Die Hard Review

Colin Polonowski has reviewed the Region 2 DVD release of Die Hard

The Film

The eighties didn’t really do much for mankind. Thankfully however, cinema wasn’t so poorly served with a number of great movies making their appearance during the decade from hell.

Many of the most popular films were released to the cinema going public during this time – and some of them have spawned numerous sequels. Die Hard is no different – not only has it got two sequels, but there are many, many more modern movies that owe something to Die Hard in one way or another.

Never before had there been such a well thought out and direct action movie and while many have tried to emulate its success, very few have mangaged to come close.

The Disc

When Fox first started releasing Region 2 DVDs, they received a lot of criticism – not only was their first release, Titanic, non-anamorphic it also had nothing in the way of notable features and it was priced at a ridiculous £29.99. Thankfully, Fox have started to move away from this stereotype. Firstly, There’s Something About Mary had some extras and was anamorphic but still cost far too much and now their recent batch of releases has come in at under £20 a disc so they do appear to be getting better.

Die Hard was released alongside its Fox owned sequel, and both discs are far superior to their Region 1 counterparts. Not only do we get anamorphic transfers, but they’re pretty good ones at that.

While Die Hard isn’t going to win any awards for its picture quality, there is little argument that this is the best the film has ever looked. There are a few digital artifacts such as some smearing although thankfully they don’t detract too much from the film.

Sound wise, the Dolby Digital 5.1 remix is one of the best out there. All five speakers are put through their paces and there is plenty of bass for the subwoofer to get its teeth into. The dialogue sounds a little ‘muddy’, but its not really too bad at all – I’ve seen some modern releases with less care taken over their audio aspects!

In terms of extras, there isn’t a lot to write home about. We have a trailer and some textual biography/filmography screens along with a short featurette on the film. The extras aren’t going to set the world alight, but there’s more here than we’d get from some distributors…


Well, one of the classic eighties action movies has been brought bang up to date with a top quality DVD release. While our US cousins have to make do with poor non-anamorphic transfers, Fox have done the UK proud with a significant amount of extra work on the picture front.

Although I personally believe that £19.99 is still too much to ask for back catalogue titles such as this (unless they’re extra special editions), I still recommend you pick up this disc if you can. Many online retailers are charging significantly less so it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Colin Polonowski

Updated: Feb 27, 1999

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