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Ambulance (Universal Studios) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Ambulance (Universal Studios) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Universal Studios
    Released on: June 14th, 2022.
    Director: Michael Bay
    Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González
    Year: 2022
    Purchase From Amazon

    Ambulance – Movie Review:

    Michael Bay’s 2022 remake of the 2005 Danish film Ambulancen introduces us to a US army veteran named Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who, with a sick wife, Amy (Moses Ingram), and a new kid on the way, sees the bills pilling up and realizes he isn’t going to be able to get out from under his mounting debt any time soon.

    Will’s adopted brother is Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal), a criminal by trade and is willing to help Will out by offering him the chance to make some big money, really quickly. Of course, this turns out to be by assisting Danny on a high stakes bank robbery that doesn’t quite go the way that they two men had hoped. When things go south, Will and Danny wind up having to commandeer and ambulance carrying a wounded police officer tended to by a disgruntled but very good paramedic named Cam Thompson (Eiza González), at which point pretty much the entirety of the L.A.P.D. moves into action to bring them down.

    All of the expected, and by this point, cliché Michael Bay traits are on display in this bloated two hour and fifteen minute exercise in style over substance. The editing can’t help but cut every few seconds, we get lots of lens flare and a lot of shots looking up at characters from low angles and the action set pieces are as over the top as you could imagine. Realism is shown the door early on and the sound mix is nothing short of bombastic. The story pulls at our heart strings in needlessly manipulative ways and Bay winds up using drones way more than he probably needs to, pulling us up the sides of buildings for some reason. Ambulance is every bit the big budget Hollywood action movie stereotype it looks like, and in order to enjoy it, you really need to turn your brain off at the door. That said, if you’re able to do that and look past the fact that it really is a lot longer than it needed to be, Ambulance is also a pretty fun way to kill some time in front of the TV.

    This is a pretty predictable movie that goes pretty much exactly where you’d expect it to when you’d expect it to, but getting to the end is entertaining enough. Gyllenhaal overdoes it and chews threw the scenery with plenty of enthusiasm, his character seemingly all amped up on stimulants of some kind. It isn’t great acting, there’s no subtlety here, but the movie doesn’t want subtlety and somehow Gyllenhaal makes it work. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who was recently very good in the Candyman reboot, gets a bit more to do as his character does have some depth, but it isn’t the kind of depth we haven’t seen before, everyone in this movie is a cliché. This extends to Eiza González as well, we know that during all of this she’ll develop a relationship of sorts with the guys and that by going on this ride, she’ll rediscover her love of saving lives, there are no surprises here at all.

    But stuff blows up a lot, the chases are tense and fast paced, the shoot outs are nicely staged and can’t help but conjure up memories of Michael Mann’s Heat, the comedic moments work quite well and the movie pretty much winds up giving you exactly what you’d expect, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    Ambulance – Blu-ray Review:

    Ambulance is presented in an AVC encoded 2.35.1 widescreen 1080p transfer with the feature using up 35.5GBs on a 50GB disc. Image quality is very strong, with plenty of detail evident in pretty much every frame and good depth to the image as well. Color reproduction is very impressive, there’s a lot of pop here in that department. There aren't any problems with compression artifacts to note and the image is as spotless as you’d expect it to be given that it’s a brand new Hollywood blockbuster shot on high end digital cameras. This is pretty much a reference quality image.

    The main audio option on this disc is an English language 24-bit Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track, subtitles are provided in English, French and Spanish. Throughout the entire duration of the film, everything all sounds quite clear and quite good. We get plenty of depth and range up front throughout, with rear channel activity is used sometimes rather subtly to help build atmosphere. The track is well balanced and easy enough to listen to. The sound effects in particular sound quite good, while the dialogue is always very easy to understand. There’s loads of impressive surround activity going on throughout the movie, with the action sequences really exploding in the mix. Again, you can’t fault the technical side of the presentation, this sounds fantastic.

    There are a few featurettes included on the disc, starting with Bayhem, which is made up of six minutes of behind the scenes footage and interviews with Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González and a few crew members who offer up their thoughts on what it’s like to work with Michael Bay and to be involved with some genuinely chaotic action set pieces. Pedal To The Metal spends ten minutes going over the staging and shooting of the admittedly very impressive car chase scene that is a highlight of the film. Aerial Assault shows how Bay and company used different drones to capture a lot of the aerial photography featured in the movie, it runs five minutes. Finding Ambulance is a six minute piece where the cast and crew talk about what appealed to them about the project and the specific characters that populate the story. Chase Capital Of The World spends four minutes exploring why Bay chose to shoot this in Los Angeles and what makes the city such a great spot to film chase sequences. A Tribute To First Responders sees Gyllenhaal, González and a few others spend seven minutes sharing how by working on this project they really came to appreciate everything that first responders do in the world. None of these are all that deep but the behind the scenes footage is kind of fun to see.

    The Blu-ray comes packaged with a DVD version of the movie as well as an insert sheet containing a code redeemable for a downloadable HD version of the movie. Lionsgate also packages this release with a slipcover.

    Ambulance - The Final Word:

    Ambulance gives you pretty much everything you’d expect from a Michael Bay movie – everything is over the top and larger than life and the action scenes are impressive as they are unrealistic. The movie has some pacing problems and definitely could and should have been tightened up in editing, but if you can turn your brain off and deal with the padding, it’s a fun watch and Universal’s Blu-ray release gives you a reference quality way to do that.


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Ambulance Blu-ray screen caps!

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