Black Hawk Down
Film Length: 144 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Leave no man behind
There's a memorable line in this movie that is
hard to forget. It is Norm Hooten (Eric Bana)
that says, "when that first bullet goes flying
past your head, politics go right out the window".
When I first saw Blackhawk Down theatrically,
I almost promised myself I would never watch it
again. It was the most realistic and disturbing
war film I have ever watched. It's a movie that
places you directly on the front line of combat and
for two hours, hits you hard with scene after scene
On October 3, 1993, U.S. soldiers entered Somalia
on an exercise that was supposed to take about
thirty minutes. It was simple -- it was routine.
Go in, take out Mohammed Farah Aidid and his men
and return to base. It involved Black Hawk and
Little Bird air cover supported by Humvee ground cover.
Things did not go as planned.
Director Ridley Scott recreates the harrowing
15-hour battle between besieged U.S. troops and
Somali fighters on the streets of Mogadishu in
which 18 Americans were killed and 73 injured,
along with thousands of Somali militia. A special
kind of man is required to fight in these conditions,
and the movie places us alongside these brave men
that you will ultimately be humbled by.
How is the transfer?
Mastered in high definition, Black Hawk Down
is one of the best looking DVDs available today.
Don't be fooled by the intentional amount of grain
that shows up in a small amount of scenes -- Ridley
Scott uses grain, blue and green filters and high
contrast to cleverly visualize his scenes. Through
it all, you will be simply amazed by the jaw-dropping
clarity of the picture that looks clean and crisp.
Many people have complained that on a bare-boned
release such as this, a DTS track was not offered.
These people have a legitimate complaint. We all
know that Columbia is intentionally holding back that
DTS track for a forthcoming Special Edition.
I can tell you that you will not be one bit
disappointed in this disc's 5.1 Dolby Digital track.
It is as good as many DTS tracks I have heard.
What you will experience is a highly aggressive
sound mix that never goes dull. Looking at my
list of notes that I write during my screenings,
I have scribble after scribble about many of the
dramatic sonic experiences I had with this film.
From the very moment the titles appear out of
blackness, the rears come alive with the sound of
sand swept wind and the rotary blades of the
A DTS track usually fares better in directionality
over a Dolby Digital track. I was surprised to
hear such distinct channel separation with this
Dolby Digital mix. I could pinpoint the exact
location of a helicopter in the distance, as it
slowly rises from the rear right channel and
crosses over to the front channel. You can even
hear the sound of sand being swept in the wind.
LFE response is also quite good. My subwoofer
was rumbling to the sound of the helicopter engines
as well as some of the American and African music
that is played throughout the film.
Columbia has released an essentially bare-boned
version of this DVD, promising to release a
Special Edition within the year. Of course, the
only people who know this are those in the
Nonetheless, we are treated to a featurette,
Black Hawk Down On The Set which basically
has Director Ridley Scott and Producer Jerry
Bruckheimer talking about the historical facts
that this film was based upon. Principal cast
members talk about their characters and the
situation they are being thrown into. 15 cameras
and thousands of extras from around the globe
converged in Morocco for the filming of this movie.
The actors themselves went through a military
training program. Extensive footage of the
training process is shown as we see the actors
jogging in formation down a dimly lit street during
their stay at Fort Benning, Georgia. We see the
actors in the barber chair getting their heads
buzzed. There was a support network formed between
the actors due to the extreme amount exhaustion
involved in the boot camp training. Coming totally
unexpectedly, The United States military supplied
the Black Hawk helicopters and the real guys and
units that participated in the original extractions.
There are some terrific behind-the-camera shots
of the helicopters flying into the market,
creating a tornado of wind and sand out of complete
calmness. Quite a terrific documentary, though
my taste buds yearned for more in-depth coverage.
Talk about bare-boned! There is no trailer
for Black Hawk Down included. Instead
we get trailers for Spiderman and The
A Cast and Crew Filmography is also
Black Hawk Down is a brilliant film
with great cinematography and an accurate story
line. And while it is one of the most realistic
and disturbing war movies you will ever see, I
guarantee that everyone that sees it will leave
it with a certain amount of appreciation for the
men and women that give their lives during
wartime so that others may live.
It's a difficult choice whether to buy this
bare-boned DVD now, or wait for the Special Edition.
Those that opt to buy it now will not be at
all disappointed. The exceptional transfer and
highly aggressive Dolby Digital mix will make this
viewing one of the most intense theatrical
experiences in your recent memory....I promise.
Release Date: June 11, 2002