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Special Forces (Forces Spéciales) [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, French HOH
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 15
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run time: 109 Mins.
  • Studio: StudioCanal (UK)
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 12, 2012
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B006B9XBL4[/amazon-product]

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Director Stéphane Rybojad co-wrote the screenplay for this action/adventure film set in Central Asia. Special Forces (Forces Spéciales) is an emotionally involving journey set against a beautiful backdrop that follows the travails of a group of elite special forces soldiers and the journalist they are sent to rescue from the Taliban.

When Afghanistan war correspondent Elsa Casanova (Diane Kruger; Unknown) is taken captive by the brutal Taliban leader Zaief (Raz Degan), six special forces soldiers (Djimon Hounsou, Benoît Magimel, Denis Menochet, Raphaël Personnaz, Alain Figlarz, Alain Alivon) are sent in to rescue her. Her recovery is only the beginning of their journey, however, as Zaief is determined to keep Elsa from slipping through his grasp. Thus begins a relentless pursuit of the soldiers and Elsa across the deserts, towns, and through the cold mountains of Afghanistan.

More than just an action film, Special Forces seeks to capture the bond that develops between these individuals as they try to make their way to safety. More than that, it is beautifully filmed on location in Tajikistan, lending the adventure sequences some awe inspiring visuals from cinematographer David Jankowski. While the film does lag somewhat over its 109-minute runtime and feels a bit rushed towards the end, it is an ultimately satisfying and well executed journey.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Special Forces appears on this Blu-ray release from StudioCanal looking very strong in its 2.35:1 framed AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 (24Hz) encodement. The 35mm source is just as clean as one would expect from a recent vintage film and there is just a thin layer of grain adding a nice film-like appearance and texture. Blacks are rather deep, but there are no instances of crush while detail extends well into the backgrounds. Colors seem purposely muted throughout, so nothing really pops in the film, which tends toward an earthy palette overall and there isn’t much to complain about here.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Audio is an adequate French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack that disappoints in its limited dynamic range and lack of extended lows, but it does come alive during the onslaught of gunplay, making use of the surrounds with plenty of bullets whizzing by. The dialogue is also clean with no hints of clipping.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The biggest supplement on offer here is the rather detailed, hour-long making of documentary, which offers up plenty of behind the scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew.

The supplements:

  • Making Of (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 01:27:31)
  • Marius (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 00:03:19)
  • Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:11)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Superb gunplay, awesome adventure sequences, and a bit of heartfelt drama make Special Forces a good of not perfect distraction. The Blu-ray from StudioCanal looks superb and captures the magnificent imagery extremely well.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B006B9XBL4[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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