Full Metal Jacket (4K Blu-ray Review)

Stanley Kubrick is no stranger to classic film fans.  Arguably, his body of work is one that many would find without flaw.  There are a variety of genres covered – horror, sci-fi, satire, drama, and war… The whole gamut was run by Kubrick.  Full Metal Jacket is a true masterpiece in his catalog and also in war related cinema period. The film finally hits the format on 9/22, and here we have it, all the info you need on the release.  At the end, you’ll find a helpful little paid link to grab your copy and without giving anything away in the opening… You’ll definitely want to get this if you’re a fan of the film!


The war in Vietnam is already underway as recruits have their heads shaved at Parris Island.  They all look weary already but have no idea of what they’re in for.  Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) is the drill sergeant, spewing hate right from the outset.  He begins by verbally attacking each recruit giving some new names. Joker (Matthew Modine) catches heat for his John Wayne impression.  Lawrence (nee Pyle after Hartman renames him) (Vincent D’onofrio) is another such candidate for punishment.

Told in two parts, the first half of this film is iconic.  One of those times where people who’ve never seen the film know about it.  Hartman is heartless, operating how he does because someone else treated him similarly. The scenes with Hartman show that he is hardened by his experiences and hasn’t got an ounce of sensitivity in his body. Joker tries to keep Pyle in line, but his slowness and lack of physical stamina provide him with a world of verbal and mental abuse.  His lack of progression also punishes his team.  When Pyle screws up, the whole team has consequences.  What follows is horrifying to say the least and Pyle has one of the most insane mental breakdowns ever committed to film.

Part two opens right in the middle of Vietnam. Joker and Rafterman (Kevyn Major Howard) are being propositioned by a prostitute and are robbed within minutes of each other. The scene is equal parts dizzying and funny and a great segue after the madness of part one.  Joker also encounters other soldiers in varying degrees of pleasure or pain as he goes in and out of battle as a war reporter for Stars and Stripes, the military magazine.

Cowboy (Arliss Howard), a recruit who was with Joker at training camp comes into the fold at this time too.  His team, Animal Mother (Adam Baldwin), Eightball (Dorian Harewood) and others are welcoming to Joker and Rafterman and they tour together, fighting off the Vietnamese and facing horrors of war at every turn.  Joker is torn in his feelings about being a soldier and his experiences are only more eye opening as he journeys on. His story is one that resonates as a very truthful one for many who really lived through the war. For those of us that didn’t, Full Metal Jacket feels like a history lesson that shows the hell and doesn’t shy away from the negative aspects of war and military life.


  • Encoding: HEVC/H.265
  • Resolution: 4K
  • HDR: HDR10
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Clarity/Detail: From the moment we are seeing the recruits getting their hair cut, Full Metal Jacket is full of life. This is an absolutely engrossing, full bodied, gorgeous new transfer.  Details and clarity are on par with a new film, with textures, colors, foreground, background, and facial highlights all coming off just beautifully!
  • Depth: I was pretty blown away by some moments of depth in this transfer. While on the training field shooting, way deep across the field there are number signs. They are far off in the distance and even seeing the film multiple times before I hadn’t noticed them. There is certainly a new amazing layer of depth now and I was quite impressed with the aforementioned scene and others later in Vietnam!
  • Black Levels: Blacks look fantastic throughout. Solid and substantial without crush. Perfect blacks.
  • Color Reproduction: Colors for Full Metal Jacket are all natural and lifelike. The greens of training fields and the burning reds and oranges of fire and gunfire all look like they would in real life.  The colors pop because they appear much more true to life. Nothing runs hot or overblown at all.
  • Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are also very natural and true to life. The people in the film never look playdoh like or orangey tan.
  • Noise/Artifacts: There is an attractive and very subtle layer of grain intact, but so subtle that you’d almost never notice it.


  • Format(s): English DTS-HA MA 5.1; English Dolby Digital Mono; French, German, Spanish, Spanish (España) Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Mandarin, Norweigian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Thai
  • Dynamics:1 or not, this is an excellent new encoding of the PCM 5.1 track that accompanied the 2007 Blu-ray. Full Metal Jacket sounds full and hearty in this new iteration. Sound effects are of their vintage, but some carry some great weight.  Dialogue is solid and surrounds are used nicely throughout too!
  • Height: N/A
  • Low Frequency Extension: Bass is usually reserved for score and music cues, but explosions, helicopters, and some gunfire make their presence known too. This track isn’t a slouch for bass.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds are working mostly for echo at first… Hartman’s voice is commanding in the front AND the rears. Battle scenes are another place where surrounds come in, putting you in the middle of the battle with Joker.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue sounds pretty great overall. I did notice some source issues that will sound like distortion… Sort of like the mic was a little too hot, but the delivery of the dialogue was too good to remove it or ADR it.  This was most noticeable in the scene in the barracks during Tet.


Full Metal Jacket comes to 4K Blu-ray with new cover art.  The new edition also comes with a standard Blu-ray and a digital code!

Extras on the standard Blu-ray are:

  • Audio Commentary with Adam Baldwin, R. Lee Ermey, and critic/screenwriter Jay Cocks (Also included on 4K Disc)
  • Full Metal Jacket – Between Good and Evil (30:49, 480p)
  • Theatrical Trailer


Full Metal Jacket is equal parts telling, entertaining, thrilling and devastating.  Stanley Kubrick used his skills to create a film masterpiece and a War film icon.  Private Joker is a great character and his story is as engrossing now as it ever was… maybe better still by this gorgeous new 4K release.  Definitely a must for 4K enthusiasts and maybe those who are weary of catalog titles… give this one a shot!

**This is a paid Amazon link**

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