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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

The Unit - Season Four (The Final Season) [Blu-ray]

 

David Mamet (creator, writer & executive producer), 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Blu-ray: David Mamet, Fox & Middkid Productions

 

Disc:

Region: All

Runtime: approx

Chapters: 22

Size: 50 GB

Case: Standard Blu-ray Case w/ flip-pages

Release date: September 29, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC @ 18 Mbps

 

Audio:

English DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1

 

Subtitles:

English, French & Spanish

 

Extras:

• Into Hell: A Brotherhood Divided (11:13.)

• Shadow Riders: A Western Come Undone (8:01 min.)

• Snake Doctor: A Leader Among Us (4:44 min.)

• 6 Deleted scenes (ca. 5 min.)

 

 

 

The Film:

A manly show about super-secret Special Forces officers and the women who love them, this muscular hour is neither the recruiting film it initially appears to be nor the gruff look at soldiering that might have been anticipated given its production auspices. Foremost, "The Unit" plays like "Mission: Impossible" for the war-on-terror age, with the humanizing twist of simultaneously focusing on military wives who sweat out each mission at home, relying on each other for emotional support. . . Despite teaming David Mamet, who wrote the premiere, with "The Shield's" Shawn Ryan, the series isn't all about testosterone, making a concerted effort to appeal to women. . . "The Unit" is elevated by its personnel, who are impressively cast from top to bottom -- beginning with Haysbert, nicely handling his demotion from commander in chief on "24" to field commander here; and a steely Robert Patrick as his office-bound boss. . . Based on a book ["Inside Delta Force" - LN] by retired Command Sgt. Maj. Eric L. Haney, the series doesn't break new ground, but it's a notch above CBS' procedural crime formula -- if only because these dedicated cops have an entire world to police, one impossible mission at a time. - Brian Lowry

Excerpt of review from Variety located HERE

 


 

Image: 8/9   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

The Unit: Season Four is one of those shows whose image tries to keep us off balance: sharp, with natural contrast and color here; dramatic streaks of deliberate intrusive light there; or soft, with problematic contrast and squishy blacks elsewhere. Flesh tones are usually spot-on, if a tad vivid, textures (e.g. weapons, uniforms) are clearly realized, grain comes and goes with a change of scenery. I'm inclined to take this as God or Colonel Ryan intended since there aren't artifact issues to speak of.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 9/8
If the image presents problematic assessment, the same is not true for the audio, which conveys the different timbres and impacts of every manner of firepower respectfully and with considerable impact, often making use of the surrounds to place us right in the middle of the action. Dialogue, too, is clearly reproduced, as are the more nuanced ambient effects. Robert Duncan's finely judged music score is balanced sensibly and mixed effectively. One of the better audio mixes for a television series.
 

Operations: 7
Discs load directly to menus. I'm not a fan of hidden episode and bonus feature titles, but at least it's clear what we're supposed to do when we get there.

 

 

 

Extras: 5
An hour or so's worth of Bonus Features, all in HD except for the Deleted Scenes, which are in 480i. There is no audio commentary for any of the episodes. Instead, the set includes "Behind-the-Scenes" featurettes for specific episodes, guided by various directors – including Dennis Haysbert in his debut at the helm - producers, and effects and stunt coordinators. There are about five minutes worth of deleted scenes that apply only to the episode titled "Shadow Riders."

 

Bottom line: 7
A purchase depends a lot on how you feel about the series and the idea of picking up the final season in Blu-ray without knowing the hi-def fate of the previous seasons. My feeling about the season is that, despite sincerely affected performances from the actors, it is marred by routine writing, cloned the vast library of action genre movies and television shows. Audio is excellent, image is very good, likely in keeping with the producers' intentions. The Unit has never been big on special features – same for their final bow.

Leonard Norwitz
October 8th, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.


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