Full Metal Jacket appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This became a solid take on the material.
Sharpness seemed to be positive during the majority of the film. During a few of the boot camp scenes, I thought some wide shots appeared a bit soft. However, this was a minor complaint, as most of the movie was distinctive and well-defined.
I saw no signs of moiré effects or jagged edges, and edge haloes seemed absent. Light grain appeared through the film, and I noticed no print flaws.
Jacket featured a fairly subdued palette for the most part, and the disc replicated these hues well. The tones made sense within the design of the film and they looked clear and accurate.
The Vietnam sequences provided the strongest colors, especially during sunset shots, as on those occasions, the golden tones were strong. The disc’s HDR added zest and impact to the hues.
Black levels appeared deep and dense, and shadow detail was also appropriate. HDR brought greater range to these elements as well as to contrast and whites. I felt the 4K portrayed the image well.
Remixed from the original monaural, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Full Metal Jacket opened up the material. During the boot camp scenes, the soundfield generally remained fairly monaural. The music spread across to the channels, but effects seemed constrained to the center for the most part.
I heard nice localization when the grunts were on the shooting range, and some general ambience also stretched across the different speakers. Overall, though, the effects preferred to stay centered in these scenes.
That attitude changed when our characters went to Vietnam. Once we got to a battlefield, the soundscape opened up and provided a lot of appropriately-placed sound.
Choppers flew past neatly, and their blades seemed to engulf us when we watched folks on board them. The skirmishes showed a wide range of effects, as gunfire and mortar blasts appeared in logical locations that made the fight come from all around me. I thought it presented an involving and atmospheric track that nicely broadened the material.
Audio quality demonstrated a few concerns, and some problems came along with the dialogue. At times, speech seemed constrained and stiff, and a bit of edginess also could be heard. Lee Ermey’s lines were the most significantly flawed of the bunch, as they often showed signs of brittleness.
Otherwise, the remaining elements sounded good. Effects were usually quite clean and realistic, and they showed positive dynamics. A little gunfire seemed slightly distorted, but for the most part, these aspects of the track were clean and accurate, and they worked well.
Music seemed well-reproduced, as the score was bright and dynamic at all times. This was a very good remix.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both discs came with similar audio. The 4K replaced the BD’s PCM 5.1 with DTS-HD MA 5.1, but both felt very similar.
Note that the 4K brought the movie’s theatrical monaural track, which the BD lacked. Unfortunately, the 4K left this as a lossy Dolby Digital option and didn’t give it DTS-HD MA treatment.
As for the visuals, they displayed the expected improvements, as the 4K seemed better defined and smoother than the BD, with superior colors, blacks and contrast. Due to the movie’s choices, the 4K didn’t dazzle, but it gave us a quality reproduction of the film.
On the 4K disc, we find an audio commentary from critic Jay Cocks and actors R. Lee Ermey, Adam Baldwin and Vincent D’Onofrio. All sit separately for this edited track.
We learn about cast and performances, the actors’ training, Kubrick’s methods and collaborating with him, sets and music, the source material and its adaptation, and a mix of other topics.
Ermey and Baldwin are the odd men out here, as they only pops up a handful of times. Ermey disappears fairly early in the film, while Baldwin doesn’t appear until around the 65-minute mark.
D’Onofrio dominates the first part of the film and still appears in the rest even though his character is gone; he just shows up less frequently, so the track becomes Cocks’ baby.
That makes the first section of the film the most useful. D’Onofrio throws out a lot of good insights into the production and Kubrick. He offers a fine look at the director’s style and how he worked on Jacket.
Cocks provides some content of that sort as well, but he’s not nearly as interesting. Partly that’s because Cocks devotes a lot of his time to praise of the film, and he also gets into some bland interpretation of it. We don’t find a lot of depth in his chat, though some decent moments emerge.
Oh, and someone needs to tell him that it’s “Ermey”, not “Emery” – Cocks constantly mispronounces the actor’s name. Still, there’s more than enough gold from D’Onofrio to make this a good commentary.
All the remaining extras appear on the included Blu-ray copy. This duplicates the earlier release, so don’t expect a new/updated Blu-ray.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a documentary entitled Full Metal Jacket: Between Good and Evil. This 30-minute, 49-second piece mixes movie clips, archival materials and interviews.
We hear from Ermey, Baldwin, D’Onofrio, Cocks, former Warner Bros. executive John Calley, The Complete Kubrick author David Hughes, Stanley Kubrick: A Biography author John Baxter, executive producer Jan Harlan, steadicam operator John Ward, assistant art director Nigel Phelps, Do the Right Thing cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, 2010 director Peter Hyams, and actors Kevyn Major Howard and Dorian Harewood.
“Good” looks at the source material and the development of the project. From there we hear about casting and performances, recreating Vietnam in England, the length of the shoot and its effect on the actors, Kubrick’s working methods, some themes and interpretation, and thoughts about the movie’s legacy.
“Good” acts as a solid complement to the commentary. It covers much of the same territory but still manages not to repeat a lot of the content from that track.
We get a nice examination of the project in a general way, though anecdotes about Kubrick serve as the show’s highlights. This turns into a satisfying program.
Note that the 25th Anniversary BD linked above included a DVD with an additional documentary called “Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes”. It offered a good show so it seems unfortunate it doesn’t appear here.
Full Metal Jacket remains a decent flick, albeit one with little to distinguish it from others in its genre. And that’s a problem, as we expect more than “decent” from Stanley Kubrick. The 4K UHD brings solid picture and audio with a few useful bonus features. This remains lesser Kubrick.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of FULL METAL JACKET