The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 124 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Harrison ford, Wendy Crewson, Gary Oldman, William H. Macy, Paul Guilfoyle, Dean Stockwell, Glenn Close, Leisel Matthews, Bill Smitrovich, Xander Berkley
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Written by: Andrew W. Marlowe
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 2, 2009
"Get off my plane!"
The fate of the nation rests on the courage of one man. Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman star in two-time Oscar(r) nominee Wolfgang Petersen's gripping thriller about an uncompromising U.S. President who has just told the world he will not negotiate with terrorists. When Russian neo-nationalists hijack Air Force One, the world's most secure and extraordinary aircraft, the President is faced with a nearly impossible decision to give in to terrorist demands or sacrifice not only the country's dignity, but the lives of his wife and daughter.
Air Force One needs no introduction. It is an entertaining and exhilarating action thriller that is capably helmed by award winning director Wolfgang Petersen. Its story maintains an excellent balance that features plenty of action, suspense, intelligent writing, and character development that is built around a solid cast. At just over two hours it runs a bit long however its fervent pacing keeps interest high as the story carefully draws you in and doesn’t let go until the end. I own the Superbit DVD and enjoy revisiting it from time to time. When I saw it was announced for release on Blu-ray I eagerly awaited it. I am happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed with its presentation (read below) but unfortunately the lack of bonus features continues. Regardless this disc has found a home in my collection.
The rating is for violence.
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:
Air Force One comes to Blu-ray Disc from Columbia Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 2 mbps.
Having owned the Superbit DVD I was curious to see what this film would look like in high definition. This presentation has similar attributes in terms of the rendition of color, flesh tones, and grain. Colors are satisfying, with vibrant reds and well balanced secondary hues that appear natural. Fleshtones are on the warm side with light, golden complexions that have rosy highlights. Grain is naturally rendered and is consistently conveyed in moderate even layers over the course of the presentation. Where I noted a discernible improvement is in black levels and overall depth/delineation. Detail is in the faces, hair and clothing of the cast is overtly distinguishable. Objects within backgrounds have definitive lines and apparent texture that offers good dimensional perspective during wide angle camera pans. Blacks are solid, with excellent dynamic range and well balanced contrast. Dark scenes have perceptible depth of field with visible gradational structure in low lit backgrounds. I noticed a few edge enhanced lines here and there but nothing that infringed upon fidelity. This presentation easily bests the Superbit DVD and offers fans a chance to see this film looking better than ever on home video.
The original lossy Dolby/DTS soundtracks on the SB DVD always sounded great. Like the video presentation this lossless audio mix has similar attributes but offers an improved experience. First and foremost Jerry Goldsmith’s rousing music score has never sounded better. The orchestrated elements sound smooth, refined and dynamically strong as they are presented through the front three channels with excellent channel separation and stereo imaging. The surrounds carry ambient extension that gives the music a full bodied and more immersive quality that is enriching. The bass drum carries hearty and palpable impact as its thunderous strikes resonate deep within the room. This film has an active surround mix that makes frequent use of the entire platform. There are a plethora of panning effects that use the sidewalls and rear of the room to convey flybys, flyovers and side to side near field effects. The initial siege that takes place aboard the plane can be aggressive as gun fire erupts and emanates from multiple directions. The effect submerges the listening position as the halo of machine gun fire, falling brass casings and screams from the frightened passengers and terrorists fills the room. Dynamic range is quite good which provides the action based elements and music with tangible energy and concussive impact. Dialogue is intelligible, with crystal clear intonation and good room penetration. Similar to the DVD the audio mixed to the surrounds has prominent presence that borders on being a bit forward. Front and rear channel balance is maintained which keep pans tightly focused and on point. Like the video I found this to be an improvement over the DVD. The overall experience was lots of fun and as engaging as ever.
- Director commentary
Air Force One is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. It’s a bit corny and requires some imagination but if you simple sit back and enjoy the ride it’s a blast. This is another strong catalog title release on Blu-ray Disc from Sony. It offers excellent audio/video quality that finds it looking better than ever. If you’re a fan this is a worthy upgrade over any previous home video version. Enjoy!
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