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Strike Back: Season One Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish DTS 2.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, German, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Run Time: 600 Mins.
  • Discs: 6 (4 x Blu-ray, 2 x DVD)
  • Studio: HBO Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 7th, 2012
  • List Price: $59.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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 Series

[Rating:4/5]

In this First Season, Strike Back tells the story of Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), a British sergeant on an elite counter-terrorism team and Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), a former U.S. Delta Force operative who was disgraced and discharged on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Scott is called back into action after an international terrorist group lead by a man known as Latiff, threatens the world with weapons of mass destruction. You may ask why Scott is chosen after being thrown out of the military. Well, as it turns out,  only Scott and Stonebridge have ever actually seen Latiff, therefore they are the best hope the British military have at taking this man down. Along the way, Stonebridge and Scott learn a few things that just may shock both of them. What results is a well-made series that kind of plays off as a more violent, more adult version of the hit series 24.

Sharing similarities with the series 24, Strike Back plays itself off as a more adult version of  the aforementioned series. Yes, both series involve terrorists who seem hellbent on destroying anything in front of them. Yes, both series have a few stand-out badass moments (although I don’t see this series will ever do anything to challenge the JBPH or Jack Bauer Power Hour as so many of us die-hard fans labeled that weekly Monday 9PM time as). But where 24 had to be kind of toned down due to the regular broadcasting on FOX, this show is allowed more room to breath with it being aired on a premium cable network channel (Cinemax).

I won’t give away too much of the actual plot here, but I will say the subject matter hits home a bit harder as the situations feel more realistic than 24. If you enjoyed 24 on the level I did, definitely give this series your time.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Strike Back arrives with a 1:78:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer. Generally, the transfer pleases throughout. Shot using a series of Arriflex Cameras, the overall transfer tends to have a somewhat dark look and feel to it. Colors like that of the numerous darker moments in the initial episodes, do impressive. Blacks hold fine detail, while brighter colors like the light blue of Damien’s shirt hold equally solid detail. Some of the colors during the real dark sequences, like that of some of the hallway scenes, can look a bit murky at times. This may be more a stylistic choice by the DP of the series.

Once the series moves out of London/United Kingdom to Sudan and other locales, we’re given more outdoor locales. This gives the transfer more room to breath, as the yellows of the desert sand all but looked great. Film grain is minimal at times, mostly seen to help add a sense of grit to the image. Noise, scratches and other issues are nowhere to be found. Outside of a few issues that may plague the more ardent videophiles, I found this image to be quite good. Not as impressive as some of HBO’s finer efforts (Game of Thrones), but still just fine.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Like many other HBO releases, this release arrives with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which handles the action of the series quite well. While some of the accents can be a bit heard to understand, I still found that the dialogue was well reproduced throughout via the center channel. With this being a high octane show with numerous action moments, I’m happy to report that the series atmosphere is top notch. Bullets zip by during the series initial hostage sequence at the hotel, while LFE gives us a slight ‘oomph’ in order to bring home the essence of terror and fear. Little bits like the heavy breathing of the hostages, or simple background dialogue, all but compliment the sound stage. All in all, this mix is another great offering by the folks at HBO.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The supplements provided on this release are:

  • Disc 1:
  1. Commentary on Episode 2 with Daniel Percival (Executive Producer), Sullivan Stapleton (Scott), and Philip Winchester (Stonebridge)
  • Disc 2:
  1. Commentary on Episode 4 with Philip Winchester, and Liam Cunningham (Connolly)
  • Disc 3
  1. Commentary on  Episode 6 with Philip Winchester, and Amanda Mealing (Col. Grant)
  2. Commentary on Episode 8 with Daniel Percival, and Sullivan Stapleton
  • Disc 4
  1. Commentary on Episode 10 with Daniel Percival, Sullivan Stapleton, Philip Winchester, and Amanda Mealing

The entire First Season is also included on 2 separate DVD’s found in an inclosed flip book. Additionally, the series is featured via Digital Copy.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Playing off as a more adult version of 24, Strike Back is a highly entertaining, well-made series. HBO, as per most of their Blu-ray releases, has delivered a fine package with great video, excellent audio, and a few solid commentaries. Definitely recommended for fans of the series and to the rest as a VERY STRONG rental.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Strike Back: Cinemax First Season on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B005LAJ15O[/amazon-product]

Purchase Strike Back: Season One on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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