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Juice (30th Anniversary Edition) (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

Four teens in Harlem in the early 1990s get engulfed in a dangerous attempt to gain "street cred" or "juice" in this stylish, hip hop infused film starring Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps.

Ernest R. Dickerson, mainly a cinematographer and mostly for television (The Walking Dead, The 4400), directed and co-wrote the 1992 crime drama Juice, a film set in the urban landscape of early-90s Harlem that follows a group of high school teens trapped in the violent cycle of their surroundings.

Bishop (Tupac Shakur), Q (Omar Epps), Raheem (Khalil Kain), and Steel (Jermaine Hopkins) are four teens that are tight as brothers and like to spend their days skipping school, running from truancy officers, and listening to hip hop. None of them have many solid plans for their rapidly approaching post-high school futures except for Q who wants to be a deejay mix master, and he has the scratching skills to do it. There’s a competition of some of the best mix masters coming up and he enters. But the friendship begins to turn sour between all the guys when Bishop happens to see James Cagney in White Heat on TV one day and decides he needs to get himself a gun and the friends need to get themselves some “juice” or street cred, especially after one of their acquaintances is gunned down by the cops in a stickup attempt. Bishop inveigles the group into robbing a local bodega and the holdup inevitably goes wrong, leading to tragedy.

Dickerson’s direction infuses Juice with the sleekness of the early 1990s urban culture, the hip hop scene, the clubs, and the streets of New York, using a magnificent amount of color and the immediacy of the location filming throughout New York City.

With a young cast that doesn’t always convey the weightiness of the material, Dickerson does manage to pull two powerful performances from a young Omar Epps and the magnetic, gone-far-too-soon Tupac who steal most of their scenes.

The Video

Juice is offered up on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in a 1.78:1 HEVC 2160P (4K UHD) encodement with Dolby Vision HDR compatible with HDR10. Paramount does not list this as a new restoration or a new remaster, but here it is for the first time ever on 4K. The original 35mm source looks very good to my eyes with a natural, thin, crisp layer of organic looking grain. There are sharp details most of the time apart from some frames where there is some soft focus that is inherent in the production. The Dolby Vision brings brilliant dynamic range, especially to the nuanced shadow details. Look at the time code starting in Chapter 7 in the alley scene from the 00:48:40 mark  to 00:50:30 to see not only the awesome detail in the darker scenes, but also the expanded colors brought to the table from the wide color gamut.

The Audio

Juice comes with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix as the sole audio track. I found this mix very disappointing given that this is such a hip hop-infused film and the low-end of this mix is somewhat anemic, lingering more in the midrange and very upper low frequencies. The surround channels carry very low-level atmospherics.

The Supplements

The supplements on this 4K release are all previous released and include the director commentary, interviews, a making of, and a featurette on the cast. There is also access to a digital copy code.

  • Commentary by director Ernest R. Dickerson
  • You’ve Got the Juice Now (1080p; 00:19:11)
  • Wrecking Crew (1080p; 00:23:43)
  • Sip the Juice: The Music (1080p; 00:12:50)
  • Stay in the Scene: The Interview (1080p; 00:22:42)

The Final Assessment

A gritty, immediate, early-1990s flash of the urban youth experience and hopelessness set against a MTV-era New York.

Juice is out on 4K Ultra HD + Digital on January 11, 2022 from Paramount


  • Rating Certificate: R (for strong language, and for some violence)
  • Studios & Distributors: Island World | Original Film (as Moritz-Heyman) | HBO Max (VOD) | Paramount Home Media Distribution
  • Director: Ernest R. Dickerson
  • Written By: Ernest R. Dickerson (story) | Gerard Brown (screenplay)
  • Run Time: 94 Mins.
  • Street Date: 11 January 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | French
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Four teens in Harlem in the early 1990s get engulfed in a dangerous attempt to gain "street cred" or "juice" in this stylish, hip hop infused film starring Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps.Juice (30th Anniversary Edition) (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)
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