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  Directed by
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  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 63:54)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    Spanish, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Featurette
  • Animated menus

Die Hard

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 126 mins . M . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Taking action to a new level was John McTiernans plan with this movie. Casting Bruce Willis in the lead after his debut success with Moonlighting was a stroke of genius as Bruce has gone on to make some classic movies. Even watching the movie after all these years, you start to wonder how this simple looking action hero took on the likes of Rambo.

John McClane (Bruce) has just arrived at the Makatomi Coporation building in Los Angeles to meet up with his wife. They have been separated for some six months due to Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) making a career move that left her New York cop husband with a backlog of criminals he had to attend to before making the move with her.

These are not very good terms to be meeting on, especially when Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his team of terrorists take over the building for their own personal mission. Usually terrorists have a set of demands but these guys know exactly what they want, over 600 million dollars locked away in the company vault.

What they don't want is a party pooper like John McClane who has managed to avoid detainment along with the other hostages. It is now up to him to foil the plan and make sure these cold blooded killers don't make it alive out of the building before he does.

  Video
Contract

Not the greatest of transfers in the world but still a fine effort from Fox. Being so used to sharpness, detail, color saturation, clean prints and quality compression of the reference material out there, it's no wonder something like this transfer gives off a dated look.

With it's release now over a decade ago, the transfer seems to hold up well. Given the dirt present on the print, it is obvious the transfer was taken from an inter-positive rather than the original negative. This makes a huge difference to the quality of the transfer.

I found the transfer a little dark for my liking. Not deep black but rather the mid-tones were less prominent than I'm used to. Shadow detail is lacking because of this which is a shame as some scenes were calling out for more rendition.

Sharpness is also lacking at times and film grain is present in various scenes. Aliasing is another major problem here and even though it's minimal in content, it's high on obviousness.

In general, the transfer is pretty good considering. I'd say it's a few steps better than it's region 1 cousin which is good since after seeing the region 1 disc, I resigned myself to just borrowing it off a friend rather than purchasing it for myself. This disc however is welcome on my dvd shelf.

  Audio
Contract

There's something wrong here. I felt like I was listening to two soundtracks - one being a muffled dialogue track and the other being a louder effects soundtrack. This is a 5.1 remaster and it shows that only effects were added rather then the whole film being redone from scratch.

As mentioned, dialogue seems to be recorded from a worn out tape recorder rather than expensive Hollywood DAT equipment. It felt like the foley work wasn't even performed at all. Even though the digital format brought out some lines that I never noticed before, it also distorted some that I new very well.

Surround effects were minimally effective to say the least. The opening scene we see a plane fly overhead yet the sound emminates from left rear. I felt the bass was lacking aswell.

I really do think there is a problem with this soundtrack. I'll have to check out the region 1 disc for comparison.

  Extras
Contract

We are presented with some nice looking and sounding menus along with a theatrical trailer and your standard promotional featurette. You basic of basics.

  Overall  
Contract

This movie ushered in a new era of action movies, bringing a human quality to the plethora of unbelieavable situations in previous incarnations whereby one man takes on an army himself.

There is the usual suspension of disbelief but if you really want to, anything in here is one the edge of believable. A great action movie to start of this great trilogy.


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