To all those complaining about the audio. Get over it. If you think there will ever be another HD release of this movie in our lifetime you are kidding yourselves. This is an excellent cult classic cyberpunk movie from 1995 with a small but enthusiastic fanbase who are mostly in their 30's and 40's now. We are not a target demographic except for nostalgia repping and Shout! factory is one of the few companies who cater to that audience with decent transfers. This is probably your last, best shot at a hard copy in HD.
Those points aside, the 'transfer' to HD is about what I would expect from the mid 90's era. There is a good amount of grain on the film but it may have been on the original master. It adds a little bit of flair in my opinion to the grittiness of the film and it is noticeable and makes the film feel more like a bootleg than an HD copy. That does not detract from the film in my opinion as it reminds me of the Troma Films blu ray transfers. The film is letterboxed to its original aspect ratio on a 16:9 TV.
It is 2 speakers and that's it. I switched the playback to do a faux 5.1 on the receiver and it sounded similar to the DVD if not identical. It is possible that Shout! Factory's claim that the original master was DTS 2.0 and that the DVD was just using a fake 5.1 track is legit. The audio was clear enough and there was not any noticeable bleed through in either 2.0 or fake 5.1. Those who were expecting a remix of the audio are going to be upset and probably should steer clear.
3. Special Features
This is where the blu-ray really shines. Shout! Factory did an excellent job with the special features with a full length series of interviews that treat the film like the cult classic it is. They have wardrobe, visual effects, the Director and a few cast members. I thought this was going to be some 20 minute throwaway to push blu rays but it was an adult, serious take on the process of creating Hackers, the soundtrack, how the movie has influenced culture and the culture has influenced the movie, what real hacking was like during that era (2600 mag interviews), discussions about each of the other cast members, etc. I was really impressed with the production quality, depth and length of this feature. It was interesting and refreshing to hear a serious talk about one of my favorite films from those who participated in it.
The cover art can be flipped to have the original theatrical movie poster instead of the one shown in the screenshot. Much better IMHO and a nice surprise for those of us who didn't care for the change.
Overall, normally I wait for blu-ray releases to drop in price to around $10 and this movie probably would not have been an exception but it's one of my favorite movies and I would not be surprised if this is a more limited release. If you are looking for a HD remaster or Criterion Collection style treatment like this was some sort of American classic you will need to wait (probably forever) but if you want an HD version of your favorite film with an excellent feature length special feature this is your ticket. Let's be honest, you are only reading this review because you already love the movie. Me too.