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A Good Day to Die Hard

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • A Good Day to Die Hard disappoints with cliches and weak villains, but shines in Blu-ray extras and action scenes.

    A Good Day to Die Hard Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • A Good Day to Die Hard's gritty, distinct visual style shines in its Blu-ray release with a stable, cinematic grain and vivid details despite a restrained palette, receiving admiration for its unique, high-definition quality.

  • Audio
  • Incredible DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks in latest Die Hard, with detailed, immersive action scenes and Beltrami's score; dialogue clear amidst intense, directional audio effects.

  • Extra
  • In-depth examination of action-packed filmmaking, covering everything from stunts, VFX, and behind-the-scenes insights to character dynamics and iconic scenes, highlighting the detailed work behind the scenes.

  • Movie
  • A Good Day to Die Hard falls short, lacking heart and the franchise's signature charm; Willis seems disengaged, the villains underwhelming, and despite some thrilling moments, it feels like a shadow of its predecessors.

    Video: 77

    The Blu-ray presentation of "A Good Day to Die Hard" showcases a distinct and gritty visual aesthetic that marks a departure from the earlier, more polished entries in the franchise. This fifth installment displays the film in its original 1:85:1 aspect ratio with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode, bringing out a unique cinematic quality that is both rough and appealing. The footage, shot on 35mm film stock, introduces a heavy grain texture that, while reducing sharpness in some instances, enhances the overall organic feel of the movie without compromising on detail—especially in close-ups where textures and fine lines exhibit remarkable clarity. This intentional visual style, enriched with a thick layer of grain, not only adds depth to the action sequences but also complements the film's tonal choices, ranging from the typical action movie orange/blue palette to more unconventional sickly greens and near-neons.

    The video quality benefits greatly from the absence of digital noise reduction (DNR) or edge enhancement, maintaining an organic and palpable texture throughout. Contrast is described as tight and punchy, avoiding issues with overpowering shadows or excessively bright highlights, ensuring that every frame portrays the intended visual narrative. The color grading tends towards a subdued, almost dreary appearance, yet maintains accurate and nicely saturated primaries alongside natural, revealing facial complexions. Despite the film's occasionally bleak cinematography, shadow details are outstanding, particularly in the nighttime finale at Chernobyl, allowing for a clear appreciation of the chaotic backdrops and intricate costume detailing.

    In terms of resolution and clarity, despite the pervasive grain, scenes set in bustling Moscow streets or chaotic action sequences reveal an impressive level of detail. From the bricks lining buildings to the aftermath of explosive encounters, the image resolution remains sharp, making every piece of debris, stitch on costumes, and crack in the sidewalk distinctly visible. Black levels are spot-on, contributing to the deep immersion into the film's environments. Overall, while the visual approach of "A Good Day to Die Hard" on Blu-ray may diverge from what fans might expect from a 'Die Hard' movie, it offers a near-reference experience that marries precision in detail with a stylistic, grainy presentation that fans and cinema purists alike can appreciate.

    Audio: 82

    The audio presentation for "A Good Day to Die Hard" on Blu Ray embodies an exemplar of modern action movie sound design, elevating the viewing experience to phenomenal heights with its DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track. This auditory masterpiece captivates with its razor-sharp clarity and impressive dynamics that ensure a full-bodied sound, encompassing hefty bass that grounds the explosive action, while maintaining rounded mids and crisply bright highs. Immersion is crafted to near perfection, mirroring the theatrical mix's utilization of Dolby Atmos for unparalleled directionality. The soundscape is rich and engaging; gunshots resonate with startling authenticity, helicopters transition smoothly across the soundfield, and vehicular chaos is rendered with such precision that it places the listener right in the midst of Moscow's mayhem. Marco Beltrami's score, a blend of classic Die Hard motifs and a fresh take on strings, complements the on-screen action, ensuring that even amidst intense sequences, dialogue remains effortlessly clear.

    From the initial notes of Beltrami's score to the last echoes of destruction, the audio mix is a relentless force of auditory precision. The front soundstage boasts flawless panning, where the seamless transition of sounds across channels enhances the realism of every scene. Quieter moments are not overlooked, as discrete effects extend the soundfield, adding depth to the quieter moments without sacrificing dialogue clarity. When the action intensifies, particularly during the movie’s spectacular car chase, the soundfield envelops the viewer in a cocoon of edge-of-your-seat excitement. Bullets, helicopters, and the chaotic cacophony of crashing cars are rendered with stunning realism. The mid-range exudes crystal-clear detail, ensuring every sound, from the minutiae of debris to the harrowing screech of bending metal, is captured with precision. Moreover, the commanding low end showcases a subwoofer-pushing array of ultra-low frequencies that ensures every explosion is not just heard but felt, pushing the boundaries of home theater systems.

    This DTS-HD Master Audio track is a meticulously crafted piece that stands out as a towering achievement in high-resolution audio mixes for film. It brilliantly balances intense action sequences with quieter moments in a clear, dynamic showcase that tests and rewards a properly equipped home theater setup. Dialogue clarity, directional effects, and a palpably aggressive low-end come together in a harmonious blend that makes "A Good Day to Die Hard" audibly mesmerizing. For enthusiasts looking to challenge their sound systems and dive deep into an auditory spectacle, this Blu Ray's audio segment is undeniably authoritative and one of the year’s most outstanding presentations.

    Extra: 69

    The Blu-ray extras for "A Good Day to Die Hard" offer a rich, in-depth look at the making of this action-packed movie, with a special focus on its technical and logistical aspects. Highlights include a detailed commentary by Director John Moore and first assistant director Mark Cotone, providing insights into the challenges of creating high-octane action within an established franchise. The "Making It Hard To Die" documentary, spanning a full hour, dives into every facet of production, from stunts to special effects, and even includes perspectives from often-overlooked crew members like boom operators. The "Anatomy of a Car Chase" featurette is particularly noteworthy for action enthusiasts, breaking down the Moscow car chase's complexity. Additional content such as deleted scenes, pre-visualization sequences, and a gallery of concept art enriches the understanding of the film's creative process, making this a comprehensive package for fans and cinephiles alike.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentary: Director John Moore and First Assistant Director Mark Cotone discuss the film's production.

    Deleted Scenes: Includes seven scenes not seen in the final cut.

    Making It Hard To Die: Comprehensive documentary covering all production stages.

    Anatomy of a Car Chase: Breakdown of the film's extensive car chase sequence.

    Two of a Kind: Exploration of the father/son dynamic within the film.

    Back in Action: Featurette on Bruce Willis's return as John McClane.

    The New Face of Evil: A look at the portrayal of the film's villains.

    Pre-Vis: CG animatics for key sequences.

    VFX Sequences: Compilation of visual effects work.

    Storyboards: Storyboard sequences for pivotal scenes.

    Concept Art Gallery: Collection of preliminary artwork.

    Theatrical Trailers: Promotional materials for the film.

    Movie: 54

    A Good Day to Die Hard: A Mere Shadow of Its Former Glory

    The fifth installment of the iconic Die Hard series, "A Good Day to Die Hard," attempts to deliver the high-octane action and witticisms that fans have come to expect but falls noticeably short. The movie's essence, which has been synonymous with gripping action scenes, a charismatic Bruce Willis as John McClane, and memorable villains, seems lost in translation under John Moore's direction. Unlike its predecessors, this entry adopts a generic action template, heavily incorporating elements reminiscent of Bourne and Bond films without mastering either. The shift to a more formulaic approach strips the film of the unique Die Hard personality, leaving a void where the franchise's distinct charm and spirit once thrived.

    This chapter seeks to explore the familial dynamics between John McClane and his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), set against the backdrop of Moscow's political turmoil. While the father-son conflict introduces a new layer to McClane's character, the execution feels perfunctory, failing to delve into any meaningful emotional territory. Instead, the narrative gets bogged down in convoluted plotlines involving corrupt Russian officials and nuclear threats, none of which manage to captivate or feel particularly fresh. The villains are especially lackluster, devoid of the alarming presence and intellectual prowess that defined McClane's adversaries in the past. This culmination of shortcomings is further exacerbated by Bruce Willis's performance, which, although earnest, appears fatigued and lacks the vibrancy that once defined his portrayal of the tough-as-nails detective.

    Despite these narrative and character misfires, "A Good Day to Die Hard" does manage moments of brilliance in its action sequences—most notably a chaotic car chase through Moscow that momentarily recaptures the series' exhilarating sense of danger. However, these glimpses of excellence are rare and not enough to sustain the film's momentum. The Blu-ray release offers both theatrical and extended cuts, with minor adjustments that do little to address the fundamental issues plaguing the film. Fans might find solace in these technically well-executed scenes, but they ultimately serve as reminders of what could have been, had the movie not veered so far from the essence of Die Hard.

    Total: 67

    Despite following the much-appreciated "Live Free or Die Hard," the fifth installment, "A Good Day to Die Hard," falls significantly short of expectations, presenting a dreary concoction of standard action tropes. The villains lack depth and memorability, contributing little to a narrative that seems nothing more than an interconnected chain of unremarkable events. Bruce Willis’s portrayal of John McClane appears unenthusiastic, bordering on lethargic, stripping away the character's iconic resilience and reducing the film to mere flashes of its former vibrancy. Although there are glimpses of high-octane action—primarily car chases and shootouts—these instances seem disjointed, lacking the suspense and cohesiveness one anticipates from a "Die Hard" film. Despite its action-packed façade, "A Good Day to Die Hard" serves as a lackluster addition to the franchise.

    From a technical viewpoint, the Blu-ray release shines where the narrative falters. 20th Century Fox has compiled an impressive package, featuring an exhaustive making-of documentary, engaging audio commentary, and a suite of featurettes that may appeal to series enthusiasts or collectors aiming to complete their set. The visual and audio quality is robust and commendable, with a tough, gritty picture and lossless audio that beautifully encapsulates the film’s few explosive moments. This reference-quality presentation momentarily elevates the overall experience, hinting at what could have been had the film’s story and characters received the same level of attention and dedication.

    In conclusion, while "A Good Day to Die Hard" disappoints on a narrative front, falling prey to clichés and a lackluster villain roster, its Blu-ray release stands out for its technical merits. The comprehensive special features and superior audio-visual quality provide some solace, making it a worthwhile consideration for die-hard fans of the franchise or collectors. However, as an independent entity divorced from its physical presentation, the film struggles to live up to the storied legacy of its predecessors, marking an unfortunate low in the Die Hard saga.