3:10 To Yuma 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
James Mangold’s 2007 film, 3:10 TO YUMA is a very efficient Western, featuring good performances from his two leading men and a story that does a fine job of highlighting the differences between the famous bad guys and the unsung heroes of the old West. As efficient as it is, 3:10 TO YUMA feels a little cold and distant, never able to strike an emotional chord with its audience, which is something many modern Westerns have struggled with over the years.
Ben Wade (Crowe) is a famous that has made a name for himself robbing railroad money and being merciless with how he leads his gang of outlaws. After his recent heist, Ben seems to give up and allows himself to be captured. His surrendering is never really explained, but we assume he just doesn’t take the situation seriously, relying on his loyal gang to free him at will. Faced with the daunting task of transporting Wade to Yuma prison, his captors enlist the help of soldier turned rancher Dan Evans (Bale). Dan is struggling to make a living and with a sick child and debt piling up, he agrees to escort Wade to Yuma.
The decisions at the end of the film are based upon the relationship between Ben and Dan that isn’t developed properly throughout the film. Too much time is spent on other aspects that aren’t important to what should have been the focus of the story. While Ben and Dan interact occasionally, we don’t see them connect or come to a mutual respect for each other until the very end and even then it feels forced. This gives the film a hollow feeling that makes it hard for the audience to connect to the characters and makes the ending feel shallow with what it’s trying to do.
Aside from a comic book villain turn from Ben Foster, the performances in 3:10 TO YUMA are impressive, most notably from Christian Bale. No one can do serious and bummed like Bale and as Dan Evans, he makes it easy to believe he’s desperate, yet proud. Crowe doesn’t do much acting, but he carries Ben with a swagger and bravado you’d expect from a famous Western outlaw. The supporting cast rounds out nicely, with everyone turning in good performances.
I love Westerns, but sometimes it’s hard for filmmakers to craft a Western in a way that resonates with modern audiences. For me, 3:10 TO YUMA lacked the emotional connection it needed to justify the ending. I liked the ending, but I didn’t buy into Ben’s decision or his connection to Dan because the filmmakers didn’t do a good enough job of establishing and growing their relationship throughout the film. That said, 3: 10 TO YUMA hits on many levels and if you haven’t seen the 1957 version, it tells a good story.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: I can’t figure out what logic, if any, Lionsgate is using to choose which of their catalog titles get the 4K treatment, but they might have stumbled upon something with 3:10 TO YUMA; Modern Westerns seem custom made for the 4K format. The bright settings, vast landscapes and campfire lit night scenes look absolutely incredible on 4K. The Blu-ray looks pretty decent, but the 4K is an upgrade in every way. Ben’s black outfit now has shades of black, Dan’s facial hair has scraggly details and each setting has a level of clarity that wasn’t there before. The film didn’t resonate with me as much as it does with others, but if the disc has taught me anything, it’s that modern Westerns have to be seen in 4K.
Audio: The included DTS-X track is a very nice compliment to the great visuals. 3:10 TO YUMA has sneaky-good audio because you’ll be in the middle of a dialogue scene and then suddenly bullets come whizzing by, utilizing your surround channels perfectly.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film.