Fox // 1995 // 128 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Chief Justice Sean McGinnis (Retired) // April 20th, 2000
Think fast. Look alive. Die Hard.
Bruce Willis, against all odds delivers the best of the series in this third (and final?) installment to the Die Hard series.
I won't hold anything back here. This is my favorite of the Die Hard trilogy. This movie delivers the goods from the word go. A story that jumps out of the gate at breakneck speed and does not let up until the final gun is the main factor. The good news here is the addition of a "buddy" for John McClane, in the form of Samuel L. Jackson's portrayal of Zeus. Jackson has some great moments, certainly, but generally delivers a terrific, smooth and energetic performance.
The disc includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that was very good. The soundstage was both wide and deep with good and proper use of both directional effects and LFE channels. Distinct placement and localization of surround effects were excellent and clear throughout the presentation.
The real travesty of justice here is the transfer. After watching Die Hard and Die Hard 2, I was expecting yet another terrific non-anamorphic transfer from the folks over at Fox. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. While the 2:25:1 spec is the same, as is the THX certification, the results could not be farther apart. This transfer was soft and grainy from opening credit to closing credit. The only good news is that your eye will adjust about half way through the movie, to the point where you start to ignore/forget how bad the transfer really is. I actually had to cue the disc back up the next morning to make sure the end of the movie was as bad as the beginning. It was.
The color saturation was not as bad as I have seen, but nowhere near that of Die Hard. Contrast was acceptable, if not good. But, the grain in this transfer will prove intolerable, especially to those of you who are fans of the film, like me.
Like, the first two in the series, this disc has a featurette, as well as the trailers of each Die Hard installment. Certainly not enough to recommend this disc, especially considering the image discussed above. I certainly would have preferred more though.
As much as I would love to recommend this disc, despite its faults, I cannot. My only question at this point is "what happened"? Did Fox farm this disc out to a second rate transfer shop? Put the new trainees on #3? Give the best treatment to the original two and just try to save money on #3? What? I cannot explain it. And I have not heard a sensible explanation -- not even a sensible theory to explain this image. In the end this is really too bad, because as I stated earlier, this is my favorite of the Die Hard films. Oh well. Lets just pray that Fox keeps the hack who screwed this disc up far away from the Alien discs.
Guilty! Life imprisonment for the jerk who butchered this transfer!
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
Running Time: 128 Minutes
Release Year: 1995
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Original Theatrical Trailer