The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 1993
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 128 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 2:40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese (simplified & traditional), Dutch, Bahasa, Korean
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Rene Russo, John Malkovich, John Mahoney, Dylan McDermott, Gary Cole
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Written by: Jeff Maguire
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 1, 2008
A gripping, gut-wrenching thriller that delivers suspense in almost unbearable doses, IN THE LINE OF FIRE showcases Clint Eastwood at his finest. In a performance that won universal acclaim, Eastwoodstars as Frank Horrigan, a veteran Secret Service agent haunted by his failure to protect John F. Kennedy from assassination. Thirty years later, he gets a chance to redeem himself when a brilliant psychopath threatens to kill the current president and take Horrigan with him. Taunting him by phone and tantalizing him with clues, the assassin (John Malkovich) lures Horrigan into an electrifying battle of wits and will that only one man can survive.
Here is another film that I had never seen in its entirety prior to this review. I like Clint Eastwood as an actor and Director although I have never considered him to be a great actor. I had a little trouble at times seeing Clint as a charming potential love interest to Rene Russo. The scene where they end up together in her hotel room came across as awkward in my opinion. Clint has been in the game a long time and experience does pays off. He had a very strong moment in the scene where he and Russo are standing in the Presidential Suite and he tells her about the day that Kennedy was assassinated. Frank Horrigan is a fallible and sympathetic character who needs to save the day. Eastwood nailed that side of him in his portrayal. For me that was a reminder of why I like him as an actor. His grouchy, burnt out, tough guy demeanor was of course perfect. Malkovich is a wonderful actor and Booth/Mitch Leary is right up his alley. The balance between drama and suspense kept things moving along nicely. I liked the build up of tension in the film’s last act and appreciated the performances by the cast. In The Line of Fire is not a movie that rates as a classic but it is a quality film with good entertainment value.
Parental Guide:The rating is for violence, language and sensuality. The language is definitely the reason for the Restricted rating.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
In The Line Of Fire come to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio that has an average bitrate of 1.4 mbps.
Sony has consistently released very good looking high definition video on their Blu-ray catalog titles. Not having seen this movie on video before I have no frame of reference. It was clear from the film’s opening moments that it lacked the vibrancy, razor sharpness and “pop” that we are all accustomed to seeing with the better high definition video from Blu-ray Disc. Images were less clearly defined and resolute although there were many times where definition improved so that detail was better resolved. I found this inconsistency was present throughout and distracting. I am not convinced that it is a resolution related issue but suspect that it is inherent. The exterior sequences shot at night looked quite good and exhibited ample detail and dimensionality. Interior scenes such as those in the barroom, Booth/Leary’s hotel rooms and Frank’s apartment didn’t display the same level of depth. Detail within backgrounds was not distinct which made those shots appear less dimensional and dark. Colors appeared natural overall but not especially vibrant or eye catching. Occasionally reds took on an orange cast however the de-saturated color palette made this less noticeable. Flesh tones were on the bland side but had enough variation and texture to keep them from looking anomalous. Grain was present but appeared well preserved. I didn’t notice any compression related issues or artifacts. My impression was that this video presentation is certainly an upgrade over any previous home video release of this film.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The front three channels were used primarily to deliver the dialogue and the bulk of the sounds contained within the mix. Across the front the soundstage was well balanced with good separation and imaging. Voices sounded sharply defined and tonally divergent. Gun shots had plenty of dynamic impact and the various sounds and effects came through with distinguishable character. The surrounds were used effectively to produce sound effects and accentuate the music score. Sounds effects came in the form of front to rear and rear to front pans and atmosphere creating spatial cues. I thought that the volume level of the surrounds were a bit too high at times. On occasion this made sounds passing from the front of the room to the rear and vice versa appear less seamless. Low frequency detail was present and put to good use in tandem with the music score to emphasize the film’s suspenseful moments. I felt that this TrueHD sound mix was a perfect mate to the source material.
The bonus supplements provided here are the same ones contained on the 2001 DVD SE release. They are comprised primarily of two documentaries totaling just over 40 minutes and two short features that are just under ten minutes combined. The two documentaries contain a mixture of information on the Secret Service and its use in the film. They both feature interviews with the film’s Secret Service Technical Advisor, Bob Snow as well as members of the cast, Director, Secret Service Agents and film Production staff. The short feature “How’d they do that” looks at how several sequences in the movie were shot using blue screens to overlay members of the cast on to real live video footage of Presidential campaign speeches etc. The last piece is a 5 minute look at how the Secret Service investigates counterfeiting cases. A Director’s commentary and 5 deleted scenes rounds things out. I thought that the two documentaries were quite good although they seemed to contain some the same material. The remainder of the content was not particularly entertaining in my opinion.
- Director Commentary with Wolfgang Petersen
- Showtime Special: Behind the scenes with the Secret Service
- How’d they do that: Featurette
- Catching the counterfeiters: Featurette
- The ultimate sacrifice: Documentary
- Deleted scenes
In the line of fire is a good film that is really about a man attempting to redeem himself almost at all costs, based upon an event that was probably beyond his control to begin with. It looks at a painful event in our nations history which is always interesting topic for discussion. I enjoyed the performances by the cast and thought the writing and direction were just as good. Sony has brought this catalog release to Blu-ray featuring audio and video that while not perfect, is sure to be an improvement over any previous version available on home video.
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Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
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Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Outlaw Audio Model 7700 seven channel amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package