Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021) | 4K Blu-ray Review

Lionsgate is out with yet another 4K Blu-ray release. This time it’s for the sequel to 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard.  Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid are back at it, annoying each other while saving Europe from a plotting madman. And this time the odd couple have an extra dose of volatility from Darius’s wife, Sonia Kincaid. This action/comedy release comes in with all the right specs to have top quality visuals and audio, but does this release of The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Wife deliver?

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard 4K UltraHD Blu-ray cover

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-100)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Digital Copy (4K)
Released By:Lionsgate
Release Date:August 17th, 2021
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
Native 4K, 2160/24p 
(3280 x 2160 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)

Full HD, 1080/24p 
(1920 x 1080 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from 2.8K, 3.4K digital RAW)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (FEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.39:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K): Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48 kHz, 24-bit)

English (BR): Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48 kHz, 24-bit)

Additional audio tracks available in French and Spanish
Subtitles:English SDH, French Spanish
Packaging:Dual disc case with slipcover

(slipcover may only be available for initial pressing)
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A

Video Review:

From a visual standpoint, this release should have a top quality image quality and it does deliver in most aspects. The details are clean and defined in most scenes throughout the film, revealing fine skin textures and details in clothing. The color palette is warm and bold in the daytime scenes with the action coming to life with bright muzzle flashes and explosive fireballs contrasted with rich, inky black levels.. The 4K blu-ray is clearly a step up here over the standard blu-ray, but the 2K version is no slouch. 

Now onto the nit-picks…

Oddly there are some points where it does get noticeable soft. In some cases this may be because of lens choice where details around the edge are not as sharp as the center, but there are also times where you could swear you were looking at a lower resolution on the screen. What seems really odd as it does not seem to be scene to scene, but rather intermittent throughout the film. Both the 4K blu-ray and standard blu-ray exhibit this behavior suggesting it was either a result of the capture or present early in the process.

One major downside of this film is the somewhat poorly managed computer generated VFX lineup. Maybe I have been watching too many breakdowns of VFX lately, but to my eye, the effects were noticeable to the discerning viewer, but not distracting to the casual viewer. Whether it be from large explosions to computer generated blood splatter, I was able to pretty readily notice the usage in my first watch through of the film (where trying my best to enjoy rather than analyze).

Lastly, while shot digitally there is not film grain present, however there is definitely a layer of digital noise throughout. While it’s not noticeable from a distance, if you sit relatively close, or have a large projection screen, you likely will see it on both the 4K as well as the standard BR. Not an issue if that does not bother you, but for those grain/noise sensitive viewers, take note.

Video Score (4K): 4.4 / 5

Video Score (BR): 4.2 / 5

Audio Review:

Both discs feature identical Dolby Atmos mixes over a TrueHD 7.1 base. The mix is strong providing a bunch and great effects throughout the bed layer (i.e. fronts and ear level surrounds). Dialog and on screen action was very clear through the front stage, never having difficulty discerning a passing line, or subtle effect. The bass and LFE were appropriately aggressive adding emphasis to explosions and gunfire, and thump to music in the club scenes. And if your subs are capable, they will dig below 20Hz at a couple of points through the film.

As great as the movie sounds, it is certainly not perfect, especially when it comes to the use of moving objects and overhead speakers.

Turning off the bed layer and listening to just what was coming from overhead only found a few examples through the film with discrete overhead activity, and more strangely almost none in the major action scenes. Giving the audio mix team a break, many of the action scenes take place inside buildings and on boats, but as active as the ear-level surrounds were, it was a bit shocking to notice almost nothing overhead even to help build the ambient environment, or even brief usage of overheads sounds when the scene could support it. Even in the club scene with music coming from all around, the overhead speakers were silent. Yet in a transition scene just before the climactic action scene of the film, while Frank Grillo’s character is speaking on the phone to his supervisor, there was the clear sound of a helicopter overhead and some water splashing down from a broken pipe that is spraying into the air. Both of these details were not a focus of the scene and so were purely there for ambiance. Why they chose to add in overhead effects in one scene over the other remains a bit head-scratching, especially given the overall strength of the mix.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 4.4 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

The special features are found across the 4K and BR disc and are pretty standard fare for what you would expect for a movie like this. There are featurettes on the 3 main actors, one on the evolution of the main character, Michael Bryce and a peek into on set and behind stunts. Its all wrapped up with a small gag reel and a trailer. Again, nothing raving about, but also happy they were included.

Packaging follows the current trend for Lionsgate with a full image slipcover and artwork replicated onto both discs in a dual disc case. It should be noted there is a steelbook version available through Best Buy (and a new one for the first film as well) if you are a collector.

Features Score: 3.7 / 5


OK, so you either own the Blu-ray or are considering buying this movie for the first time. Which do you get/keep?

As this is a new release it is still going for higher prices ($25-$28 as of publication). If you have seen and love the movie, or its predecessor, I would pick it up. But if you can wait, this one will definitely drop below its current asking price and into the $15-18 range. If you can be patient, then wait for that drop to grab it.

If you have a 4K capable set up, there is no reason not to buy the 4K version over the standard release. The improvement in picture detail and color quality is worth the premium. But if you are not able to take advantage of 4K yet (and don’t plan to be soon), the Blu-ray/DVD combo set will probably be a few dollars cheaper.

If for some reason you already bought the standard Blu-ray, and cannot return/exchange it, I would stick with what you have until you can pick it up super cheap or used.

Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES (but wait for the price to drop from release price)

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Summary and Overall Scores:

While certainly not a cinematic masterpiece, the enjoyable action/comedy made a good impression in its home release. But for all the good present, there were also some flaws to balance what would have otherwise been a high-scoring release. The high detail, rich-color digital image had some softness interspersed, but otherwise impressed. The audio track was strong at ear level but lacking in the heights. Overall, this meant for a good, to very good, experience from this 4K/Bluray package.

Experience Score**: 4.3 / 5 

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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