The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2013
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
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
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!
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.
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.**
(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:
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.
- (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
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.
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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