Paramount released a special limited 4k Blu-ray SteelBook edition of Director Antoine Fuqua’s Shooter (2007) on Mar. 15, 2022. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Michael Peña, Danny Glover, and Kate Mara. Based on the 1993 novel “Point of Impact” by Stephen Hunter, Shooter revolves around the attempt of a private military agency to frame a war hero, Bob Lee Swagger (Wahlberg), as a sniper who attempts to assassinate the President of the United States.
The film borrows from other films of the same genre, for one Warner Bros.’ Presumed Innocent (1990) starring Harrison Ford in which the main character must find a way to prove his innocence. But in Shooter, Swagger was purposely set up to be the assassin of the Archbishop of Ethiopia. Make no doubt about it, this is a dark and violent film steeped in the idea of forces within the government that have more than questionable objectives.
On 4k Blu-ray, Shooter is presented in 2160p with Dolby Vision and HDR10 to expand the color depth on screens that support the specifications. At 2.35:1 aspect ratio, this is a wide movie that will likely show black bars (letterbox) on the top and bottom of 16×9 TVs (unless you have image scaling on, in which case the original format is scaled to fill the screen).
Shooter was filmed in 35mm and the Digital Intermediate created in 2k. Since Paramount made no mention of a new 4k DI, we assume this is just upscaled from the original master rather than completely rescanned. Still though, the image is very clean and sharp, especially in the closeups.
The gliding camera in the opening scene is a great introduction to the quality of the image and HDR in this 4k presentation of Shooter, but when the shot moves to closeups of Bob Lee and Donnie the high-resolution video brings out excellent details in their eyes, hair, and unshaven faces. At 21 minutes when Swagger is detailing the locations where an assassin may camp out there are nice textures in the buildings, rooftops, and skylines that are crisper in 4k than 2k.
The Dolby Vision HDR specification adds some contrast to the overall image and adds detail in shadow areas. A good example of this is at 42 minutes when Swagger is performing surgery on himself. The details in his face, the objects in the background, and even his watch gain something from the expanded color depth. But even more than the interior shots, the night scenes gain a lot from the 10-bit color that expands the dark values in the spectrum.
Shooter on 4k Blu-ray provides audio in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 – an upgrade to the Dolby Digital 5.1 format on previous Blu-ray editions. Audio streamed on average at about 3.5Mbps sometimes jumping to the 5Mbps range. Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.
The opening scene in Ethiopia has some of the best surround sound audio moments with gunfire and helicopter movements from left to right and overhead. Subwoofer ranges stand out with crisp low-frequency effects from the helicopter’s blades. This scene also sounds great on a good pair of headphones.
As far as immersive audio, there is a memorable moment at 1:20 when Sarah Fenn (Kate Mara) is alone in her house and there are some ambient sounds that travel around a surround speaker setup.
All in all, the gunshots provide the most surround sound effects. When Swagger is tuning his sniper skills on a can of Dinty More stew at 18 minutes the reverberation of the shot almost envelopes you. The explosions at the finale of the film (approx. 1:57:00) will definitely shake your home theater if you’ve got a subwoofer active.
This is a nice-looking 4k SteelBook with an image of Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger on the cover and “I didn’t start it, but I mean to see it through” quote on the back. There isn’t much artwork on the inside except for what looks like some firework sparks. And, the top of the 4k Blu-ray Disc itself is just painted black.
It’s always a good thing when a 4k Blu-ray title includes bonus material, and this disc has a good amount to get into. In the Extras section, you can check out “Survival of the Fittest: The Making of Shooter,” “Independence Hall,” and the theatrical trailer. And, there are seven deleted scenes to watch.
“Survival of the Fittest: The Making of Shooter” is extra is a 21-minute, 50-second backstage look at the making of the movie. It starts with a look at how the novel by Stephen Hunter influenced the movie and how Mark Wahlberg went into training to learn the basics of sniper marksmanship. There’s also footage of the farm battle scene to see you Antoine Fuqua explain the process of making such a complicated scene, without damaging the private property they used to shoot it. “Independence Hall” is a 7-minute, 19-second bonus feature that takes you deeper into filming at the landmark Philadelphia location where the Liberty Bell is located.
The bonus material is not offered in 4K but if your 4k TV upscales the imagery is decent.
It’s worth mentioning this disk has bookmarks with which you can press the green button on select remote controls to bookmark certain locations in the timecode.