbled ferociously during these moments.  The score also brought bass.  I got to admit it was weird hearing a score like this from Hans.  I’m so used to his DC, Nolan and Star Wars ones.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Like stated up in the LFE section the rear channels come alive in moments of peril and action…I’m talking specifically the racing sequences ladies and gentlemen.  There was an utmost sense of prioritization and directionality with the onscreen event especially as cars lapped around you, passed you up and zoomed on by diagonally.  I loved that!
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialog levels are crisp and intelligible throughout.  I never missed any spoken word, but I did have to strain a few times.  Like I said the mix reminded you of an early 90’s type vibe.  There was one moment when Nicole was on top of the parking garage yelling at Tom’s character and her lips were severely out of sync.  I thought it was my player, but the very next scene the lip sync was perfect.  Again I never seen this movie so I can’t attest to whether or not this problem was there prior.

Days of Thunder 4K Review


What can I tell you about the extras here in this Days of Thunder 4K package?  Well for starters I can tell you this much.  There isn’t much!  Since this is getting one of those fancy Paramount Presents releases on Blu-ray there’s no included 1080p Blu-ray Disc.  Instead all you get is an isolated score (under the audio options) and a 7-minute featurette on the 4K UHD disc itself as the lone extra.  However, in addition you’ll also have a redeemable code you can enjoy the movie on the go digitally from.

  • Filmmaker Focus: Days of Thunder (SDR, 29:46) – Producer Jerry Bruckheimer sits down for this new featurette where he briefly recalls the making of the movie specifically with the late, great Tony Scott.  The thing I loved the most was how he chatted about the cameras on the cars in the way this one was captured.  However, this one is really too brief to even give consideration.  Do yourself a favor like I did and read up on the making of this one.  They were wild…especially with the girls.  Wow!

Days of Thunder 4K Review


There you go my faithful 4K disciples.  If you’re a fan of this film, then this 4K disc release is an absolute no-brainer as you’re getting Days of Thunder with the best video presentation you’ve ever seen.  However, if your sole focus is on getting a robust amount of never-before-seen extras, then you come to the wrong place.  The movie was meh for me, but one man’s moment of meh is another’s treasure.  I get it!  So if you choose to indulge yourselves here, do me a favor.  Rev those engines if you got them and enjoy the 4K treatment this one is given.  That’s a direct order!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.  The images used above within the review are not actual 4K screenshots.  They are for illustrative purposes only.  



Days of Thunder

Nicole Gets w/ Tom Behind The Wheel

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Days of Thunder 4K Review


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).

3 Responses to “Days of Thunder (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Ebert would never say that. 🙂

  2. Hugo

    Thank you for the review.
    I have one question. Can you please check if there is two options of portuguese subtitles?
    On the Top Gun 4K I know there is Portuguese (Portugal) and Portuguese (Brazilan)but I would like to know if the sames happens here or not.

  3. Brian White

    The only selection for Portuguese is (Brasil) Mono Dolby Digital. No (Portugal). I have a screenshot if needed.