Die Hard, eh? What really is there left to say? After all, this is a movie that’s now celebrating its 30th anniversary. And what better way to celebrate this particular milestone than by getting a swanky 4K Ultra HD makeover?
Of course, we guess we should at least brush over the plot details in at least the vaguest of ways. If for some reason you’ve never seen John McTiernan’s Die Hard, Bruce Willis plays John McClane, a New York cop who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. That wrong place is his distant wife’s lavish office party at the Nakatomi Plaza, Los Angeles. That wrong time is Christmas Eve. What could go wrong at a Christmas bash, right? Well, how about a gaggle of terrorists – led by Alan Rickman’s iconic Hans Gruber – choosing that night to attack the tower in order to nab $600 million of bonds? Yep, that’ll do it.
The focus of our attention here, and quite likely yours, is obviously the new 4K transfer. Let’s just put it out there front-and-centre, Die Hard has simply never looked better. This is an absolutely stunning remaster of an old favourite, and this is a transfer that ranks up there as one of the best 4K efforts in the game. While some 4K do-ups can lose a little of the original spirit or overdo the richness a little, this has none of those issues whatsoever. Instead, what we’re given is a crisp, sharp and vibrant lick of paint for a film that is on the regular Christmas must-watch list of many (and yes, Die Hard is totally a festive flick). From the clammy intensity of McClane’s time spent crawling through air vents, to the glitz of the LA skyline, to the explosive gun-toting action, the 4K transfer only adds further to each and every moment of this 1988 classic.
So to sum this up, is yet another release of Die Hard worth adding to your collection? In this case, most certainly if you’re after the very best viewing experience possible. The film itself is as great as it’s ever been, with this still standing loud and proud as one of the very best action pictures of all time. Bruce Willis made his mark in the action genre, firmly shaking off the shackles of Moonlighting and thrusting himself instantly in to the Hollywood A-list. Similarly, Alan Rickman delivered a performance that stands as a truly iconic villainous turn, with his Hans Gruber devouring scenery at every turn. And sticking with performances, genre fave Paul Gleason can’t help but steal the show as asshole Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson.
If there’s a slight downside to Die Hard: 30th Anniversary Edition, it’s that the special features included on this two-disc release are nothing new. That’s not to say that they’re not impressive, with the audio commentary from director John McTiernan and production designer Jackson DeGovia the main standout where the bonus material is concerned.
When all is said and done, if you’re one of those people who loves nothing more than seeing your old favourites in glorious 4K, this is a release that should be making its way to your collection ASAP. Yippe-ki-yay indeed.
Special Features: Audio commentary with John McTiernan and Jackson DeGovia / Scene specific audio commentary with Richard Edlund / Subtitle text commentary by cast and crew / Newscast footage / Trailers and TV spots / Interactive stills gallery
DIE HARD: 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JOHN MCTIERNAN / SCREENPLAY: STEVEN E. DE SOUZA, JEB STUART / BRUCE WILLIS, ALAN RICKMAN, DE’VOREAUX WHITE, REGINALD VELJOHNSON, BONNIE BEDELIA, PAUL GLEASON, WILLIAM ATHERTON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW