I have always had a soft spot for movies set in the Los Angeles area and about the city itself, a subject where filmmaker Michael Mann made very notable like in his famous shootout sequence in HEAT or in later years when his striking digital cinematography took him around the LA area by way of a stressed cabbie in COLLATERAL. Now filmmaker Michael Bay has come along with a great new entry into this subject. I wrote very positively about AMBULANCE when it was out in theatres a few months ago, of course, and it’s a movie I wound up seeing a few times in theatres for it’s winding and complex narrative all to one of his best visual presentations yet.
I haven’t always liked all of Bay’s movies yet he seems to be in a much more mature style of storytelling as of late but still with his hyper-kinetic flair. It all absolutely works with AMBULANCE which is pretty much non-stop after a bank heist goes awry. I was also very happy to see the story from the perspective of the robbers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II leadingg them) who all have their conflicts, along with a great performance from Eiza Gonzalez (BLOODSHOT, BABY DRIVER) as a paramedic who really has a lot to deal with here. The action never lets up and then the end credits rush by in such a fury that you are still sitting there exhausted as the projector turns off (or in this case, the disc goes back to the menu). AMBULANCE is overall a stellar piece of work and one of the better movies I have seen in 2022.
About the 4k Blu Ray:
AMBULANCE arrives on home video in one of the very best 4k/Dolby Vision/HDR transfers I have seen to date. The movie was shot in 6k to 8k resolution on digital cameras, the format Bay has switched to permanently after shooting on film for so many years. Bay has always been known for his use of colours and they absolutely shine on screen in vibrant detail, and black levels are some of the best I have seen for digital cinematography.
I viewed the film theatrically in IMAX, which I felt was a BIT overkill with its constant hand-held use. I also felt the movie would have suited better to the 1.85 or 2:1 aspect ratio as there are a lot of close-ups that feel cropped and some of the aerial drone shots lend themselves better to a taller look. But that’s more of a nitpick for this aspect ratio nut. With all of this said, AMBULANCE also absolutely works on the smaller home theatre screen too. The soundtrack in Dolby Atmos is very aggressive at times and fills the room with powerful split-surrounds and a great low-end along with a music score and soundtrack that seems to never stop.
The special features are limited to six production features, the best one of course entitled “Bayhem” about Mr. Bay’s style, and there are also some good clips here about first responders as well as shooting in the LA area. I kind of wish for a filmmaker commentary or more behind the scenes information on the unique filming style here, but this is a nice addition to the feature.
I was sent the US disc and it also includes a Digital Copy which redeems to Apple TV and Vudu. Should you get the Canadian release, the Digital Copy will redeem to Google Play and should update later to 4k/HDR on Chromecast with Google TV. That too should be a terrific experience, but I feel the disc itself will have the highest resolution.
I have always loved LA stories from HEAT to COLLATERAL, and AMBULANCE is a great new entry that I certainly want to revisit. Not just a great movie but this 4k release is one of the very best the format has to offer. Highly recommended.
AMBULANCE is now available on 4k HDR disc from Universal. As always, our thanks to Universal PR for sending out a copy for review.