The Last Duel (2021) | 4K Blu-ray Review


It did not do quite so well at the theaters, but Ridley Scott’s latest entry picked up steam not too long after and it has now arrived for home audiences. A dark movie in more ways than one, let’s see how it fared on the physical 4K format.


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

The Last Duel, 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-66)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Digital code
Released By:Disney/20th Century Studios
Release Date:December 14th, 2021
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
BR: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Resolution:4K: Native 4K, 2160/24p
BR: Full HD, 1080/24p
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (captured digitally)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.39:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K): Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

English (BR): DTS-HD MA 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Additional tracks also available in French and Spanish
Subtitles:English SDH, French, Spanish
Packaging:Dual disc snapcase with slipcover*

*Slipcover may only be available on initial pressing
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A (locked)

Video Review:

If you are ready for the most iris-restricting, retina-searing extravaganza for your eyes, then you probably are not looking for this film. But, that does not mean by any means that this is anything less than a treat to watch. There is a tremendous amount of fine detail in the movie itself with costumes, both ornate and basic containing a lot of fine textures and details. Skin is intentionally well-battered and hair ranges from well-maintained to clearly an afterthought to those who possess it. With all of those details, the 4K presentation has a lot of work to do, and overall it does a decent job. It is not the sharpest movie I have seen this year, but it certainly stands up well to other modern, digitally shot releases. Overall on the detail side of things, this is of very good quality and the presentation maintains much of it through more challenging lighting conditions.

On that note, the movie itself is very dark, with many of the interior scenes glowing with warm yellow tones, being lit by firelight and candles, and the exterior scenes being awash blue-tinged overcast soft light. This movie is no eye-scorcher, with very dark scenes and an intentionally moody color palette. That said, the HDR10 color grade does a nice job maintaining the mood of the film throughout. Top that off with some challenges for the dynamic range, especially on the darker end of the spectrum and I do tip my hat to the folks who were able to maintain the amount of dark shadow detail with little signs of crushed blacks. That said it was not completely without flaws as blacks were elevated a bit here and there, and given the overall grade of the film, the highlights and whites never got overly bright.

There is an included Blu-ray, and while in general it is a solid disc, its only benefit is blending the CG elements in more effectively, but otherwise it struggles to produce the same visual impact seen on the 4K counterpart.

Video Score (4K): 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)

Video Score (BR): 4.0 / 5 (Good)

Audio Review:

Falling right in line with Disney’s 4K playbook, we have an Atmos mix on the 4K and a DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix on the BR disc. I will say right off the bat that both are very good tracks, but the Atmos does edge out the static mix with its use of dynamic objects completing the soundscape. Starting with the positives, the Atmos mix is clear, punchy and dynamic through the scenes that necessitate it, and reserved and subtle on the rest. Though a film predicated around battling knights, the story focus is on the characters and so much of the movie is driven by its dialog. Thankfully it remains clear and clean all throughout the film and well placed up on screen. In a few scenes, including the climatic duel, the sound does come to life more fully. There is a solid use of bass and LFE, but it is not over the top or demo worthy. That said it still carries impact and is in no way anemic.

Only the nitpicks side, the use of dynamic objects, and particularly the use of overhead speakers, is only reserved for a couple of scenes, feeling much like they prioritized the biggest scenes but left the rest of the film with a purely static mix. This does not mean it’s a bad experience, but it does demonstrate the contrast between a mix like this one, and one where the auditory experience is more immersive throughout, leveraging the full capability of the format to ultimately place the listener better within the scene even when the action on screen is light.

As mentioned the Blu-ray’s mix is also quite good, its just falls short of what we get on the Atmos mix.

Audio Score (4K): 4.4 / 5 (Very Good)

Audio Score (BR): 4.2 / 5 (Very Good)

Special Features and Packaging:

To start, there are no special features on the 4K disc so everything is found on the Blu-ray. And by everything I mean the two features they included. While one of those features is a 30 minute behind the scenes featurette, the other is just a trailer. A character driven movie like this would have greatly benefited from commentary tracks, interviews and more, but alas the powers that be cut the list very short.

For packaging, this is also straight out of the Disney formula. Gold and red bars on the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” artwork, disc art on the 4K and a blue disc for the 1080p. I think I could likely be in the Disney packaging department at this point. Buy a handful of their releases and you know how it works.

Features Score: 2.0 / 5 (Not Good)

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

If you enjoy the movie, and don’t care as much about the visual nuances you get with the premium 4K format, you will be plenty happy with the Blu-ray. But thankfully for those of us who want to see it in it’s top format, they did a very nice job with what we got on screen and on that audio mix. And it’s enough to say that the 4K purchase is worth it over the standard 1080p. The black levels alone justify the additional cost, but you could also wait a little for the price to come down.

But, I will also say that this release is actually hard to find right now. It seems as though they based interest off the box office, and did not realize that the reviews that came out after showed a much stronger movie than the early movie reviews would have suggested. As such the likely smaller production run went out of stock pretty quickly during pre-orders, but you can still find it here or there, or at list put in an order and wait for it to come back in stock (which it is expected to).


Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

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

Summary and Overall Scores:

Overall, this movie was better than anticipated and the release serves it fairly well. As with most Disney/20th Century releases, it is not perfect, but it’s still a solid entry into any collection.

Experience Score**: 4.1 / 5  (Very Good)

** 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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