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Bruce Willis stars as John McClaine, a New York City police officer who travels to Los Angeles to visit his wife and children. McClaine arrives in L.A. and takes a limousine to his wife's office, located in a high-rise tower. Once there, he reunites with his wife hoping for a calm and peaceful holiday season. Unfortunately, those plans are interrupted when a team of terrorists lead by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) crash the office Christmas party and the attendees become hostages.

Die Hard (Five Star Collection)
McClaine manages to evade the terrorists, and take them on, one at a time. In addition, he attempts to alert the police, but is unsuccessful. Ultimately, McClaine must take on the role of hero and take on the task of stopping the terrorists. Eventually McClaine finds help in a L.A. police officer who is situated outside the high-rise.

Willis has created a terrific character that is funny, witty, intense and engaging. He is perfectly cast as the man who must stop the terrorist group. Director John McTiernan has lead a strong cast in an exciting, tense filled film that moves along at a swift pace and provides great action sequences and visuals.

Video
As I mentioned previously, the entire Die Hard trilogy was released a few years ago, however, it had some problems such as being presented in a non-anamorphic format. This time however, Fox has given us Die Hard in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen edition and a new THX format. This film looks fantastic! The interior scenes display fantastic, crisp, clean colors, while the outdoor sequences, displaying the darkness show a deep rich black. I never saw the edition released a few years ago, but if this is really an improvement on that edition, I must say Fox has done an outstanding job.

The transfer looks clean and crisp as if I were watching it for the first time in a theater. The picture is extremely sharp and I’d be hard pressed to say that the film looks over 10 years old. With a film as popular as this one, I expected to see a few flaws from the master print, however, they were few and far between. There no major artifacts that detracted my attention from watching the film.

The colors are nothing short of fantastic! Although the majority of the scenes take place in dark, black areas, the blacks did not appear hazy and the steel of the office building was stunning. There are a few office scenes that take place in "brighter" environments where the flesh tones were accurate.

Audio
Fox has presented "Die Hard" with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and DTS 5.1 audio. These tracks are amazing and will definitely give your system a work out!

The Surround sounds are very apparent throughout the entire movie, and in my opinion definitely give fuel this film along, giving the film an added excitement!

Dialogue is generally clear and provides an added attraction to each scene. It didn’t appear to me that any dialogue was lost within various sound effects, including explosions and gunfire.

Die Hard (Five Star Collection)
Extras
In the past on Fox 5-Star Collections, the studio has loaded their discs with outstanding extras; this version does not skimp on those either.

First there are two commentaries including one from director John McTiernan and production designer Jackson DeGovia, a scene specific commentary from effects supervisor Richard Edlund and a text commentary.

The commentary by John McTiernan was truly interesting as he discussed his experiences working on the set and stories of events that happened during filming. DeGovia also engaged in a fascinating commentary who discussed his role in the filmmaking process and how the look of the film was undertaken and achieved.

The scene specific commentary from effects supervisor Edlund gives filmgoers the opportunity to learn about the various special effects that were used throughout the film. Also included on this commentary is an index so you may jump to the scene of which Edlund is discussing.

For those DVD viewers that don't mind subtitles, the Text Commentary is a running subtitle stream throughout the movie that includes interviews with production designer DeGovia, effect co-ordiantor Al DiSaro, supervising sound editor Steven Hunter Flick, producer Lawerence Gordon, composer Michael Kamen, editor John Link, screenwriter Steven E. DeSouza, stunt coordinator Charlie Picerni, actor Alan Rickman and an interesting analysis by Eric Litchtenfield, a film journalist. This commentary definitely has a "wow" factor because of the numerous individuals it involves and the fact that it contains entertaining stories about the making of "Die Hard."

The first section on the second disc is called "The Vault". This extra features outtakes that provide the viewer with the "Extended Power Shutdown Scene". This scene can also be utilized using extended branching, cut back into the movie on the first disc. The shot during extended branching appears black and white because of an unfinished effect.

"The Vault" also contains a collection of extended scenes, deleted scenes, outtakes and more!

A "Newscasts" section includes the extended and deleted part of newscasts that were shown during the movie or that didn’t make it into the final cut of the film.

"Magazine Articles" includes two interactive articles about "Die Hard", one from Cinefex and the other from American Cinematographer.

"The Cutting Room" is probably one of my favorites of the extra features here. It's fun and entertaining to partake in some of the jobs that occur in the cutting room during the filmmaking process.

"Editing" is a section that allows the viewer to watch a group of scenes from different sequences in the film and then cut them together. Be forewarned, it takes some time but it's definitely worth it!

A fantastic supplement narrated by DVD producer David Prior, titled, "Why Letterbox?" is a chat about why the letterbox format is the way to go when producing DVD's. For those of you who have friends or family members who hate "the little black bars", this supplement should be a must watch for them. Hopefully it will convince them of the importance of the letterbox format and give them a great insight as to how much of a picture is lost when this format is not used.

"Audio Mixing", allows you to take on the job of the sound mixer. You actually get to choose whether you want the dialogue, music or effects tracks on "high" or "low" during different scenes. This is a fun addition as well.

Die Hard (Five Star Collection)
Finally, another DVD that allows you to use your angle button. I particularly enjoy watching DVD's where you can see a scene from a different angle. In "Multi-Camera Shooting", you have the opportunity to watch three scenes with the option to switch between cameras used by using your "angle" button.

A 9-minute slide show packed with production and on-set photographs is included. In addition, there are times during the slide show that the Nakatomi logo will pop-up; click on it and you will see concept designs and production art.

Other features include the entire screenplay available on-screen or on DVD-ROM, three trailers, seven television spots and the usual promotional featurette.

These extras will take hours to get through, but they are worth it for an already fantastic DVD edition of "Die Hard".

Overall
By far, I have to conclude that the 5-Star edition of Fox’s "Die Hard" would easily have to be the best DVD release this year! This is a fine example of what DVD's should contain. The film of course is fantastic! The video and audio aspects are stellar and the extra features are practically stuffed in so the storage case is tough to close! This DVD should be a part of every DVD aficionado's collection and a definite must buy for those who are new to the format! I highly recommend it!


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