The Road Warrior appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Overall, the image satisfied.
Overall clarity seemed good. Some low-light shots felt a bit soft, but that stemmed from the source, and general delineation worked well.
I witnessed no concerns with jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes were absent. Since I saw a nice layer of grain, I didn’t sense any intrusive noise reduction, and the print came free from defects.
Films set in post-apocalyptic wastelands don’t usually opt for bright ‘n’ bold hues, so expect a sandy palette from Road Warrior. Though occasional instances of more dynamic hues occasionally occurred, the tones remained low-key most of the time.
Within those constraints, they seemed appropriate. HDR gave the hues added oomph and impact.
Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows were fairly good. As implied earlier, a couple of low-light shots looked a bit dense, but overall clarity was positive.
HDR contributed emphasis and power to both whites and contrast. In the end, this became a quality presentation.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack showed its age but fared reasonably well. The soundfield managed to open up matters in a reasonable manner, as the movie exhibited decent panning and movement.
The big action sequences used the side/rear speakers the best and showed vehicles and weapons that cropped up in logical places. As it moved from rear to front, the gyrocopter worked best.
The integration could be a bit clunky, and music lacked particularly precise stereo imaging, but given the era of the material, the soundscape created a fairly solid sense of place.
Audio quality also showed its age but held up in a generally positive manner. Speech could be a little rough at times, but the lines tended to be fairly natural and concise.
Music showed good range, and effects provided positive accuracy, as they could also demonstrate nice low-end punch. This wasn’t a killer remix but it seemed more than passable for an old movie.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The 4K’s Atmos audio expanded somewhat on the BD’s 5.1 material.
However, it also came with re-recorded elements and appeared to offer a less accurate representation of the original mix than otherwise might’ve been the case. The 4K included the earlier audio as well to give viewers a choice.
As for the 4K’s visuals, it brought the standard upgrade in terms of sharpness, colors and blacks. Expect a clear step up in quality here.
Only a few extras appear here, and we launch with an audio commentary from director George Miller and cinematographer Dean Semler. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, cinematography and visual design, cast and performances, sets and locations, sequel-related issues, stunts and action, editing, music and some other topics.
Semler and Miller combine for a warm, collegial feel in this likable chat. They keep the commentary moving well most of the time and give us a nice overview of the appropriate issues. Expect an informative, enjoyable piece.
The movie can be viewed with or with an introduction from film critic Leonard Maltin. In this three-minute, 35-second piece, Maltin gives us some background on the movie and offers his perspective on its success. He throws in some nice observations.
Finally, Road War runs 48 minutes, 53 seconds and brings comments from Miller, Semler, screenwriter Terry Hayes, location manager Steve Knapman, art director Grace Walker, “Mad Max enthusiast” Tim Ridge, stuntman Guy Norris, and actors Mel Gibson, Vernon Wells and Emil Minty.
“War” looks at aspects of the first film and its success, the decision to go for a sequel and its script development, cast and performances, sets and locations, costumes and production design, photography, stunts and action, and thoughts about the movie’s legacy.
Inevitably, some of the commentary’s notes reappear here. However, we get plenty of new material as well and this becomes a pretty solid overview of the production.
The set also includes a Blu-ray copy of Warrior that duplicates the version linked earlier. Note that this means it provides a trailer that fails to reappear on the 4K.
Although I can’t say I loved Mad Max, I found it preferable to its often slow, often campy sequel. The Road Warrior ends with a bang but plods on its way to its big finale. The 4K UHD brings us very good picture and audio along with a handful of useful bonus materials. This turns into a satisfying version of the film.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of ROAD WARRIOR