Reservoir Dogs – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Reservoir Dogs

As far as fans of Tarantino are concerned, Reservoir Dogs hold a special place in their hearts. After all, it was his first film. Yet, their fondness for this film primarily comes from the characters and their dialogue. Also, the simplicity of only having to go by a colorful name and some character traits means latching onto what they’re saying and the actor’s performances. Everyone has their favorite characters too. It’s a testament to the kind of characters Tarantino has written since this film.

At the same time, Tarantino has put an exciting spin on a genre that has remained stagnant until that point. In a way, he’s similar to an EDM producer. He sampled from the classics but put his own high-energy spin on it. With Reservoir Dogs, he’s patterned the film like Hollywood legends like Kubrick and Scorsese and foreign legends like Sergio Leone and Ringo Lam. 

Reservoir Dogs follows Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) and his son Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn) planning a jewelry store heist with a team of five eccentric robbers. Unfortunately for them, one of the robbers is a snitch, and the entire heist goes sideways. Drama and suspense ensue when the remaining team tries to find who the snitch is.

With his knowledge of all things film, Tarantino assembled an incredible cast—Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Madsen, Steve Buscemi, and Chris Penn. He even cast some stellar B-film legends such as Lawrence Tierney and Eddie Bunker. For a dialogue-heavy film such as this, these actors took the material and took it to another level. After all, lines in a script are just lines until an actor effectively brings them to life. 

Overall, Reservoir Dogs is a riveting crime noir mystery thriller that announced the arrival of one of Hollywood’s best modern-day talents. And boy, did Quentin Tarantino arrive with a bang.

Movie Rating: 5/5 atoms

Reservoir Dogs - Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth


Reservoir Dogs hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Vision/HDR10 transfer and a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The black levels are rich and inky and reveal more details in the picture. The black suits have better definitions, and the textures and shadows display more particulars in these areas. Nevertheless, there is still some crush on the dark regions. However, when you compare it to the Blu-ray release, most of the crush is completely gone.

Thanks to the HDR, the color palette has been enhanced with a bolder and richer spectrum of colors, which tend to stick out more. The primaries are vivid—such as all of the blood, the neon of the diner signs, the blue skies, and of course, Nice Guy Eddie’s tracksuit. The source was a bit dirty with plenty of filmic imperfections, so this new scan and restoration cleaned up most, if not all, of these imperfections. The details are sharp and wonderful to look at. Closeups reveal a rich array of particulars, such as hair, makeup, and textures.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Reservoir Dogs - Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel


Reservoir Dogs hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. Unfortunately, most of the audio mix is front-heavy. The sound effects appear primarily in the front channels. However, the surround speakers are mainly left to showcase the atmospheric effects—such as street sounds or the chatter or plate sound at the diner. The score and music cues are fantastic. Not to mention, the dialogue is clean, clear, well-layered, and sounds natural throughout. Sadly, there is a lack of oomph to this mix. The effects sound soft and rarely feature some bass-pounding moments.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Reservoir Dogs - Michael Madsen, Harvey Keitel, and Steve Buscemi

Special Features

Reservoir Dogs‘ Ultra HD Blu-ray disc doesn’t have any special features on it. However, you can find the following special features on the 1080p Blu-ray disc:

  • Deleted Scenes
    • Background Check
    • No Protection
    • Doing My Job
    • Cutting Off the Ear — Alternate Take A
    • Cutting Off the Ear — Alternate Take B
  • Playing It Fast and Loose
  • Profiling the Reservoir Dogs
Features Assessment

Unfortunately, the special features for this release are severely lacking. Most of the featurettes (there were a lot of them) from the 2002 DVD release are missing here. That being said, the deleted scenes are holdovers from Artisan’s DVD release. In case you didn’t own that version and have never seen these scenes, about half of the scenes feature Mr. Orange talking with his police associates. There are scenes with the other characters, but most of them feature Mr. Orange.

The other two featurettes come from Lionsgate’s Blu-ray release. Playing It Fast and Loose has other film critics and analysts comparing Tarantino to some of the best directors in Hollywood history. Lastly, Profiling the Reservoir Dogs is a cheesy criminal analysis montage of each character.

Special Features Rating: 2/5 atoms

Overall, Reservoir Dogs is a modern-day classic and introduced the world to the eccentric and visionary mind of Quentin Tarantino. To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Lionsgate has given us a fantastic Ultra HD Blu-ray release. The video and audio (although not a new mix) are amazing. It’s just unfortunate that the special features are severely lacking in this pearl anniversary.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

Reservoir Dogs is now available in stores on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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