Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free or Die Hard)
This is the UK release of the two disc DVD for Die Hard 4.0. Now going by previous reports I had thought that meant I would be seeing the uncut version, that is the version that didn't have swearing, violence, audio of gunshots and video of blood and explosions removed for the PG rating.
Cyber-terrorists have broken into key systems around the U.S. and are preparing to shut them all down, and they just broke into the FBI's system. Before McClane can get the hacker to the FBI the terrorists begin shutting down the country, and trying to kill McClane.
The odds are stacked against him, but he's an analogue man in a digital world, and he never gives up, even when his daughter's life is on the line.
Previously I reviewed the the film right here on Filmstalker, and I liked it. My reservations going in where that the film had been cut down to a PG-13, which just wasn't what Die Hard was all about, and that Bruce Willis was getting on a bit. Combining these together with the poor quality of so many Hollywood sequels and franchises, I thought it wasn't going to be such a great film.
I was wrong though. Despite the cuts the film is still pretty strong, and Bruce Willis takes wonderfully to the role, and the character of McClane takes really well to being a lot older than his last outing. The ageing is a great aspect of the film and couples well with the modern plot setting of cyber-terrorism.
It is a great Die Hard, and ranks along with the first one, although the baddie doesn't reach the heights of Hans Gruber and Alan Rickman, it's still very good.
For the full film review see the Filmstalker review of Die Hard 4.0.
Something that surprised me about the film on DVD through was that this was the same version that I'd seen in the cinema, the PG-13. Now I had thought that the DVD 2-Disc edition was going to be the uncut version, i.e. the 18 version. However that doesn't seem to be the case.
It's worth bearing in mind that I received a screener copy of the film, but it did have two discs, it was the UK version, and it had all the features expected from the two disc edition. So are we going seeing the uncut version on shelves?
I'm not sure, and I need to call on people who have actually bought the DVD and have seen the film, for looking at Amazon and Play details they all show the same running time and the same certificate. Over at HMV they list the two disc DVD edition as featuring the extended cut, even while they list the film as one hundred and twenty three minutes long. I'm confused.
The good news is that the BBFC did authorise a 15 certificate for two cuts at one hundred and twenty eight minutes, thirty seven seconds long. However reading the extended information reveals that this still doesn't sound like the uncut version.
“The film also contains one use of strong language (‘motherfucker’), which was clear even with the end of the word obscured by the sound of gunshots. BBFC policy regarding language at 12A states that ‘mouthed and bleeped uses of 'motherfucker' are allowed' and that 'mouthed language will usually be identifiable but inaudible’. With the term clearly audible in this case, the '15' certificate was required.”
Finally, looking at the Die Hard 4.0 site it tells us that the two disc edition, called the Ultimate Action Edition, is the one with the hard cut. Perhaps it was just my screener then.
Even with the toned down version the film is really good, I would love to see the full version, but you'll need to let us all know which really is which.
The straight DVD looks wonderful. I am upscaling to 1080p, and it does carry a very detailed and sharp picture.
There's some great lighting in the film, many of the indoor scenes are dark and cramped, and there are a few night scenes too, all of which are lit very well and give a great atmosphere but still retain enough for you to see what's happening.
A couple of scenes of the two leads driving do reveal a screen projection behind them, but when the picture is so good for the most part, the small moments of screen work that isn't so clear are totally forgiveable and missable.
This is a superb transfer that really does look great. Natural and vibrant with some great detail, overall it's very cinematic.
Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
The DTS audio track is superb and makes a good use of the rear speakers. In fact throughout the film the whole speaker system gets a work out as the sound is as explosive as the film. It really pulls you into the thick of it, and yet doesn't overload the senses too much!
Audio Commentary with Len Wiseman, Bruce Willis and Nicholas De Toth, Making of Die Hard documentary, Bruce Willis interview by Kevin Smith, Nine Featurettes – Prelude, Casting and Characters, Attack of the Franchise, Texture and Tone, The World of D.I., The Cutting Room, Sound and Fury, Eye Candy, and Symphonic Boom, Music Video by Guyz Nite, Behind the Scenes with Guyz Nite, Fox Movie Channel Featurette
The audio commentary is pretty interesting from start to finish, although Nicholas De Toth doesn't add much to the commentary, Bruce Willis and Len Wiseman talk about the film all the way through, offering insightful moments into scripting, filming, the Die Hard trilogy, and what the decisions were on set. It's a very interesting commentary, and really does benefit the film.
Making of Die Hard documentary, Nine Featurettes – Prelude, Casting and Characters, Attack of the Franchise, Texture and Tone, The World of D.I., The Cutting Room, Sound and Fury, Eye Candy, and Symphonic Boom, Fox Movie Channel Featurette
Bundling all the documentaries together gives a wealth of information into the film, and for fans of Die Hard and of cinema in general there's loads to get into. The worst is probably the Fox Movie Channel short which is nothing more than a publicity piece, however the rest of the featurettes are well worth watching. There's tons to learn about the special effects, the editing, the audio, even the colouring is discussed.
Bruce Willis interview by Kevin Smith
There's a little too much back slapping going on here, but there are some interesting points talked about by Willis about the Die Hard series in general, all the way back to when he first signed up, as well as some of the aspects of returning to Die Hard and his overall career. I would have liked more of this, and something a little more incisive, but it's still interesting if you're a Willis and/or Die Hard fan.
Music Video by Guyz Nite, Behind the Scenes with Guyz Nite
Well this is just daft. I'd never heard of the band, but I have to admit the Die Hard song is rather amusing, the rest isn't so, but it's a nice add on to the end.
Die Hard 4.0 is a really good film and is up there with the first Die Hard. It has also been given a really strong transfer to DVD both in picture and audio. The featurettes, for the most part, are above standard and the audio commentary is pretty insightful, and it features the Director and star of the film which you don't always see on DVD commentaries.
Considering I didn't see the uncut version, I'm in a difficult situation to try and rate the two disc DVD as it does look like the version available to buy is the uncut version. However I can only assume that this makes it a better film.