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Movie Renter's Guide Number 153 - December, 2007 - Part II

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"Die Hard Collection"  (Blu-ray)

Die Hard CollectionSynopsis
The entire franchise comes to life in high definition with this box set. Watch John McClane go through hell and back in Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Die Hard with a Vengence, and Live Free or Die Hard.

Specifications

    • 20th Century Fox
      1988/1990/1995/2007
      Color, Rated R/PG-13(DH4)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • 1080p
    • English DTS-HD MA 5.1
    • English/French/Spanish DD 5.1
    • Directed by Various
    • Starring Bruce Willis
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Strong
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: Strong

Commentary

I've always been a fan of this series and I was elated to see Fox release all four films for the holidays. What could possibly be a better present or stocking stuffer! Each film brings fun to the table and even the weakest one is better than most of the action films delivered these days. Kudos to Fox for releasing this set this early in the format.

Technical

As expected each film delivers a slightly different visual experience. Since the series started nearly twenty years ago (yes, it has been that long) the quality of each transfer differs. Die Hard looks a lot like the D-Theater release. Detail is better than the DVD by a long shot, but this is still a slightly softer looking film by today's standards. There is also some stylization that adds a bit of lens styling to it. Colors are somewhat muted, but certainly not distracting. Fans of the film will probably be quite pleased with realistic expectations.

The second film is probably the weakest in my opinion. Not to say that it doesn't look good, but I thought it could look a bit better. Detail isn't as impressive given the material as the first one and doesn't hold a candle to the follow ups. Thankfully there is no compression or ringing thought.

The third film looks substantially better than the first two and more in line with what we've been seeing from most of the newer titles out there. Fine object detail is excellent and depth of image is great. This was a horrible looking DVD so the differences from there are enormous and well worth the step up.

I've already reviewed the fourth film and this is the same, a reference transfer.

Audio is also a bit varied throughout. Obviously sound production has improved quite a bit over the years and you get a real sense of that throughout these discs. Still dynamics weren't bad, even with the first film. The biggest variance was probably with the dialogue, which was a bit thin in the earlier films. Surrounds are used aggressively in all of the films and each fills the room nicely. The second film is the only real issue here. It is not properly encoded. For one, it is not a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack as advertised, and it would not play correctly on the players I had on hand. I could overcome this on some by switching to bitstream but others had to decode internally. Hopefully Fox will look into it and remedy the situation at some point. The highlight of the set is the fourth film, which is one of the best soundtracks I've heard this year.

Extras

Rather than releasing bare bones editions of each film to compliment the the day and date fourth film, Fox has actually added some nice supplements to each film. All include feature commentaries and you will find a nice selection of production features, interviews, deleted scenes, extended scenes, TV promos, trailers and more. Nice to see a studio take notice of the films that built a franchise rather than just including them in the mix.