Visually spectacular, intensely action-packed and powerfully prophetic since its debut, Blade Runner dazzles in Ridley Scott’s definitive Final Cut, including extended scenes and special effects. In a signature role as 21st-century detective Rick Deckard, Harrison Ford bring his masculine-yet-vulnerable presence to this stylish noir thriller. In a future of high-tech possibility soured by urban and social decay, Deckard hunts for fugitive, murderous replicants – and is drawn to a mystery woman whose secrets may undermine his soul
"Replicants are like any other machine. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem."
As there are multiple cuts of Blade Runner - only The Final Cut has been given the full 4K treatment. When Blade Runner made its Blu-ray debut in 2007, the film was given a perfect 5-Disc treatment featuring The Final Cut as well as the original 1982 Theatrical Cut, the slightly different International Cut, the radically different 1992 DIrector's Cut, as well as the unfinished Workprint Cut. While fans have their favorite versions of the film, director Ridley Scott has put his foot down that The Final Cut is the definitive release and as such is the only version of the film to get a full 4K Restoration effort.
For the 4K enthusiast who can't wait to get a look at the Ultra HD Blu-ray release that's due on September 5th, take a look at my coverage of the film and the A/V presentation Here.
If you're new to the film on Blu-ray and are hankering for a terrific overview of the 5-Disc Blu-ray set that's readily available, please give that a read Here.
Vital Streaming Stats: VUDU UHD
As appears to be the custom for Warner Bros. 4K UHD Blu-ray releases, the accompanying digital copy of Blade Runner The Final Cut unlocks a 4K UHD with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Beyond this presentation of the film, there are no bonus features included with this digital release.
As we've now covered Blade Runner The Final Cut on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with HDR10, it's now time to take a look at the UHD with Dolby Vision presentation from VUDU. As VUDU keeps getting these Dolby Vision presentations with releases from Universal Studios and Warner Bros., I dearly wish that the actual physical 4K UHD Blu-ray discs would be given the Dolby Vision treatment. From the first opening frames of the dystopian Los Angeles of 2019, it's clear to see the subtleties Dolby Vision has to offer. Those spires spewing flames into the air now enjoy a little extra contrast and black level adjustment to give them a stronger sense of foreground separation allowing that whole opening scene to sport an impressive sense of depth. As the camera moves closer to the Tyrell Corp. building and we zoom into Holden's interview room where he makes that fateful meeting with Leon, the model work looks all the more impressive as colors are bolder and black levels enjoy a more intricate presentation. When the film cuts to the first time we meet Harrison Ford's Deckard, the scene is awash with intricate neon lighting playing with sharp pulsing blues, reds, and greens and the visual punch is incredible. Likewise when Deckard is being briefed on the Nexus 6 Replicants he's to hunt down by Bryant, the scene isn't just a flat blue as it appeared on the 4K UHD Blu-ray, there's not just a bit more black level activity giving facial features just a little more dimension and presence.
However, this streaming presentation comes with some flaws that I found to be very distracting and ultimately made for a lesser overall experiecne. For starters, the grain field is much noisier and any given scene can appear like it was attacked by mosquitos. Quickly switching between the VUDU streaming and my paused 4K physical disc showed that the 4K UHD Blu-ray doesn't suffer from the same noisy grain field. Details on the 4K UHD Blu-ray are just as robust and sharp without the added noise. Additionally, the 4K streaming oddly enough seems to have had some edge enhancement applied as I noticed some banding that wasn't apparent on the 4K UHD Blu-ray and an overall crunchy appearance. One last detraction that I'm not sure if it was an internet connection fault or one prevalent throughout VUDU's streaming copy but about every 3-4 seconds the image would suffer from some stuttering frames. It would then play fine for four or five seconds then stutter again. I paused the film hoping that it was a data stream issue and would let the steam get ahead, but that didn't help as the stuttering continued. I tried resetting my router and even tested other 4K UHD Dolby Vision streams from VUDU and none of them suffered this stuttering effect that Blade Runner exhibited. If any one else experiences this effect, please let us know in the forums and maybe we can bring it up to VUDU directly and see if there is some way to get that resolved.
While VUDU's 4K UHD with Dolby Vision transfer of Blade Runner The Final Cut featured some pluses and minuses, I'm pleased to say that the Atmos audio mix is just as aggressive and impressive as the 4K UHD Blu-ray release. I really love the fully immersive surround effect this Atmos mix brings to the film. The previous release already had a fine surround track that was the tops for its day, but this Atmos track brings a lot of natural space and dimension to the film and allows you to appreciate the subtleties of the sound effects. I know I already gushed about it in my review for the disc release, but I can't help myself, it's just so damn beautiful to listen to combined with the gorgeous soundtrack Vangelis crafted. Even in the quietest scenes, there is plenty of subtle surround activity to maintain the immersive qualities. Again, this Atmos track is a knockout.
No bonus features were supplied for the VUDU release.
As I've owned Blade Runner on virtually every format to come down the home video pipeline, the film has never looked or sounded better than it has on 4K UHD Blu-ray. It's a beautiful, intricately constructed film with numerous practical effects shots and incredible production design that demands the best picture and audio options possible. While I found the VUDU stream to offer a better color, black level, and contrast experience with help from Dolby Vision, I found that it suffered from a much more noisy grain field as well as a few other unattractive anomalies impacting the visual experience of the film. Thankfully the Atmos audio still knocks it out of the park and demands to be played as loud as possible before your neighbors are likely to file a noise complaint. Blade Runner is a science fiction classic that demands to be enjoyed under the best possible circumstances. This 4K UHD stream from VUDU was very good, but it has some flaws that make the UHD Blu-ray an all around more satisfying experience. Either way, the 4K UHD Blu-ray remains a must own release.