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A Good Day to Die Hard (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
700
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
95





Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2013
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Rasha Bukvic, Cole Hauser
Directed by: John Moore
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Written by: Skip Woods
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 4, 2013







"Like father. Like Son. Like Hell!"


Film Synopsis:

Bruce Willis is back in action — mind-blowing, heart-stopping, rip-roaring action — as John McClane, the heroic New York cop with a knack for being in the wrong place at the right time. John’s latest predicament takes him all the way to Russia to track down his estranged son, Jack
(Jai Courtney), who has been imprisoned in Moscow. But the mission takes a deadly turn as father and son must join forces to thwart a nuclear weapons heist that could trigger World War III!


My Take:

I am most definitely a fan of the Die Hard film series and looked forward to checking out A good day to die hard. Unfortunately the early feedback that I got didn’t inspire me to check it out during its theatrical run so I waited for it to come to home video. As action film fans we all understand that compromises have to be made in the area of plausibility especially when it comes to our man John McClane and I can live with that. Over the past four installments we have seen McClane survive insurmountable odds to the tune of decently drafted scripts, well chosen evildoers and of course lots of ostentatious action.

As much as I wanted to like A good day to die hard I found myself disenchanted almost right from the start. It became clear early in the first act that there was going to be little to no plot. Maybe you can overlook that if the goal is to adhere to that however this story makes attempts to draw us into the dysfunctional familial affairs of father and son but supplies zero foundation. When the pair are thrown together in Russia it becomes a constant source of embittered exchanges that seem to have little basis let alone the ability to make the audience care.

There is a paper thin setup that quickly devolves into a series of gratuitous over the top action based set pieces that not only seriously push the envelope but are underscored by incessant blather, mostly from Willis, who has traded in his sharp wit for nonsensical one-liners and chastising fatherly remarks. I found there to be a noticeably lacking sense of adventure which is exacerbated by the poorly constructed script leaving the characters, outside of John McClane, as faceless marionettes. It just felt shallow and cheap which is something the Die Hard films have never suffered from.

A good day to die hard certainly isn’t the worst action flick to come down the pike and predominantly comes up so short when compared to its predecessors. Looking at it strictly as a standalone popcorn affair that asks nothing from the audience the crazy stunt work, heavy handed action and ham fisted narrative could make it passable for less demanding genre fans. Personally I find it to be the weakest entry in the storied franchise and far from a befitting send off. Will there be another? Who knows but if there is, let’s hope for something much closer to the mark.

Both the theatrical version and an extended cut (which adds nothing of substance) are included.


Parental Guide:

The film contains action violence and language.



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.**


Audio: 100

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 90

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692


A good day to die hard comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 5.1 Mbps.

This film utilizes a stylized visual design that has a limited color scheme that works well for the subject matter. The chromatic range is limited to shades of dark blue, gray, and black set against a color graded aesthetic that leans toward blue. Warm golden accents are used to break up the film’s monochromatic essence. Uneven light and shading are prevalent. Contrast is spot on which empowers whites and grays without washing away detail. Whites are snappy and crisp and grays are multi-staged and layered. The film was largely shot against green screens which softened some of the background elements during wide angle pans but I never found it to be excessive or distracting. Overall I found the quality of the video to be high. It isn’t always razor sharp but it is cleanly rendered with plenty of subtle refinement that increases the perception of fine detail. Blacks are dynamic and gradationally revealing and shadow detail is just as strong. I found myself enamored by the film’s deep grays, and rich contrast. Framed at 1.85:1 its filmic image looks terrific on my large screen. I didn’t note any deleterious signs of video related artifacts or compression noise.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack offers extended dynamic range, stimulating surround sound and potent low frequency effects. The sound field is broad with definable clarity and high level detail that definitively reproduces dialogue and sound effects. The surround mix is an aggressive one that fills the listening area with deep, punctuated bass, and dazzling sound effects that revolve around the soundstage. Panning effects are seamlessly integrated with excellent near field spacing and immersive envelopment. I was most impressed with the transference of explosions, hand held weapon fire and heavy armaments to the room. The various segments including the extended vehicle chase, gunship, and the attack on the safe house utilized the entire system to dynamically invigorate the experience, via engaging surround sound and bursts of powerful, palpably rich bass that sounded awesome. Turn this one up to full throttle and enjoy the ride.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) 7 deleted scenes

  • (HD) Making it hard to die (15 segments can be viewed together or independently) – 60 minute making of documentary

  • (HD) Anatomy of a car chase – 26 minute featurette

  • (HD) Two of a kind – 8 minute featurette

  • (HD) Back in action – 7 minute featurette

  • (HD) The new face of evil – 7 minute featurette

  • (HD) Pre-visualizations (3 sequences)

  • (HD) 16 VFX sequence breakdowns

  • (HD) 5 storyboards

  • (HD) Concept art gallery

  • (HD) 2 Theatrical trailers

  • Audio commentary with director John Moore & first assistant director Mark Cotone

  • (HD) Maximum McClane – Video montage of some of John McClanes best moments/quips

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

As the fifth installment in the popular Die hard film franchise A good day to die hard leaves something to be desired especially when compared to its predecessors. Looking at it strictly as a standalone popcorn flick that asks nothing from the audience the crazy stunt work, heavy handed action and ham fisted narrative could make it passable for less demanding genre fans. It makes its debut on Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in a well rounded package that features excellent high definition video, a rockin’ 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and a solid supplemental offering that provides fans with over two hours of content that is worth exploring. As a fan and home theater enthusiast I have to add it to my collection. For those that may be less inclined I would recommend a rental before buying. Either way the presentation alone makes for a cracking good time for those that like to show off their audio/video systems.





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 22
Thanks for reviewing it, Ralph! smile.gif

I was going to pass on this one but after reading your review will be making a purchase as soon as the price has dropped a bit. That audio score has perked my interest...
post #3 of 22
I was going with a rental on this one but that perfect 100 audio score is hard to ignore. I'm on the fence again biggrin.gif
Thanks for the review!
post #4 of 22
Rented this last week and Fully agree on your technical scores! The AQ was off the charts cool!!!biggrin.gif Fantastic clarity and surround field and some of the tightest lowest bass I have ever experienced. My big SVS had a great workout.
PQ was good, movie well 21/2 stars is being charitable;) But certainly not the worst action flick I have seen.
cheers
post #5 of 22
Looking forward to being able to watch this one. Thanks for the review. Now, to rent or buy. I think I'll rent because of the bad storyline I'm hearing about. I'll buy it when it's cheap.
post #6 of 22
Great review Ralph. I agree with you on all accounts. It's worth a rental at least for the audio, but the story is pretty lackluster.
post #7 of 22
Thanks for the review. I had it in my rental list but now I'm promptly taking it off.
post #8 of 22
I guess I'm the odd man out, but I was pretty disappointed with this film. The technical aspects were great, but the whole film experience borders on the ridiculous at this point. I'm imagining Michael Bay directing the next installment. Why have any story at all, just constantly escape death and blow sh..., er, stuff up. I guess my expectations were too high, but I think it's time for the Die Hard franchise to fade away.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zap Branigan View Post

I guess I'm the odd man out, but I was pretty disappointed with this film. The technical aspects were great, but the whole film experience borders on the ridiculous at this point. I'm imagining Michael Bay directing the next installment. Why have any story at all, just constantly escape death and blow sh..., er, stuff up. I guess my expectations were too high, but I think it's time for the Die Hard franchise to fade away.


Greetings,

Zap, you are far from the odd man out. We were all pretty disappointed...



Regards,
post #10 of 22
It sounds like a case of checking the boxes with little substance. Perhaps this installment is the equivalent of speed dating with the audience. It takes time to build a relationship.

There are recent movies where early on a sentence or two along with a glance is what qualifies as a backdrop for the proceedings as opposed to honest character development.
post #11 of 22
Received my copy yesterday but cannot watch until I receive my Marantz pre amp.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zap Branigan View Post

I guess I'm the odd man out, but I was pretty disappointed with this film. The technical aspects were great, but the whole film experience borders on the ridiculous at this point. I'm imagining Michael Bay directing the next installment. Why have any story at all, just constantly escape death and blow sh..., er, stuff up. I guess my expectations were too high, but I think it's time for the Die Hard franchise to fade away.

How about Christopher Nolan directing the next Die Hard film?
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

.... As action film fans we all understand that compromises have to be made in the area of plausibility especially when it comes to our man John McClane and I can live with that.

I can live with it too.wink.gif I was wondering when this movie was going to get reviewed. I have already watched it and I thought your ratings were 100% correct. Moreover, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, escapism. To me, its worth the purchase for the audio alone as it definitely has referenced bass qualities as well as referenced surround quality.cool.gif
post #14 of 22
Final Thoughts:
As a fan and home theater enthusiast I have to add it to my collection. For those that may be less inclined I would recommend a rental before buying. Either way the presentation alone makes for a cracking good time for those that like to show off their audio/video systems.

Y-e-s-s it does!! biggrin.gif
post #15 of 22
Im kinda glad I missed it in the theater, the movie itself was TERRIBLE and I grew up wit Die Hard and have watched the previous ones dozens of times. I found the sound way to *high*. I've had my Outlaw subs set at the same level for a few years and this movie pounded them so had that one of them was clipping and there was no reason for it other then they jacked the bass up way to high (probably to compensate for the poor movie). (maximum peak amplitude) I had to get up and turn the sub volume down.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic View Post

Looking forward to being able to watch this one. Thanks for the review. Now, to rent or buy. I think I'll rent because of the bad storyline I'm hearing about. I'll buy it when it's cheap.

For 13 buck's/free shipping I just order it. I have all the rest so what the heck.

ss
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post

For 13 buck's/free shipping I just order it. I have all the rest so what the heck.

ss

I agree at that price you can't go wrong
post #18 of 22
BDs that show 1.85:1 aspect ratios of wide screen movies ruin the movie experience, for me. I want to see all of the film just as it was shown in the theatre. I want the black bars on the top and bottom on my TV. I watch my wide screen movies in "Just" mode instead of 16:9 just to get a little bit more viewing area and angle.

I wouldn't mind 4:3 movies being shown in 1.78:1/16:9 mode so long as a slit prcess is used to adjust each scene such that minimal info is lost. It's something I wish Fox would do.

Have you watched "The Avengers" carefully and watched when it transitions to 2.35:1?

Watch the wide screen presentation of "Shall We Dance?" on DVD, and then compare to the 1.78 BD. The 1.78/1.85 version is too tight.

I really couldn't enjoy "A Good Day to Die Hard" in its 1.85 presentation. It just looked a litle too grainy, as if it was shot on inferior film stock. The whole Chernobyl scene ruined the movie - took me out of the film into reality. "Don't worry, it's only rain water." Really?

Just as we had problems watching 2.35 movies on 4:3 TVs, like "Grease", where dancing legs are cut off off screen, now we'e going in the same direction by magnifying 2.35 movies onto 1.78/1.85.

I felt contempt and anger watching "Shall We Dance?" at 1.85. I felt cheated watching "The Avengers" and I feel cheated watching "A Good Day to Die Hard." in 1.85. I just wish they had kept the 2.39 aspect ratio.
Edited by wallijonn - 6/14/13 at 2:54pm
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by wallijonn View Post

BDs that show 1.85:1 aspect ratios of wide screen movies ruin the movie experience, for me. I want to see all of the film just as it was shown in the theatre. I want the black bars on the top and bottom on my TV.

None of the films you mentioned are 2.39:1 aspect ratio films.

A Good Day to Die Hard was shot 1.85:1 not 2.39:1 so you're not missing anything. It was never any wider than what you see on the BD. There are black bars on the top and bottom when watching it back on a 1.78:1 screen. Slim black bars but they are there.

As for The Avengers, it too was shot 1.85:1 not 2.39.1. On BD it's 1.78:1, so no black bars at all but the difference between 1.85:1 and 1.78:1 on a 1.78:1 screen is negligible. Sure, you'll be missing a little bit of image but you'd be hard pressed to tell. Not like going from 2.39:1 to 1.78:1 at all.

And while I'ver never heard of Shall we Dance, all the info I can find indicates that it too was shot 1.85:1.
post #20 of 22
This is definitely the worst out of the lot of them. Great audio.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

This is definitely the worst out of the lot of them. Great audio.

Just watched it and that's pretty much the way I saw it. Other than the great audio, this movie had very little going for it.
post #22 of 22
What's up with the horizontal blue lens flare in the movie? Isn't that only filmed in 2.35 movies through special lens?
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