- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Cut Only), French & Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: AB (No Region C)
- Rating: R (Theatrical Cut)/Unrated (Extended Cut)
- Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
- Digital Copies: iTunes & UltraViolet
- Run Time: 98 Mins.
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- Blu-ray Release Date: June 4, 2013
- List Price: $39.99
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(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Disc and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.
What an aptly named franchise Die Hard turned out to be. Beginning in 1988, the Bruce Willis action-thriller vehicle seems to never want to quit. Now, Willis steps into the role a fifth time as New York City lawman McClane for A Good Day to Die Hard, but the series may be showing its grey as much as the fuzz on top of Willis’ head. Despite what is a thrilling, yet admittedly overdone, opening car chase sequence involving three cars, and Willis switching from a truck to an SUV and driving over the top of parked cars and traffic while chasing down an armored vehicle all without hitting any pedestrians (how do they always accomplish this in Hollywood movies?) A Good Day to Die Hard falls flat.
In this fifth outing, John McClane travels to Russia to save his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney), whom he believes has been arrested on drug charges. Upon his arrival, however, he finds that Jack is actually an undercover CIA operative working to rescue Russian whistleblower Komarov (Sebastian Koch) who has information connected to the Chernobyl disaster and weapons grade uranium that some really bad people will stop at nothing to keep from getting out. Cue the fantastic car cases, gunplay, and less than believable conspiracies and you have A Good Day to Die Hard, in a nutshell.
What the filmmakers here miss, director John Moore in particular, is the sense of humor and intimacy that made the first couple of entries in this franchise so fun to watch. Opting instead for the generic Hollywood big budget approach to throwing up every explosion and car crash on the screen and seeing what sticks, and giving the obviously aged Willis a superhuman ability to keep up with his much younger counterparts, Moore has lost that chemistry along the way. He also inundates us with far too many clumsy, angst-ridden scenes of father and son attempting to work out their issues, often resulting in father, McClane, simply giving son, Jack, a verbal lashing, and then doing his job for him. In the current parlance, WTF?
By the time we wade knee deep into the weeds of the Chernobyl conspiracy, things have gone so far astray from sense and sensibility in this one, you’ll be longing for the ridiculousness of that opening car chase again. After this yawner, it may be time for Willis to think about hanging up his McClane hat, or perhaps for the studio to find better writers, directors, or co-stars for him. Jai Courtney is so much like a cardboard cutout here that he just makes Willis come off like an old grump, which isn’t good cinema. This reminds me of those spoofs where we see “Die Hard 28” posters or something such in the background. Let’s hope if they do make it that far, they at least aren’t rolling out Willis in a wheelchair alongside Justin Bieber.
Originally shot on 35mm (Fuji Eterna 400T 8583) Super 35 format, and arriving on Blu-ray in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Fox, A Good Day to Die Hard really pushes the format for that gritty look. It works for this sort of action film, often yielding a highly textured appearance on extreme close-ups and extended detail well into backgrounds, but it can break down a bit and become a little soft and diffuse. Despite that, this is a strong effort, with beautifully nuanced shadow detail, spot on flesh tones, and no issues with processing or compression anomalies.
This lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack will give your sound system a solid workout, just as you’d expect a Die Hard film to, good or bad. From the opening car chase to end, this one will engulf you in sonic booms, flying bullets, and roaring engines that whiz, bump, and pop from every angle, and do it with a great amount of heft in the low range without losing the dialogue along the way.
A big package of production featurettes is included here, including looks at pre-visualizations, visual effects sequences, and an hour-long making of. They’re worth going through for die hard Die Hard fans, no pun intended.
- iTunes and UltraViolet Digital Copy
- Commentary by John Moore and first assistant director Mark Cotone (Extended Cut Only)
- Deleted Scenes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:14:28)
- Making it Hard to Die (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 01:00:22)
- Anatomy of a Car Chase (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:26:12)
- Two of a Kind (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:00)
- Back in Action (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:06)
- The New Face of Evil (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:57)
- Pre-Vis (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:11:36)
- VFX Sequences (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:35)
- Storyboards (1080p/24; 00:07:12)
- Concept Art Gallery (1080p/24; 00:10:47)
- Theatrical Trailers (1080p/24; 00:03:30)
- Maximum McClane (1080p/24; 00:03:16)
The Definitive Word
One of the most disappointing entries in this once invigorating action franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard should take the advice of its title, and, well, you know, just keel over already if it’s going to keep putting out snoozefests like this.
Additional Screen Captures