We aren’t that far off from John Wick: Chapter 4 so why not do reviews of the physical media (4K/UHD) of the previous films to lead up to the 4th installment? John Wick is an action-packed movie that has gained a cult following since its release in 2014. It follows the story of an ex-hitman named John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, who comes out of retirement to avenge the death of his dog, which was a gift from his late wife. The movie has been praised for its impressive action sequences, its stylish visuals, and its engaging plot. In 2017, John Wick 4K UHD was released courtesy of Lionsgate Films, with a 2160p transfer in 2.40:1, offering noticeable upticks in detail and color grading that make it a superb viewing experience for fans.
The movie was originally shot on the Arri Alexa camera system at nearly 4K resolution, so the jump to UHD was a natural fit. The transfer is stunning in HDR10, which brings out the best in the movie’s visuals. The details in the clothing and furniture are significantly sharper, showing every minute wrinkle, crease, and furrow in the leather and Wick’s suits. Facial complexions are extraordinarily revealing and lifelike, exposing the tiniest pore and blemish in the faces of the entire cast. Background information is plainly visible in the distance, and the little pockmarks in the brick and stone architecture of the city are distinct.
The contrast levels of the UHD transfer are also improved, with the overall, noticeably brighter 4K resolution showered with brilliant, pitch-perfect whites. Specular highlights radiate with dazzling luminosity, providing the fluffy clouds an enthusiastic glow while the metallic edges of guns and chrome trim of cars show a true-to-life sparkle. Better yet, brightness is amazingly dynamic with the precise gradational differences between the various shades, delivering pitch-black shadows and a lovely cinematic appeal to the 2.40:1 image. Although largely limited and deliberately restrained, Jonathan Sela’s cinematography displays a wide and varied teal-orange palette with primaries benefitting the most, making reds appreciably fuller, and flesh tones appear more realistic. Fans will also notice the teal and green blues in the photography are more vibrant.
The audio quality of the UHD transfer is equally impressive. The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is the same as the one on the Blu-ray, with an awesome mix of subtle and aggressive design. Depending on which scene we’re talking about, the movie is continuously showered with a variety of noises in the background. Whether it’s the busy hubbub of city life, guys working on cars in a garage, or the hullabaloo of a nightclub, imaging feels expansive with an appreciable sense of space and presence. The mid-range is extensive and highly dynamic, maintaining extraordinary clarity during the loudest, action-packed segments as well as the quieter, more dialogue-driven sequences. A robust and occasionally authoritative low-end delivers a palpable feel to each gunshot, a powerful rumble to explosions, and a room-energizing oomph to the music. And vocals remain distinct and precise in the center amid the mayhem.
The same level of excitement continues in the surroundings, creating an awesomely immersive sound field that pulls viewers into the midst of the action. Various effects move into the sides and rear with discrete effectiveness and outstanding panning, along with many of those same aforementioned bits of activity. The sequence at the Red Circle club is one of the best moments while shootouts are layered with bullets whizzing by and echoing all around. The object-based format also allows for a good amount of activity spilling into the ceiling speakers, displaying fluid movement from the front to the back and vice versa, such as helicopters flying overhead or rain pouring down directly from above. The music participates in the fun
Overall John Wick 4K UHD is a vast improvement from the cinema view and the crystal clear visuals make the action sequences easy on the eyes. I would rate the 4K John Wick disc:
We’ll be reviewing the 4K UHD Blu-Ray discs for John Wick: Chapter 2 and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.
Sign up to the MovieGainz Email Newsletter and never miss out on another one of our 4K/UHD movie reviews or analysis around the physical media we love.