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Die Hard Collection(1988-2007)
Bruce Willis stars as John McClane, a New York City police detective in a series of action films where he finds himself fighting a group of terrorists in each installment. See individual titles for their specific synopses. Box set has all 4 films in the series, although a fifth installment is in the works for a 2013 release (A Good Day to Die Hard).
For more about Die Hard Collection and the Die Hard Collection Blu-ray release, see Die Hard Collection Blu-ray Review published by PeteR on December 3, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Directors: John McTiernan, Renny Harlin, Len Wiseman (I)
Writers: Steven E. de Souza, Jonathan Hensleigh, Mark Bomback, Jeb Stuart (I), Doug Richardson, David Marconi
Starring: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, William Atherton, Anthony Peck, David Katz (I)
This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Die Hard Collection Blu-ray Review
"Oh, yes. What was it you said to me before?" - Hans Gruber
Reviewed by PeteR, December 3, 2007
The format of this review will be a little different from the others, since it's a set.
New York Police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) has been invited to his estranged wife Holly's (Bonnie Bedeilia) Christmas Eve party at Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. The party is crashed by a team of terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) who hold Holly and 30 others hostage in the upper floors of the tower. McClane barely escapes being captured. As the only person in the building not under the terrorists' control, it's up to John McClane to stop them.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
It's Christmas Eve (again) and now Los Angeles Police Lieutenant John McClane is at Dulles International Airport outside Washington D.C., waiting for his wife Holly's plane to arrive. The airport is bustling with holiday travelers and a large snowstorm outside are complicating matters. Suddenly, mercenaries seize control over the airport's communications systems, and the incoming planes are unable to land blind in the bad weather. The mercenaries, led by the icy Colonel Stuart (William Sadler), demand that deposed dictator General Esperanza (Franco Nero) be released. The aircraft extraditing Esperanza to the United States will also be landing at Dulles. With the airport police ineffective, it's up to John to foil Stuart's plan and save the passengers on the planes circling above before they run out of fuel.
Die Hard With A Vengeance
It's morning in New York City and the early commute is shattered by a bomb that destroys a department store in Manhattan. The bomber, named Simon (Jeremy Irons), tells NYC Police that there are more explosives planted throughout the city. Lieutenant John McClane (who's returned to the NYPD) has to do exactly as "Simon Says" to prevent additional bombs from going off. Simon's first test for John puts him in conflict with pawn shop owner Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson), who is then drafted by Simon into helping John solve increasingly difficult puzzles and tasks. Will McClane be able to succeed before time is up?
Live Free Or Die Hard
For information read my review here. It's the exact same disc contained in this box set.
NOTE: Each review is scored out of a possible five
Die Hard Film Score: 5.0
Quite simply one of the best action films ever made. It revolutionized the genre and still stands up after nearly 20 years. The script is smart, the direction by John McTiernan keeps things flowing at a good pace, the cinematography by Jan De Bont is dynamic, and the special and visual effects still hold up amazingly well after two decades. The film is also funny in the right moments, and the humor is neither stupid nor juvenile.
The performances by the cast are legendary: this is the film that proved Bruce Willis could be a movie star. John McClane will always be the action hero that many guys imagine themselves to be…what would we do if we were the ones caught in the wrong place at the wrong time? Yet he doesn't play McClane as some superman: he get battered, bruised, bloodied, and shows real fear. He's no Arnold Schwarzenegger-type killing machine. Willis is vulnerable, gets injured, and as an audience you think he could possibly be killed.
A good villain is just as important as the hero, and this film has one in Hans Gruber. This is arguably Alan Rickman's most memorable role, and he plays him charming, intelligent, and dangerous. Bonnie Bedelia shines as Holly Gennero McClane, who plays her as smart, strong, but not sassy or annoying. Even the supporting characters are memorable. Reginald VelJohnson is terrific as L.A.P.D. officer Al Powell: his camaraderie with Willis is believable, even though their interaction is almost entirely though CB radio. William Atherton is convincingly sleazy as a reporter who will run over anyone to get the story. I could go on, but I will just say that there isn't a bad performance to be found.
For me, this is one of my all time favorite films, and I recommend it to anyone who's a fan of not only the action genre, but as one of the best films of the 1980's.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder Film Score 1.5
Oh, what a let down! Created simply to cash in on the success of the first film, this movie defines the cliché of sequels which are nothing more than a half-baked rehash of the original. Renny Harlin is serviceable as director, but what he lets get by is unforgiveable. From sloppy continuity and technical mistakes (such as the famous Pacific Bell phone booth on the East Coast), to the illogical script (why doesn't Air Traffic Control divert the planes elsewhere?), to the whole mean spiritedness of the film in general. The humor is forced. The first film had a smart and charming villain, here Col. Stuart is cold and heartless. Stuart crashes a plane full of innocent people to make a point (and why would a plane flying on fumes explode like a fully fueled one anyway?). Shootings have an exaggerated amount of blood: the original had a couple shock moments but it was never about gore. Certain things, like having the same obnoxious reporter on the same flight as Holly, strain credibility beyond belief. The visual effects have aged badly, and even the music score is a rehash of the first film. A poor effort all around.
Die Hard With A Vengeance Film Score 3.5
A much, much better film than the second, but not quite as good as the original. Still, at least the filmmakers try to shake things up a bit. Instead of being trapped someplace, John McClane has all of Manhattan to run and search through. The addition of Samuel L. Jackson is a great move, and it's their repartee that helps to give the film a different experience than the others. Jeremy Iron's Simon Gruber is an interesting villain, plus you get the feeling he's truly enjoying the game he's playing with McClane. Another nice touch is that the other police officers aren't incompetent idiots: they do their job well and help, rather than hinder, McClane.
John McTiernan also returns as director, and the photography is once again creative and interesting. Having lived in New York City, I'm still amazed how much they were able to film on location.
There are still a few credibility straining moments, such as McClane's ability to fall from a bridge without killing himself (or at least not suffering any broken bones), but it doesn't torpedo the film as a whole. A good film that is not only a sequel, but can stand on it's own.
Die Hard Collection Blu-ray, Video Quality
All films are presented in their original anamorphic 35mm aspect ratio and are encoded in MPEG4 AVC at 1080p resolution.
Die Hard Video rating: 3.5
Not a bad transfer by a long shot. Die Hard has had a somewhat sketchy history on home video, but it looks pretty good here. The image is undamaged, good color, and natural grain. Fleshtones are accurate, Shadow detail is also good: important for a film that takes place at night. Keep in mind that this was filmed 20 years ago, so don't expect a shiny, slick presentation.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder Video rating: 2
Almost as disappointing as the movie itself, the transfer is muddy, with much of it looking like it had been shot through a filter. Fleshtones take on an unnatural orange tint, and the image also lacks depth. Positives are the lack of edge enhancement or other artifacts that plagued the DVD versions. Grain is also not a problem. In the end, this transfer just doesn't appear to be high definition. I've seen better upconverted DVDs of films from the same era.
Die Hard With A Vengeance Video rating: 3.5
Probably the biggest upgrade as far as video quality goes. This film always looked pretty bad on DVD, with terrible edge enhancement and poor color. The Blu-ray sets things right. The disc is much sharper, with natural detail and without the exaggerated sharpness caused by edge enhancement. Color and fleshtones look a lot better. Though the film is still grainy (it was filmed that way), it is not obtrusive. HD depth and detail are there as well. Finally this movie gets the transfer it deserves.
Die Hard Collection Blu-ray, Audio Quality
All films are encoded in lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.
Die Hard Sound rating: 2.5.
This film originally played in Dolby Stereo (Dolby Surround) with some 4.1 70MM showings at select theaters. The film has been remixed into 5.1 and the results are just fair. Dialogue is clear for the most part, but there are scenes where the soundtrack sounds unnaturally harsh and bright, which can be torture for the ears since there's a LOT of breaking glass. Those of you with Re-Eq on their surround processors will definitely want to engage it. Bass response is also somewhat lacking, the scenes with explosions lack the punch you'd expect, even when considering the film's age. However, surround envelopment is decent.
The film has an additional English soundtrack encoded in DD 2.0 surround @ 224kbps, and also includes tracks in DD 5.1 @ 448kbps in French and Spanish.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder Sound rating: 2.0
The audio here takes a step backward like the video. Gunshots sound muffled and unnatural. Dialogue is mixed low. Explosions are even more lacking in bass response, and surround envelopment is low to non-existent. Positives are better dynamic range, and the score sounds clearer. So far this film is 0 for 3.
To add insult to injury, the disc appears to have an encoding error in the DTS Master-Audio extension. On my Panasonic DMP-BD30, I was unable to hear any sound, even though my receiver properly displayed "DTS-HD MSTR". However I was able to listen to the DTS core (@ 1.5 Mbps) on my Sony PlayStation 3. Others have noted the same thing, but as of this writing, there hasn't been any word from Fox on the problem or if there will be any kind of disc replacements with the proper lossless encoding.
As with the first film, it contains an additional English soundtrack encoded in DD 2.0 surround @ 224kbps, and also has tracks in DD 5.1 @ 448kbps in French and Spanish.
Die Hard With A Vengeance Sound rating: 4.
Until Live Free Or Die Hard, this was the best sounding film to date. The first of the films to play theatrically in 5.1 digital sound, it has much, much better mix. Dialogue is crisp and clear, dynamics are wide range, surround envelopment is rich, and there is great bass response. The mix is also much more creative with discrete effects: in the tunnel sequence when John McClane shuts the truck's door, there is a solid *thump* in the subwoofer. Another cool effect is gunfire erupting from the left surround channel unexpectedly, causing a friend of mine to jump! A terrific soundtrack.
The film has an additional French and Spanish soundtracks encoded in DD 2.0 surround @ 224kbps.
Die Hard Collection Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The supplemental materials included are for the most part complete ports. All films except Die Hard contain all the extras from the DVD versions. It's puzzling why the first film is so barren, perhaps Fox is planning a feature packed true 20th anniversary edition for 2008?
Video is encoded in MPEG4 AVC at 480i/p standard defintion, with audio in DD 2.0 stereo @ 224 kbps.
All discs also contain the Java Personal Scene Selections feature (where you can bookmark your choice moments in the films), D- Box enhancement, and the Fox on Blu-ray feature which are the theatrical trailers for all Die Hard films as well as Alien vs. Predator, all presented in HD 1080p . However, the trailer for the actual film on the disc is not included …for example the trailer for Die Hard not on the Die Hard disc, but can be found on any of the other three films.
Die Hard Extras rating: 2.0
Commentary by Director John McTiernan and Jackson De Govia (feature length)
Scene Specific Commentary by Richard Edlund (visual effects supervisor)
Subtitle Commentary by Cast and Crew
The Newscasts (0:07:59): Newscasts as seen in the film, presented in full 16x9. Also contains some bloopers and outtakes not seen in the film. Warning: the video is in VERY rough shape, looking like a decades old VHS tape.
Interactive Still Gallery (0:09:27): Slide show of props, models and on set photos. Interactive Nakatomi logos take you to additional outtakes, blueprints, and designs.
Trailers and TV Spots (various): 3 theatrical trailers and 7 TV spots. Some spots pretty much give the entire ending away. Again, the video is in rough shape.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder Extras rating: 4.0
Commentary by Director Renny Harlin (feature length)
Personal Scene Selections : Bookmark your choice moments in the movie.
Deleted Scenes (0:08:15 total): Scenes cut from the film. There is no explanation why they were cut, but from what I can tell, they slowed the pace of the film down.
Featurettes (various): Several featurettes, some subdivided. Includes HBO First Look, Featurette, The Bad Guys, Breaking the Ice, Chaos on the Conveyor Belt, Interview with Renny Harlin, Visual Effects Breakdowns, and Side-by-Side Comparisons. Fans of the film will definitely want to check these out in full.
Trailers and TV Spots (various): Collection of 4 theatrical trailers and 2 TV commercials. The trailers are in pretty good condition, but the TV spots are a different story. The first is so poor, it's not even in color anymore. The second fares quite a bit better.
Die Hard With A Vengeance Extras rating: 3.5
Commentary by Director John McTiernan, Writer Jonathan Hensleigh and Film Executive Tom Sherak (feature length)
Alternate Ending (0:06:03): includes optional commentary by Writer Jonathan Hensleigh. Intriguing alternate version
Featurettes (various): Includes the HBO First Look, CBS: A Night To Die For, Featurette, Bruce Willis Interview, Villains with a Vengeance, Storyboard Sequence, Visual Effects Breakdowns, and Side-by-Side Comparisons (the last two are divided into individual sequences from the film).
Trailers and TV Spots (various): Collection of 2 theatrical trailers and an amazing 10 TV commercials for the film. The trailers are in very good condition. As far as the TV spots...unlike the ones for Die Hard 2, these are in good shape as well.
Die Hard Collection Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Die Hard Collection from Fox is a complete history of the franchise from 1988 to 2007. For those looking to purchase all four films, it's a no brainer that will save you some money. For me personally, it was the ONLY way I would have Die Hard 2 in my library. As far as a film series go, I can heartily recommend three out of the four. Specs-wise, other than the poor video and audio presentation of the second film, my only other quibble is the noticeable lack of extras on the first and best film of the series.
Die Hard was a breath of fresh air in a stale genre in 1988, and proved Bruce Willis could carry his charisma from television to the silver screen. Even if the subsequent films didn't quite measure up to the original, for the most part they are better than the other knock-offs out there. This box set is a must for fans of the series and a good value for those who may only want 2 or 3 of them. Recommended.
P.S.: Yipee Ki-yay…
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Die Hard Collection Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Amazon Blu-ray Deal of the Week: The Die Hard Collection (Expired) - July 22, 2012
Amazon's Blu-ray Deal of the Week affects The Die Hard Collection. The set bundles together all four films in Twentieth Century Fox's popular action franchise, which centers on the increasingly catastrophic adventures of John McClane (Bruce Willis, Pulp Fiction), ...
• Deal Alert: Die Hard Collection Blu-ray $32.99 - September 5, 2010
Amazon's current Blu-ray Boxed Set of the Week is for The Die Hard Collection (comprised of Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Live Free or Die Hard) for only $32.99 (59% off MSRP, or just over $8 per movie). The price tracker shows ...
• Lightning Deal: Die Hard Collection Blu-ray $37.99 (Expired) - March 9, 2010
Amazon has an interesting BD-related "lightning deal" going on now: for a very limited time, you can buy The Die Hard Collection (Die Hard/ Die Hard 2: Die Harder/ Die Hard with a Vengeance/ Live Free or Die Hard) for only $37.99 (62% off MSRP). This offer ...
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