Zulu (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 7-Jan-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Featurette-Cape Town and the Law (1:46)
Interviews-Cast-Forest Whitaker Interview (0:34)
Interviews-Cast-Orlando Bloom Interview (0:53)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On the Set of Zulu (4:53)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 106:43
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jérôme Salle
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Orlando Bloom
Forest Whitaker
Inge Backmann
Conrad Kemp
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Alexandre Desplat


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     As a young Zulu child in apartheid South Africa Ali Sokhela had been mauled by dogs and witnessed his father being burnt to death by Whites. Thirty five years later Ali (Forest Whitaker) is a Captain in the Cape Town Police; following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission he has forgiven the whites but the physical and emotional scars of his past are still very much with him. When the brutally bashed body of a young white girl from a wealthy family is found, Ali and his team of Brian Epkeen (Orlando Bloom) and Dan Fletcher (Conrad Kemp) are put on the investigation. Dan is a family man whose wife Claire (Tinarie Van Wyk Loots) has just survived cancer while Brian, the son of an apartheid era judge, is an alcoholic pill taker and serial womaniser, behind on maintenance to his ex-wife Ruby (Inge Beckmann) for their teenaged son.

     As the team investigate they find that the girl’s death may be linked to a new type of illicit drug that has the side effect of making users hyper-violent. When the team start to move against the criminal gang that seems to be the source of the drug, violence escalates, another murdered girl is found and street kids start to disappear or are found dead. It seems that the drug supply goes far higher than the thugs on the street and as the teams’ personal and professional problems intertwine, their lives, and the lives of those they love, become very much at risk.

     Zulu, by French director Jerome Salle is based on a book of the same name by Caryl Ferey. Zulu includes some well-staged and chaotic action sequences but the film (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) in theme not unlike The Constant Gardener where pharmaceutical drugs are being tested on the poor non-whites in the shanty towns, at its core is a character study of two damaged men featuring compelling performances by both Forest Whitaker and Orlando Bloom. Whitaker, in a role originally meant for Djimon Hounsou, is excellent while Bloom is light years away from the clean cut, wholesome leading men he has played in such films as The Lord of the Rings, Kingdom of Heaven, or Pirates of the Caribbean. Here, in Zulu, his Brian is violent, flawed, down and dirty, yet he is interesting and retains a genuine charisma even while naked!

     There is little in Zulu that is new but it is an intense thriller, the South African locations look great and Orlando Bloom is excellent.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Eagle Entertainment have a history of presenting films cropped, but I am very happy to report that Zulu is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close the original ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Filmed with Arri Alexa digital cameras, Zulu looks great. Detail is sharp and the colours are bright with that digital glossiness that works well in this film. Blues, greens and browns are deep, skin tones natural without that often digital yellow tinge, blacks and shadow detail very good. Brightness and contrast is consistent.

     Other than some slight ghosting against mottled surfaces, I did not notice any artefacts or marks.

     There are no subtitles although white subtitles appeared automatically to translate sections of Zulu or Afrikaans dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio choices are English DTS-HD MA 5.1 or English Dolby Digital 5.1.

     Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. There is not a lot for the surrounds to do except carry ambient sound, such as the wind and the music. However, in the club scene the rears provided music and voices and in the action sequences gunshots. There were also occasional pans, such as helicopter engines. The sub-woofer mostly supported engines and the music.

     The original score is by Alexandre Desplat, who has been nominated six times for Oscars but is yet to win. He is very hard working and in 2014 provided scores for The Imitation Game, Unbroken, Godzilla, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Monument Men!! His orchestral score for Zulu aids the moods of the film nicely and is augmented by some South African pop tunes.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues despite the various languages employed.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     These are very short, forgettable, EPK type featurettes, the first three subtitled into French.

Cape Town and the Law (1:46)

     Film footage plus short comments by Forest Whitaker and Orlando Bloom about their characters.

Forest Whitaker Interview (0:34)

    His character and preparing for the role.

Orlando Bloom Interview (0:53)

     His character and the Police in SA.

On the Set of Zulu (4:53)

    Video type footage on set during the filming of a few scenes. No commentary, rough audio.

Trailers

     Trailers for Redirected (1:35), Back in the Day (2:04), Goodbye World (1:54), Saints & Soldiers 3 (2:30), A Good Marine (1:56) and 500 Miles (1:33).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The UK Region B Blu-ray of Zulu will not be released until the end of April and there is no Region A US version listed at this time. The German Region B looks to be the same as ours.

Summary

     Zulu is an unexpected surprise. It is a superior thriller; a well-constructed mystery with good action sequences and compelling performances from Forest Whitaker and Orlando Bloom. Definitely worth a look.

     The video and audio are fine, the extras are minor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, January 30, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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