The Defiant Ones – Blu-ray Review

The Defiant Ones is a US four part documentary style miniseries that aired on HBO, portraying the stories of both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Chronicling their lives, and how they ultimately met and became what is considered to be known as one of the most successful business pairs in recent history.

Andrew Romelle Young, or as the world has grown to know him Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics, and was previously the co-owner of and an artist on Death Row Records. He is credited as a key figure in the popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music that is characterized as synthesizer-based with slow, heavy beats.

Jimmy Iovine, a record producer who is best known as the co-founder of Interscope Records and chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M. In 2006, Iovine teamed up with Dr. Dre to start Beats Electronics (formerly known as Beats by Dr. Dre), a company that produces audio products and operated a now defunct music streaming service.

Purchased by Apple Computers in 2014, Beats Electronics is headquartered in Culver City, California, and the subsidiary’s product line is primarily focused on headphones and speakers. The original product line was manufactured in partnership with the AV equipment company Monster Cable Product. Following the end of its contract with the company, Beats took further development of its products in house, and in 2014, the company expanded into the online music market to launch its subscription-based streaming service, Beats Music. For a brief period of time, the company was majority-owned by Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC. The company reduced its stake to 25% in 2012, and sold its remaining stake back to the company in 2013. Concurrently, Carlyle Group replaced HTC as a minority shareholder, alongside Dre and Iovine in late 2013, and on August 1, 2014, Apple acquired the company for US $3 billion in cash and stock deal, making it the largest acquisition in Apple History.

The Film Itself (5/5):

I feel that I should preface this with the fact that I went into The Defiant Ones mostly blind.  Only knowing that this feature covered Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and their career together, I wasn’t quite sure what all was going to be included.  Let me tell you, this felt as if it were an all encompassing documentary that not only starts out with their individual careers and how they got their start in the music industry, but ultimately how they ended up meeting and eventually starting their career together.  Some of the really nice aspects of this feature were the fact that the production crew brought in several other musicians that they all had worked with like Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson, The Black Eyed Peas and Eminem to just name a few, and talk about how these two helped create each of their iconic statuses respectively within the industry.

Picture Quality (5/5):

Presented in 1080p, The Defiant Ones offers an absolutely beautiful view into the professional lives of these two pioneers of the music industry.  Not only offering a clean and clear look into their lives as they tell their stories, but offering a clean view into their past workings through interviews with those that they have worked with and using footage from old recorded footage that was cleaned up for this feature presentation.

Audio Quality (4/5):

Packaged with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, The Defiant Ones does everything it can within the limitations of its audio codec to offer an immersive experience into Dre and Iovine’s life.  While absolutely everything about this track is clean and clear and mostly everything is able to be heard and understood without any distortion, I feel that there could’ve been a better opportunity with a 7.1 track given the handful of musical performances we see throughout this feature as well as the musical score that accompanies it.  It’s not necessarily a completely negative experience by any means as they can be heard and understood; but would’ve really shined with the DTS-HD 7.1 track.

The Packaging (3/5):

The Defiant Ones comes in your slightly standard two-disc Blu-ray amaray case.  Slightly in the fact that the disk trays are a little bit deeper, and within that case are the four discs that make up this release.  On the right are the two Blu-ray discs while on the left are the two DVD discs of the release.  Unfortunately, none of the discs feature any artwork whatsoever outside of the standard release text.  There are no digital copy redemption pamphlets included with this release, but there is a slipcover that’s been provided during the initial pressing that features the same artwork as the case art.


Special Features:

Unfortunately, there are no special features included on the Blu-ray release of The Defiant Ones.  As a result, there is no rating for this section of the review.

Technical Specs:


Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Original Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1


English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

English: Dolby Digital 5.1


English SDH, Spanish, French


Original Series: 261 minutes

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to review The Defiant Ones.  I went into this knowing some of Dr. Dre’s involvement in music production, but had never heard of Jimmy Iovine and after watching through this with my wife, I felt that I learned a lot about both of their lives.  It was a really great experience to see how both of these pioneers started and worked their way up to have the status that they both have today.  Seeing the testimonies from those who they helped in their careers was also a great thing; I mean, we saw testimony from various members of NWA, Gwen Stefani and several others.  And the overall flow of the feature really did not feel that we just sat through 4 and a half hours of footage.  The overall visual and audible presentation of this release is clean and clear and very well done.  If you’re interested in picking this film up for your collection, I would absolutely recommend it.  The Defiant Ones will be available on store shelves beginning on November 28!

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.