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‘Black Hawk Down’ 4K UHD (Blu-ray review)

Sony

The only way to watch Ridley Scott’s 2001 war epic, Black Hawk Down is to watch the extended cut.

Only seven and a half minutes longer, I am always struck by how much so little screen time adds to the impact of the story compared to the shorter theatrical cut. The theatrical cut is missing some really crucial character-building footage that absolutely adds to the story and helps flesh out the personalities of the men involved even more without sacrificing pacing or storytelling.

The film depicts the ill-fated mission in 1993 in Somalia, where nearly 100 US Army soldiers were dropped into Mogadishu to capture top lieutenants of the Somali warlord, Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

After two Black Hawk choppers are shot down, a long drawn-out conflict between the stranded Army soldiers and the Somali gunmen and citizens ensues.

What should have only taken an hour or so stretched out to 24 grueling hours of constant fighting with 18 servicemen killed and over 73 wounded. Over 100 Somalis lost their lives in the conflict.

This film is brutally beautiful. The cinematography and the editing alone are incredible. You can feel the heat of the Somali climate and almost taste the dust in your mouth.

The all-star ensemble cast is one of the most impressive collections of actors assembled. It is one of those films that makes you wish there was an Academy Award for ensemble cast. Not a single performance is bad, and not one actor is wasted, regardless of whether they have 30 seconds or 30 minutes of screen time.

What I love about this film is Scott and screenwriter Ken Nolan rarely shy away from the fact that this entire mission was a SNAFU from the start. He perfectly depicts the overconfidence of the US Army and their underestimation of the Somali Militia. The film also has an understanding of the plight and suffering of the Somali people caught in the crossfire under the tyrant warlord. It acknowledges how terrible things were, and they were completely in need of assistance.

This movie is about the courage of the soldiers on the ground and in the air. Whether injured, stranded, or outnumbered, they served with honor and did their best regardless of what was thrown at them. Even under duress during the multiple mishaps that occurred throughout the mission, they carried out their mission.

Black Hawk Down is the story of the men who fought and sacrificed everything to save their fallen brothers.

Extras include both theatrical and extended cuts, commentaries, feature length making of, featurettes, History Channel documentary, featurettes, deleted and alternate scenes, galleries, music video, trailers and tv spots.

I revisit this movie a lot. I watch it almost every year. I don’t know why other than it makes me appreciate my life and the fortunes that have been given me. This is a brilliant film, and one that over the years just gets better and better with every viewing.

It may not be your cup of tea, however, if you are a fan of films about war and historical-based narrative films you should definitely put this on your short list of movies to watch.

It is my favorite post-2000 Scott films. Seconded only by Kingdom of Heaven (Also another example where the extended director’s cut is far superior to the theatrical).

Yes, I know… What about Gladiator?

I answer… I was not entertained.

 

 

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