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October 30, 2010
Green Zone Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
11/3/201020/7/2010UniversalPaul Greengrass
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MMatt Damon

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Matt Damon is quite superb in Green Zone.

With the success of the Bourne Trilogy of movie Matt Damon is now a household name, and an actor that can handle himself in an action movie. Now he, and director of the last two Bourne movies, have teamed up to create a movie set in the Green Zone in Baghdad. It's a risky move for the filmmakers and Universal given the war in Iraq is still ongoing and casualties continue to mount up.

Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller is done following orders. This rogue U.S. Army officer must hunt through covert and faulty intelligence hidden on foreign soil before war escalates in an unstable region.

In terms of the actual storyline Green Zone is certainly better then most action movies, although it never quite hits the right notes in terms of concluding the false reports thread but heads off on a tangent looking for an agent. Still, it's decent enough that you won't be groaning.

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Baghdad is destroyed during the war.
Certainly more impressive then the script is the brilliant acting from all involved. Matt Damon again proves his worth as an action star and is quite believable in his role leading the squad. Everyone else from the soldiers, to the Iraqi civilians and enemy agents are all brilliantly portrayed. Backing up the great acting are the action sequences which are frantic, but more so the brilliant "tense" moments such as those when an Iraqi drives through an American checkpoint and faces the consequences.

If there's one thing I absolutely despise with films these days it's the excessive use of shakey cams and that is very much the case with Paul Greengrass' movies - he's the king of shaky cams. I have to say though that in this film, where you are often on patrol in the streets, it actually adds to the tension and feeling of "being there". While I would still like its use curtailed in places, it's not as bad as I suspected - although if I was in a large cinema I may have a bad feeling.

Green Zone is a superbly produced film with high production values, great acting and set pieces and a pretty decent storyline too. Matt Damon can certainly carry a film, and if you're a fan of action films when we highly recommend this to all - that is, despite the excessive shaky-cam.

Universal are usually very solid with their transfers to Blu-Ray and Green Zone is one of their best with the film presented in the original 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio and has been encoded using the VC-1 codec. As you can imagine the film has a very gritty/dusty look but this is handled superbly with a wonderful level of fine detail provided through the 1080p image. The transfer also has a light, natural level of film grain. Given the amount of shaky cam used throughout the film it's an impressive effort.

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Green Zone is out now on Blu-Ray.
Audio too is impressive with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track offering a wide range of crystal clear audio from quiet talking and office chatter, to intense action sequences filled with gunfire and explosions. This really is a cracking release sonically that will test your audio setup to its limits.

Other audio tracks on this disc include German and Spanish DTS 5.1 tracks encoded at 768kbps as well as a DVS (Descriptive Video Service) which is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 192kbps. Any of these three tracks will certainly suffice if you have a need although it's a little disappointing that the DVS track doesn't make use of surround sound channels.

While it's not overly loaded with extras there are a few here which are of high enough quality that you should take a look.

Audio Commentary with Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon: It's obvious that these two are good friends, and this commentary demonstrates that. There are plenty of stories from the set, comments about the storyline, and other bits of information. We won't place this as one of the best commentaries we've ever heard, but it's worth a listen.

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Green Zone has a superb transfer to Blu-Ray.
Deleted Scenes (12:27/HD): Here we have a series of Deleted Scenes presented with, or without, a video commentary with director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon (as well as Paul's son). There are some decent scenes here but with a runtime approaching 2 hours it's clear as to why these scenes were cut from the final film.

Matt Damon: Ready for Action (9:47/HD): This is an interesting look at Matt Damon working on the set, with many of the squad mates being real soldiers who had just returned from tour (and who would be returning to Iraq before the film released). This featurette looks at how Matt worked with the real soldiers, and how the real soldiers worked with the actors.

Inside The Green Zone (8:53/HD): This is a more typical "Making of" piece which looks at various aspects of the production, but ultimately sells the movie and offers little detail.

The Real Miller (6:20/HD): This brief featurette looks at how Matt Damon and the film crew used the technical advisor on the film, Richard L. "Monty" Gonzales, for much of the detail as he was a part of the actual WMD teams in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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Looking at intelligence documents.
Recreating Baghdad (3:17/HD): Green Zone wasn't actually filmed in Baghdad, it's still far too dangerous, with filming taking place in Spain and Morocco. This featurette, which is far too short, looks at the locations used.

Green Zone was a bit of a flop for Universal financially, however much of that could be put down the the subject matter. As an action movie the high production values and engrossing story should have you hooked. Universal have put together a very solid Blu-Ray and it's one we highly recommend.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Universal. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.