Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Baywatch 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
When a dangerous crime wave hits the beach, legendary Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson, The Fate of the Furious) leads his elite squad of badass lifeguards on a mission to prove you don't have to wear a badge to save the bay. Joined by a trio of hot-shot recruits including former Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising), they'll ditch the surf and go deep undercover to take down a ruthless businesswoman (Priyanka Chopra, TV's "Quantico"), whose devious plans threaten the future of the bay. Fans will appreciate the cameos and homages to the original and newcomers will find much to love about the band of lifeguards acting way outside their job descriptions.
Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) leads a team of elite lifeguards keeping the beach at Emerald Bay safe. You can tell what kind of action you are in store for as the title pops from the water while you witness Mitch carry an unconscious man to safety. Whether or not “Baywatch” was your cup of tea, the next 121 minutes should still be fun. Mitch’s team consists of Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera), CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrbach). Trying out to join this year’s team is disgraced Olympian Mitch Brody (Zac Efron) and Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) – both of whom are in amazing shape. In less than amazing shape is Ronnie (Jon Bass) who is trying out for the third time.

Just off the beach is the Huntley Club recently purchased by Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra). Although beautiful, Leeds has bond villain written all over her. As the new lifeguards learn the ropes, they will have to protect the Bay as Leeds tries to violently take over.

The TV show may have taken itself somewhat seriously but this film is definitely a comedy. The filmmakers were careful to joke about “Baywatch” without making fun of it. They point out things like slo-mo running and suits that intentionally ride up the lifeguards’ butts. Even the red rescue can, made famous by the show, is featured on the big screen version. 

Fans who lust after Zac Efron will surely enjoy watching him make is way through a ninja-warrior like obstacle course. We learn in the extras that the course was so tough only Efron could complete it. Even his stunt man couldn’t make it through. Dwayne Johnson brings his own spin and personality to his character. The film is worth the watch, just for the names other than Matt Brody used to describe Efron’s character.
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
Paramount has upscaled its presentation for the 4K UHD version of the Baywatch. The Blu-ray looks mighty good, and the 4K version is just a tick better, landing it a solid 5 out of 5 rating. The 4K title offers deeper, richer colors throughout and greater fine detail. The HDR (high dynamic range) is apparent when you look at the tanned lifeguard skin. The blue sky and blue/green waters of the Bay are certainly enhanced. During the fire scene, you’ll notice some amazing clarity and saturation. Skin tones and textures are accurate with more visible pores on 4K.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Baywatch’s Dolby Atmos track is evenly excellent on Blu-ray and 4K UHD. You’ll hear explosions and fireworks which are delivered with weight. You’ll feel the bass on the low end when the music gets pumping. Lighter aspects like birds and beach crowds are lifelike and balanced. Dialogue is intelligible and centered. Not as impressive as the video presentation on 4K but still a fitting compliment to the video.
Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
  • Meet the Lifeguards – (21:36) – Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Director Seth Gordon and others discuss the “filthy awesome fun” that is Baywatch. It appears that Dwayne Johnson is responsible for the fun, family atmosphere on set. 
  • Continuing the Legacy (9:28) – Reimagining the heart and action of the show for the big screen audience. The Baywatch phenomenon is discussed by the cast, all of whom admit to being fans. A look at what drew so many people in so many countries to the show.
  • Stunts & Training (9:10) – Lifeguarding is hard work. Even Dwayne Johnson admits that it’s hard and that the ocean can kick your butt. Zac Efron’s body is discussed at length. Physical training and the “absentee father” course is highlighted by cast and crew. Vehicles and related action sequences are also touched on here.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (10:06 total runtime) – Available individually or with play all function are CJ Messages Stephanie, Coffee and Doughnuts, Where Could I Score?, Bathroom Misunderstanding, Directions to the Morgue and Brody and Captain Thorpe. It’s a nice touch that they list the cast members whose scenes were cut from the film here.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
If you don’t laugh when you hear Dwayne Johnson say “call me on my shell phone” than this film might not be for you. The jokes are silly and often dirty and you will see Zac Efron’s character fondle a dead man. The fact that the filmmakers were able to honor Baywatch without taking it too seriously is amazing. Dwayne Johnson is more charming than he’s ever been as he fully inhabits the character Mitch Buchannon. You can view the extended or theatrical version (which is 5 minutes shy) on Blu-ray or 4K. The extras are short but interesting and offer a nice look behind the scenes. I recommend the purchase and in this case, the 4K is worth the extra expense.

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