Harrison Ford is the best president we could ever hope for with Gary Oldman delivering another great villain for Wolfgang Petersen’s Air Force One. The film is hijacked for its second trip on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a new SteelBook case, the same transfer but this time encoded for Dolby Vision with the same Atmos audio with the same slim bonus features. Overall - Recommended
As we’ve covered Air Force One already, I’ll let those older reviews largely speak for themselves. Far from a perfect film, it is a very entertaining flick. I enjoyed the hell out of it in the theater, it was one of the first DVDs I ever picked up, and likewise Blu-ray. I wouldn’t call it the greatest film ever made, but it’s just damn good turn of the brain, pop some corn, shut off the lights fun.
Here is my colleague M. Enois Duarte’s review from the 2018 4K UHD Blu-ray Review
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Air Force One takes off for its second 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release from Sony. Now newly encoded for Dolby Vision, the film upgrades to first class with a BD 100 disc while still recycling the same standard Blu-ray dating back to 2009. The discs now come in an artful two-disc SteelBook with a Digital Copy slip included. The disc loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.
Sony’s re-releases of their first wave of 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays to newly encoded BD-100 discs with Dolby Vision HDR has largely been a successful effort. Especially if you don’t already own the films from the first go around. That’s the same case here for Air Force One’s new 2.40:1 2160p Dolby Vision disc. The transfer is by and large identical to the 2018 disc, but now with an improved bitrate, it’s nominally better. Not apples to oranges, night and day better, but if you’re rolling a larger setup or projector and support Dolby Vision, you’ll notice the fine improvements. The previous disc was pretty great for a first pass on 4K and still holds up today. Details are terrific with a naturally film-like presentation, and strong colors. Some of those iffy 90s CGI effects still look iffy, but they at least didn’t try to change them or update them, it’s all part of the charm of this film - right down to that hilarious final plane crash.
If Harrison Ford comes out of his hole and sees his shadow, it's six more weeks of winter.
Now with Dolby Vision HDR, there are some nice enhancements to enjoy. Those black levels and shadows take on a little extra range giving the film a better sense of depth, even in the tight confines of the plane’s underbelly. Colors pick a little extra nuance for those primaries with healthy skin tones. Whites are still brilliantly crisp without blooming. Arguably, yes it’s a better disc, but not quite enough to warrant a double dip if you’re satisfied with the 2018 release.
Once again, the same excellent Atmos track returns - from our 2018 review:
Petersen's Die Hard knockoff on Air Force One is hijacked by a terrific and highly capable Dolby Atmos soundtrack that nicely improves on an already outstanding TrueHD track enjoyed on the Blu-ray. Surrounds are continuously employed in a variety of ways, from subtle ambient effects like the bustling commotion aboard the plane to more aggressive activity like the loud, crackling grumble of jet fighters. Such moments display excellent directionality and flawless panning from the rears and sides to the fronts and vice versa, generating an enveloping 360° environment that's marvelously satisfying. Many of those atmospherics also fluidly travel into the overheads on several occasions, most notably in the last quarter of the movie when the action intensifies. Even during quieter sequences aboard the plane, the ceiling channels are often employed to maintain an immersive hemispheric soundfield.
The sound design also benefits from the extra breathing room across the entire front soundstage, as background noises move between the three channels and off-screen effortlessly, providing the movie with a highly-engaging sense of spatial presence. The only issue of concern is a somewhat limited mid-range that, at times, seems too bright, exhibiting a bit of distortion during the loudest, most chaotic sequences and explosions while also feeling clipped in the upper frequencies. This was an issue with its lossless counterpart, but for the most part, the object-based option maintains strong clarity and good fidelity while cleanly prioritizing the vocals above the most ear-piercing moments. The low-end isn't particularly impressive or memorable, but the bass is adequate with some satisfying room-shaking oomph and heft where it matters, making the high-rez track a fun addition.
On the sad side of the show, bonus features are again an anemic package. To add a little salt to the wound, for whatever reason, the Wolfgang Peterson/Michael Coleman commentary track is not on the 4K discs when it was the last time. It’s only on the included dusty old 1080p disc. I guess this isn’t a problem if you’ve already heard it, but if you haven’t this is a solid track that should be enjoyed with the main film in 4K.
4K UHD Disc
Need a fun action movie that doesn’t disappoint? Air Force One always delivers. It’s cheesy, sure, but it’s a great time. Harrison Ford digs in at the best president America could ever hope for while Gary Oldman sinks his teeth into another thick accent for a great villain. Wolfgang Peterson may have deviated from the more dramatic character-driven films of his early career but he knew how to stage action and get convincing performances from great actors delivering some delightful eye-rolling lines. Now for its second flight on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Sony delivers a modest visual upgrade with Dolby Vision HDR and a slick SteelBook package. Sadly bonus features are still anemic but the commentary is worth listening to even if you have to roll the standard Blu-ray disc. Recommended