Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

In Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (military code for, umm, WTF), Tina Fey plays real-life reporter Kim Baker who, tired of her stagnant career, accepts a three-month assignment embedded with the U.S. Marines covering the war in Afghanistan, much to the dismay of her boyfriend. As three months turns into four years, Baker meets a collection of colorful war correspondents, marines, and corrupt government officials, including a Scottish playboy (Martin Freeman) who becomes her love interest and a gorgeous rival reporter (Margot Robbie). But as she endures the almost surreal dangers and day-to-day activities of Afghanistan, she begins to realize that the place is having a negative effect on her perception of reality. While there are some genuine moments of comedy in WTF, mostly from the chemistry between Fey and Freeman, the film spends most of its time in a quagmire of obvious gags, cliché stereotypes, and really dire dark comedy that even the two charismatic leads can’t overcome.

1016wtf.box.jpgComedies don’t usually stand out visually, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, shot on Arri cameras in ProRes 4444, framed at 1.78:1, and brought to Blu-ray in a 1080p AVC transfer, appears to be bucking that dubious tradition. The image is textured and organic and tends to look gritty at times, perhaps to drive home the idea that there’s a war going on. There’s lots of detail in that regard, like easily seen dust in the air or the deep lines in the grizzled faces of the marines.

Chalk WTF up as another release with an unexpectedly good audio track. It gets a DTS:X mix that plays as DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 on non-DTS:X-enabled systems. In the opening scene, “Jump Around” blasts at a house party when a bomb goes off. The sound is what you’d expect to hear in real life, coming from all around you, including from above. There’s a closed-in sort of ambience and extended low end. It doesn’t stop there, because there are also bombings, drone strikes, and ground battles. Dialogue gets a little lost during these active sequences, but when the danger subsides, there’s an excellent balance between the score and other sound effects.

This release isn’t loaded with must-watch extras. The highlights include a five-minute featurette with the real Kim Baker, titled simply “The Real Kim” and a featurette on consulting with the marines called “Embedded in Reality.” There are also four deleted and extended scenes, along with a few other brief featurettes; an iTunes/HD Digital Copy plus a DVD are included.

Studio: Paramount, 2016
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio Format: DTS:X / DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 core
Length: 111 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman