The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) | 4K Blu-ray Review

A low budget take on a sword clashing, fantasy adventure flick makes its way to the premium Ultra HD format thanks to Scream Factory. What the filmmakers were able to accomplish was relatively impressive, though the film itself was never going to be near an Oscar ceremony. So let’s see if the quality of this release can top the quality of the film.

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

The Sword and the Sorcerer 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-66)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Released By:Shout!/Scream Factory
Release Date:March 15th, 2022
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
Resolution:4K: Native 4K, 2160/24p
BR: Full HD, 1080/24p
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from negatives)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (FEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:1.85:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K/BR):
DTS-HD MA 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Subtitles:English SDH
Packaging:Dual-disc snapcase with slipcover*

*Slipcover may be limited to initial pressings
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A (locked)

Video Review:

Given the budgetary limitations of this film, it was a bit of a surprise at how good some of the scenes looked from those original negatives, but I will say right up front that there are still flaws interspersed with the good. On the detail side of things, much of the image looked relatively sharp, detailed and nuanced. Close-ups of characters’ faces, textures on clothing, the aesthetic reality of real environmental details paired with the obvious lack of realism of some of the more poorly made set pieces all come together to present a solid visual presentation. The grain structure throughout is mostly well handled, getting heavy at times but still well formed. But interspersed are select scenes, especially several outdoor shots early in the film where the grain structure gets blotchy and noisy, to a brief but distracting few moments. Thankfully this was not throughout as the well presented scenes vastly outnumber those of poorer quality.

On the color front, the Dolby Vision enabled encode does a pretty good job of making the most of what it has to work with. Primaries appear rich, but not oversaturated, from red clothing and blood, to green foliage, the yellow and orange of fires and pops of blue interspersed, it all looks well balanced and natural without an overly skewed color grade in any direction of another. The neutrals and earth tones remain as one would expect and overall, vibrant visual effects look decent throughout, mostly limited by their budget and not the remaster. Blacks and whites were well handled with blacks digging deep and remaining inky and whites, although not abundant, do push towards white with only a few instances of a loss of detail. The shadows are dark with much of the movie taking place at night and inside dark castle hallways and dungeons. While there are several instances where the shadows go to black, they do not appear crushed.

The included Blu-ray shares many of the same qualities as the 4K disc, with a slight less level of detail and lesser ability to manage the dynamic range, but overall it’s also a pretty solid disc.

Video Score (4K): 3.9 / 5 (Good)

Video Score (BR): 3.9 / 5 (Good)

Audio Review:

There are two audio mixes included, and right up front Scream Factory lets you know that the 2.0 Stereo is the preferred option due to the lack of quality and errors in the 5.1 mix that was licensed from a third party. That being said, neither of the audio tracks are pristine, with some audible flaws and artifacts present throughout the duration, although easy enough to tune out unless you are specifically listening for them. The rest of the audio presentation on the stereo mix is good, but nothing that would impress. Dialog mostly remains clear and balanced, there’s a fullness to the voices and effects. The soundstage is rendered somewhat narrow, but not claustrophobic sounding. The bass and LFE is somewhat of its time coming in a bit anemic, but not absent.

The 5.1 mix definitely has some issues with obvious errors in audio effect placement and not really presenting anything I would consider an improvement over the stereo. In many ways, it may have been best to leave this one off the disc, but I guess if you really prefer a surround mix, you at least have one available.

For those who may upmix, this does not really upmix well. On the stereo mix, not much is expanded in the soundstage and the only aspects on the 5.1 mix that become more pronounced are the errors.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 3.0 / 5 (Average)

Special Features and Packaging:

This is actually where this release shines most. Scream Factory did a great job pulling together a decent list of extras. There’s a new audio commentary track, several interviews and featurettes, trailers, tv spots, and more. There’s also a nice deviation and tribute to Jack Tyree, the stuntman who died during the production of the film. Overall there’s a good amount to dig into and most of it is enjoyable and re-watchable.

For packaging, this is pretty standard of Scream Factory releases with custom artwork on the slipcover, reversible cover art, and artwork on both discs. There’s not much more to it, but it’s always a nice presentation over other standard level releases.

Features Score: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)


Here’s the thing. If you really like this movie, this is definitely the best it has looked and may ever look and therefore it is worth picking up. But it’s also not cheap, given it comes from a boutique label. You can absolutely wait for a sale, but I would not expect this release to drop too low on just the standard market pricing, so if you are really interested it may make sense to make some room in your budget to add this to your collection.

Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: Yes* (for die hard fans, or on sale)

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

Summary and Overall Scores:

Given the limitations of the budget and the capture used for this film, this is certainly not going to be your digitally crisp, modern day release. But for what they had to work with, Scream Factory did an admirable job bringing this release to market and overall it is a worthwhile pickup for fans.

Experience Score**: 3.7 / 5  (Good)

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

If a video version of this review is made, it will be posted here. If you are looking for video versions of my other reviews, please check out the Freshly Tapped Media channel on YouTube.

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