Sudden Impact appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. 1980s movies often offered muddy visuals, and that held true for Impact, at least to a moderate degree.
Actually, I sometimes found it tough to discern which problems came from the film stock and which concerns stemmed from cinematic choices. Take sharpness, for instance, as there’s a slight gauziness to much of the movie.
I thought some of that occurred due to the generally flat look of the era’s stock, but I also wondered if the movie went with a somewhat soft look to melt a few years off an aging Eastwood. Most of the flick showed decent to good delineation, but it could also be less defined than I’d like.
I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, at least, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to create too many concerns. I noticed the occasional speck or piece of debris, but those instances were infrequent, so the majority of the flick seemed clean.
Colors never excelled but they looked fairly good. The movie used a natural palette much of the time and the tones came across with reasonably positive vivacity.
Blacks were fairly deep, but shadows could be too dense, though those varied. Some low-light shots were fine, while others were a little thick. All of this added up to an inconsistent but usually positive presentation.
At least the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Sudden Impact impressed. All four movies to date have offered terrific audio, and Impact continued that trend.
The soundfield opened up matters to a satisfying degree. Vehicles moved around the spectrum in a satisfying way, and action scenes used gunfire and other elements to immerse the viewer in the material. Music boasted good stereo imaging, and the surrounds contributed a solid layer of information.
Audio quality held up well over the years. Speech was natural and concise, with no edginess or other problems. Music sounded lively and full, and effects seemed the same.
Those elements came across as crisp and accurate throughout the movie, and we heard good bass response. This was a consistently solid soundtrack.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio showed a bit more kick, and visuals looked tighter and offered stronger colors. The source limited improvements, but the Blu-ray still became the more satisfying version.
With that, we move to the set’s extras and an audio commentary with film critic Richard Schickel. He presents a running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, story and characters, the impact of the movie’s big catchphrase, reviving the “Dirty Harry” franchise, and some interpretation.
As I mentioned when I reviewed the first Dirty Harry, Schickel’s commentaries tend to be blah, and this one is no exception. Oh, the critic touches on a smattering of interesting subjects, but he just doesn’t tell us enough of significance to sustain our attention through a two-hour movie.
This becomes especially true in the slow-paced second hour of his chat, as that portion gets really tedious. The overall result is a snoozer of a commentary.
The Evolution of Clint Eastwood runs 25 minutes, 43 seconds as it provides notes from actor/director Eastwood, Schickel, former WB executive John Calley, cinematographer Jack N. Green, authors Neal King, Emanuel Levy and William Beard, editor Joel Cox, filmmakers Allen and Albert Hughes, Jay Cocks, Paul Haggis, Peter Hyams, John Lee Hancock, Tom Fontana, John Milius, James Fargo, Steven E. de Souza, Joe Carnahan, and Michael Butler, and actors Michael Madsen, Hal Holbrook, and Tyne Daly.
The show takes a look at Eastwood’s directorial work over the years. That means you should expect a lot of praise for Eastwood here. A smattering of decent insights emerge, but not enough to create a particularly involving piece.
Although the other Blu-rays in the series – as well as the Impact DVD – included a “Dirty Harry Trailer Gallery”, the Sudden Impact Blu-ray doesn’t. Weird!
One of the most successful “Dirty Harry” movies, Sudden Impact also stands as possibly the most three-dimensional of the bunch. It seems inconsistent and often comes across like two barely-connected movies combined into one, but I admire it for trying something ambitious. The Blu-ray provides very good audio along with decent picture and bland supplements. I wish the set came with more compelling bonus materials, but it presents to movie in a largely satisfying manner.
To rate this film visit the prior review of SUDDEN IMPACT