Red appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though generally fine, I thought the image fell short of Blu-ray standards.
Sharpness was mostly good, as the majority of the movie exhibited nice clarity and definition. However, some soft elements intruded, and occasional shots could be a bit tentative. Still, the image usually seemed good. I noticed no issues with jaggies, shimmering or edge haloes, and source flaws were absent.
Colors seemed satisfying – and the movie went with a surprisingly natural palette. Oh, I noticed a little blue tint here and a little tan tint there, but the flick was usually fairly straight-ahead in terms of hues. They tended to be solid, without runniness or other issues. Blacks were more erratic, unfortunately; they were usually taut, but they sometimes looked a little pasty. Shadows were also a bit up and down, as the flick varied from smooth low-light shots to mildly murky ones. Overall, this was a “B-“ presentation.
On the other hand, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack lacked any notable flaws. As one expects from a big action flick, the soundfield opened up in a dynamic manner. The many action sequences used the five channels well, as vehicles, gunfire and other elements fleshed out the room in a compelling manner. The track used the surrounds in an involving way and made them active partners in the mix.
Audio quality always seemed strong. Speech came across as crisp and concise, without edginess or other concerns. Music sounded lively and full, and effects were well reproduced. Those elements seemed consistently accurate and dynamic; low-end was tight and deep. All in all, this was a more than satisfactory soundtrack.
A few extras fill out the disc. We find an audio commentary from movie consultant/retired CIA field officer Robert Baer. He offers a running, screen-specific chat that occasionally discusses aspects of the movie and his work on it. However, Baer usually concentrates on his life in the CIA.
And that’s the selling point, isn’t it? Early on, Baer tells us that the CIA requires operatives to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so it’s unclear how much he can’t legally tell us, but he offers quite a few good observations about life in the agency. The track occasionally sags, and it takes Baer a while to get into the process, but he manages to make this an intriguing discussion.
For elements more closely related to the film’s creation, we go to an interactive program called Access: Red. This runs alongside the movie itself and offers elements across six subdomains:
“Did You Know?”: Trivia tidbits about the film and connected topics.
“Damage Control”: Info about the movie’s mayhem, with an emphasis on the cost of repairs and punishments for infractions.
“Retired Hall of Fame”: Facts about former CIA agents.
“CIA Exposed”: Video clips with info about some of the CIA’s tawdrier activities.
“Cast Insights”: Interview material from producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura as well as actors Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Richard Dreyfuss, Rebecca Pidgeon, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Bruce Willis, Karl Urban, and Julian McMahon. They chat about cast and crew, locations and action scenes, characters and story, and costumes.
“Expert Intel”: Excerpts from Robert Baer’s audio commentary.
Though “Access” covers those six topics, don’t expect constant info on screen. Happily, it comes with the ability to skip ahead to the next tidbit, so you’re not stuck watching the entire movie; you can jump easily and don’t have to waste your time.
That’s a good bonus, as it makes “Access” much more enjoyable. The content itself is decent but not especially great. Still, they add a decent selection of insights about the movie and its real-life connections, so “Access” is reasonably productive.
10 Deleted and Extended Scenes occupy a total of eight minutes, 46 seconds. Most of these simply add a little to existing sequences, so they’re not especially memorable. I do like the piece in which Marvin gripes about being called old, and we also see a little more about Cooper’s home life; those snippets would’ve added a bit of depth to the flick’s climax. Most of the cut pieces are pretty superfluous, though; they’re too brief to make a positive or negative difference.
The disc opens with an ad for Fair Game. No trailer for Red appears here.
A delightful action flick with a “high concept” twist, Red is a winner. It comes with a fun story, an excellent cast and a general sense of excitement that make it a consistent pleasure. The Blu-ray provides acceptable picture, excellent audio and a few enjoyable supplements. I definitely recommend this high-quality shoot-em-up.