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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 65:20)
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
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  • Theatrical trailer

Courage Under Fire

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 111 mins . M . PAL


Using the gulf war as a backdrop for a movie is always going to be hard. If you're making a fictional movie such as Courge Under Fire you can take a few liberties in the process as was done with Three Kings. This time around it's not about the war but rather whether someones actions during the war should be commended or condemned.

Colonel Serling (Denzel Washington) has just returned from his stint in the gulf war where he accidently shot at his own tank and killed the men onboard. Not able to live with this act, he is asked to look into the bacakground of one Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan) who is to be awarded the Medal of Honor for her heroic sacrificial act during the war where she saved a group of men from certain death at the hands of the Iraqi.

Colonel Serling finds out more than he intended to and soon begins an investigation to see if Captain Walden truly deserves the medal. On his journey he comes across the soldiers who were saved and receives conflicting reports about her actions.

A buff Lou Diamond Phillips and an anorexic Matt Damon complete the ensemble cast to produce a great drama/action movie depicting life in the army after a major war.


Welcome to the premiere transfer from Fox to date. After there previous 'very' mediocre transfer batch of releases, they've out-done themselves with this one and come very close to taking the title of best video transfer in region 4.

Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, we are treated to encore after encore of exemplary video. This pristinely clean transfer is produced with maximum quality and minimum defects. The sharpness is impressively high and you would assume that aliasing and shimmering would be a side-effect yet I was pleasantly surprised of how minimal it was.

Black level was superb and shadow detail in the night scenes was spot on. Add in some rich color saturation and you've got some very detailed shots that provide a vivid depiction of war in the dark during the opening scenes. Greens and reds are vibrant as they light up dark rooms.

At times the image looks three dimensional and if a transfer can do this you know that there is immense detail in the image. Not detail in that you can see everything, detail in that the transfer truly captures the film look so that foreground objects are clearly distinguished from the background.


To compliment the video we have an excellent 5.1 soundtrack. What makes this soundtrack are the flashback scenes and how they are incorporated into the sedate dialogue scenes. You literally are forced to pay attention as the stillness of the movie is broken up by the war scenes.

On the dialogue side of the movie, everything is clear and intelligible which provides an easy path to understanding the movie. During these scenes, the atmosphere is nicely represented throughout all 5 speakers with constant ambience and activity.

On the action side of things, you'll appreciate the full frequency soundtrack coming at you from all directions and tapering off in the oppisite direction. Bass response is long and deep at times and if you're listening to this movie at reference levels, be prepared to scare yourself at times when the sound comes out of nowhere.

The problem with the soundtrack is the accompanying musical score by James Horner. If you've bought the CD soundtrack to Titanic then you'd be forgiven for thinking you were actually listening to Titanic when watching this movie as it is almost the identical score here. I know of composers using sequences of their scores in other films (John WIlliams for instance) but this is almost plagarism of his own work but given this was released prior to Titanic it is even more remarkable that he used it with the big boat.


Here's the weakness on this disc. You are only given a theatrical trailer but are at least blessed with anamorphic crisp menus.


Courage under Fire is an excellent military drama that goes to great lengths to depict the army code and how it is used to uphold the image that people expect. Even though it is the US Army, the truth cannot hide forever.

This is a gripping story that provides dvd lovers with everything they desire, barring the lack of extras. A good movie with a great transfer.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=276
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      And I quote...
    - Steve Koukoulas
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-505 Gold
    • TV:
          Hitachi CMT2979 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS777 THX Select
    • Speakers:
          Peterson Labs 100Watts
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sherwood SC-60E
    • Surrounds:
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    • Audio Cables:
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    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
      Recent Reviews:
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