on 1 February 2013
Finally ! I've been waiting forever for a proper Blu-ray box set of these films to come along and have been toying with the idea of buying them individually for ages , but always knew a box set was on the horizon so held out.
Yes , I know I could have waited until all five movies were available to buy in one neat box set , but couldn't resist this 25th Anniversary Blu-ray set thats available now... I've waited too long !
Whats left to say about the Die Hard movies that hasn't already been said ?
I won't bore the pants off you by rehashing opinions on how Alan Rickman is the greatest onscreen villain ever (YES , he should have gotten away with it !) or Robert Davi's line about Saigon being the greatest line ever shouted and that the first Die Hard is without doubt the best of the bunch , as you know this already , so will concentrate on telling you about the Blu-ray quality that you get and whether its worthy of the upgrade.
For the first 3 films picture quality is good and much better than its DVD versions , BUT... You still get the feeling its not as good as they could have gotten them and could do with a further polish.
The audio transfer is acceptable and certainly not the worst I've heard , but its far from the best.
Die Hard 4.0 being relatively new compared to the others , has a flawless picture and sound.
As for the bonus disc "Decoding Die Hard" this is a brilliant addition , with new interviews with actors/directors/writers (Rickman and McTiernan are the real highlights) and Hart Bochner (who appears not to have aged a day) is a real treat , although weird without the beard , and looking at every aspect of all the films , but at a little over an hour and a half to cover all 4 films , this could and SHOULD have been twice as long.
When you have a distinguished actor (who rarely gives interviews) like Mr Rickman sat right in front of you ready to talk about his role as Hans Gruber , you really should milk it for all its worth and I'm fairly certain you're only getting a tiny fraction of footage that was filmed in these new interviews.
The films are of course great viewing and I like them all (DH2 not so much) , but all in all , this is NOT a very good presentation for a "milestone" box set , and when it comes to the picture/sound quality and extras , all the films really are just previous releases "tagged" together and even has trailers for old cinema releases on DH3 , which for me is an absolute no no when buying a box set , especially an Anniversary Edition.
Its a shame they didn't do a proper fold out box with an extra slot for the fifth film like they did on the 50th Anniversary Bond Blu-ray box set for the arrival of Skyfall...that would have at least told me someone cared.
I'm glad I now own these great movies on Blu-ray and is definitely worthy of an upgrade from DVD , but can't help but feel this was a wasted and missed opportunity here being the 25th Anniversary and was expecting just a little more effort than this.
There seems to be a real lack of any kind of work done here and I may as well have just bought them individually years ago and its only the bonus disc that really makes this box set worth having... Still , this hasn't cost me anything more than it would buying them separately , so I've not lost out.
If I'd bought these separately , I would have given 4 stars each for the quality , but this presentation for a "All New 25th Anniversary Box Set" is a real let down and a bit of a copout with only new sleeve covers and a bonus disc to shout about , so have decided its only worth 3 stars for making me feel so disappointed.
When I look at the other "milestone" box sets that I own on Blu-ray (Alien , Blade Runner , Indiana Jones , Bond) you just feel that no effort has been made whatsoever with this , and all that was needed was a proper overhaul/remastering of the first 3 films and a decent box... Just something different that stands out from whats already been available for a few years now , and would quite happily pay a bit more for it (as I'm sure most people would) if the work had been done.
So for those of you who are going to wait for the fifth instalment (which I've not seen yet , so can't comment) in a nice shiny box set , just hope they do an updated remastering of the first 3 before you buy , as I have a feeling that it will be just "tagged on" with this already available box set.
If you're as impatient as me and want this now , this isn't the worst box set you can get and its better than some I could mention , but given the hindsight on this , I'd try and wait a little longer until this drops to around £15.
on 14 July 2014
DIE HARD: 25th Anniversary Collection  [Deluxe Limited Edition Collection DigiBook] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Celebrate 25 years of Bruce Willis playing John McClane with this 5 Blu-ray Disc Collection featuring the first Four Die Hard films and an all-new bonus disc, "Decoding Die Hard." It's the ultimate tribute to the tough-as-nails cop with a wry sense of humour and a knack for explosive action. Wrong place! Wrong time! Right man! Yippee ki yay!
Cast: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, Reginald VelJohnson, Franco Nero, John Amos, John Costelloe, Mark Boone Junior, Robert Patrick, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L. Jackson, Graham Greene, Colleen Camp, Larry Bryggman, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Cliff Curtis, Maggie Q and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Directors: John McTiernan; Renny Harlin and Len Wiseman
Producers: Joel Silver; Lawrence Gordon; Charles Gordon; John McTiernan; Michael Tadross and Michael Fottrell
Screenplay: Jeb Stuart; Steven E. de Souza; Doug Richardson; Jonathan Hensleigh; David Marconi and Mark Bomback
Composers: Michael Kamen; Michael Kamen and Marco Beltrami
Cinematography: Jan de Bont; Peter Menzies Jr. and Simon Duggan
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.36:1, 2.35:1 and 2.40:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital and French: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese and Korean
Running Time: 132 minutes; 124 minutes; 131 minutes and 129 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 5
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Here you get Five awesome Blu-ray discs and they include in this Deluxe Limited Edition Collection DigiBook the following Blu-ray discs and they include: ‘Die Hard;’ ‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder;’ ‘Die Hard With A Vengeance;’ ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ [‘Die Hard 4.0’] and Decoding Die Hard.
Over the last twenty years, John McClane [Bruce Willis] has become such an iconic part of the action-film landscape that it's hard to remember a time when he wasn't etched in our pop culture consciousness. Starting with 'Die Hard,' and continuing through three sequels, the character has proven to be one of the most durable in a very fickle genre. Aside from James Bond and Indiana Jones, there may be no other action movie hero who has lasted as long or remained as beloved by audiences. John McClane redefined the boundaries of the action archetype; bringing warmth, humour, unpredictability, and an almost fanciful sense of masculine daring do to the genre.
'Die Hard'  Was of course, the first film that started it all, and it broke all preconceptions for what an action hero could be. Bruce Willis' John McClane is a NYC cop who has (reluctantly) flown to Los Angeles to reconcile with his upwardly-mobile wife Holly Gennaro-McClane [Bonnie Bedelia], but he ends up trapped in a skyscraper with a bunch of mercenary thugs led by the snivelling Hans Gruber [Alan Rickman]. The simple premise, great action, airtight execution, and unlike the muscled action heroes of other films, John McClane is not a superman, but rather just an ordinary guy stuck in an extraordinary situation. His cocky facade masks a palpable vulnerability, but that only makes him even more courageous. By the time he gets around to kicking Hans Gruber's ass at the film's end, he's already rewritten every cliché in the action film playbook.
Just wrapping up his run in TV's 'Moonlighting,' Bruce Willis was at his hungriest in 'Die Hard,' and he almost single-handedly carries the entire movie on his well-oiled shoulders. John McClane's got more quips than James Bond and Freddy Krueger put together, but somehow Willis makes the character endearing rather than smarmy. Alan Rickman is also the best villain of the entire 'Die Hard' series, coming off as the kind of uber-nasty psycho who would stab you with a knife, lick off the blood, and then stab you again. And the seemingly incongruous pairing of Bruce Willis and Bonnie Bedelia manages to generate real sparks, making us actually believe that this guy would risk everything to save his wife, instead of just another tired plot device. Add to that John McTiernan's economical direction and a breathless set of stunt sequences that still hold up, and 'Die Hard' stands head-to-head with the absolute best action flicks of the 1980s.
‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder’  Hit screens only two years later in 1990 and was essentially a remake of the first film, only this time set at an airport with a whole group of psycho terrorist baddies who like to crash planes for fun and profit. After they take control of the airport and demand millions, John McClane must outwit their superior technology while again dealing with a bumbling police bureaucracy. Meanwhile, John McClane's wife (a returning Bonnie Bedelia), is stuck high above in one of the circling planes.
Aided by a bigger budget and the energetic direction of Renny Harlin ['Cliffhanger' and 'The Covenant'], 'Die Hard 2' pumps up the formula that worked so well in the first film, and it's almost as much fun, although the seams of the formula show through at times. There's an element of freshness missing (Bruce Willis' wink-wink quips have already grown slightly stale), and the villains are nowhere near as memorable as the scenery-chewing Alan Rickman. And why has the spunky Bonnie Bedelia been banished to a cheap seat in coach for the entire film? Still, there's enough of the old John McClane magic left in ‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder’ to make it worth a return visit.
Next we have 'Die Hard with a Vengeance' . This time, a crazed mad bomber named Simon Gruber [Jeremy Irons] has an axe to grind against John McClane, and is planting explosives all over New York City. With the help of a local shop owner Zeus Carver [Samuel L. Jackson], John McClane must complete a series of tasks laid out by Simon Gruber, or innocent civilians will die. Eventually, the madman's true motivations will be revealed, but they aren't as exciting as the build-up would leave you to believe.
'Die Hard with a Vengeance' sees the return of director John McTiernan to the franchise, and also opens up the milieu considerably, with John McClane hitting so many scenic stops in the Big Apple that he might as well be a tour guide. Unfortunately, what worked so well in the first 'Die Hard' was its sense of confinement and claustrophobia, and 'Vengeance' just isn't as fun or suspenseful. The script is also ham-fisted in its attempt to weave in social commentary (the Jackson character seems to face bigotry at every turn, all in wholly contrived ways). And with Bonnie Bedelia bowing out of this third outing, there is little personal drama for John McClane, so we barely feel invested in the eventual outcome of all the carnage. 'Die Hard with a Vengeance' is certainly my least favourite of the series.
Fast-forward over a decade and we have 'Live Free or Die Hard' [‘Die Hard 4.0’] . Surprisingly, things get back on track with this long-in-development fourth entry, which turned out to be one of the biggest hits of year. John McClane is still as ornery and resourceful as ever, albeit a bit more grizzled. This time, he's up against the crazed Thomas Gabriel [Timothy Olyphant], who's out to "redeem" America with an all-out attack on its technological infrastructure. With the FBI unable to catch the criminal mastermind, it's up to John McClane and a geeky hacker [Justin Long] to foil the villain's plot, as well as save John McClane's daughter Lucy [Mary Elizabeth Winstead].
Directed by Len Wiseman ['Underworld'], 'Live Free or Die Hard' works as a surprisingly resonant retelling of the "aging old relic story," where the fighter must jump back into the ring for one last fight to ensure his legacy. But it also doesn't forget what made the first film such a gas, giving us wall-to-wall old-school action that needs little assistance from overdone CGI or slapdash music video editing. 'Live Free or Die Hard' is both modern and retro, giving us all the stunts, explosions, humour and ridiculous violence we loved the first time around, but also throwing in enough new emotional wrinkles for the John McClane character that it doesn't all feel stale. It's the perfect sequel that plays just as well to newbies as it does long-time fans of the series.
As a franchise, the ‘Die Hard’ series stands tall. In the character of John McClane, Bruce Willis found his best-ever role, and with a combination of brawn, brains and snarky wit, created a whole new icon of the action movie. Add to that some of the most top-notch stunt sequences and effects the genre has ever seen, and you have a series of four films that truly do rival such legendary franchises as James Bond, The Terminator and Mad Max. I can't claim that the 'Die Hard' series hasn't had its ups and downs, but even in its weakest moments, the Die Hard series has never been less than a total blast.
Blu-ray Video Quality – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment brings 'Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection' to Blu-ray in a handsome and sturdy five-disc box set. The package is shaped and opens much like a book with new artwork corresponding to each movie. Those same pages also serve as sleeves for each disc which slide out by placing some slight pressure to the top and bottom, widening the mouth a little. The inside is smooth and glossy to prevent the discs from scratching. All four films come on separate discs while the fifth disc contains a brand-new retrospective. The book comes with a side-sliding slipcover made of a hard cardboard material with a picture of Bruce Willis on the front and very lightly textured. At start up, each disc goes straight to an animated menu screen with colourful graphics and music playing in the background.
'Die Hard' as with all the films in this 25th Anniversary collection, the first film in the franchise arrives with the identical encode [2.35:1] as the previous 2007 release. And frankly, the source used for this high-definition transfer is in excellent condition, giving fans the best possible presentation imaginable of an awesome 1980s action classic. Fine lines and textures are sometimes highly detailed and very well-defined with several shockingly revealing close-ups, exposing pores, wrinkles and trivial blemishes on the faces of ever actor. Beads of sweat shimmer in the light while dirt and grime is made plainly visible covering John McClane's entire body. Contrast is terrifically well-balanced and crisp while black levels are true and penetrating. Colours are bold and energetic, and a very thin layer of grain provides the video with an appreciable cinematic quality.
‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder’ sadly, this sequel is the slightly weakest of the bunch with an average, only mildly impressive encoded transfer. The presentation has its moments, for sure, particularly at the beginning when there is plenty of daylight, but as we move into night-time, the quality diminishes quite a bit. Granted, this is due to the original photography and not faults in the encoded image, but nonetheless, it's not as pretty as the other films. Although showing a welcomed film-like quality, grain tends to fluctuate from scene to scene while black levels range from accurate and true to a tad murky and flat. Definition is strong for a good chunk of the time but overall unimpressive with several soft scenes. On the other hand, contrast is well-balanced and stable, and colours are mostly bold and animated with good skin tones and textures in facial complexions.
'Live Free or Die Hard' [‘Die Hard 4.0’]  Being the most recent of the series, the fourth instalment offers the best and often stunning high-definition presentation of the bunch. With a squeaky-clean, crystal-clear encode image leading the way, the video shows sharp, well-defined lines in the foliage of trees, along the side of buildings and down to individual threads of costumes. Every shard, fragment and debris from car crashes and explosions is plainly visible as they fly everywhere, and Bruce Willis is really starting to show his age by this point, as every wrinkle and blemish is exposed. Contrast is spot-on with crisp, brilliant whites, allowing for excellent visibility into the far distance. Black levels are inky rich with superb gradational details within the deepest, darkest shadows, providing the 2.35:1 image with plenty of depth. Colours are vibrant and accurately rendered with primaries looking particularly energetic.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – As with the Video Quality, here is the Audio Quality of each Blu-ray disc is as follows:
'Die Hard'  With our rugged, blue-collar hero also arrives with the same DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack as before, and it's a fantastic listen. Considering its age and the period of when it was made, the original design is not the sort to go toe-to-toe with your more modern action spectacular, but it sure puts up a hell of a fight for a 25-year-old film. Mostly contained in the fronts, the soundstage is wide and welcoming. Especially with the fun and pretty-clever music of Michael Kamen, imaging feels expansive, with excellent fidelity and full of warmth while very lightly bleeding into the surrounds. Dynamic range is clean and precise with outstanding distinct detailing in the instrumentation, and dialogue reproduction remains well-prioritised throughout. Best of all is a robust and impactful low-end with tons of highly-responsive and punchy bass. Each bullet and punch comes with serious weight and force while explosions and helicopter blades penetrate deep into the room with awesome wall-rattling effect.
‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder’  Compared to the others in the series, this DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is not quite up to the task, which is not to say it is bad. It's just not as noteworthy and is comparatively the scrawniest of the bunch. Although very subtle and somewhat restrained, rear activity is still plentiful, with several great atmospherics inside the airport. Sudden bursts of action and gunfire continue supplying the surrounds with many discrete effects, but imaging is mostly a front-heavy presentation. Dialogue and character interactions are generally loud and clear in the centre, but once in a while, voices tend to get lost in the commotion, slightly overwhelmed by the explosions and barrage of bullets. Nevertheless, dynamic range remains clean and precise, with excellent distinction and separation in the upper frequencies. Low bass is not very commanding or potent, but it's effective and adds some gravity to action sequences.
'Die Hard with a Vengeance'  Arrives with an enjoyable and highly amusing 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack which packs the action with a great deal of fun and excitement. Rear activity is very subtle but at a near constant with discrete effects of city noise and traffic, generating a pleasant and satisfying sound field. Panning and movement during action sequences are flawless with bullets and debris whizzing by in all directions or with the sounds of sirens echoing through the busy streets. In the fronts, dialogue is well-prioritized and intelligible from beginning to end, and channel separation is terrifically well-balanced with several convincing off-screen effects which create a wide and spacious soundstage. The mid-range is clean and precise with excellent clarity in the upper frequencies. Sadly, low bass is not as powerful and commanding as I would have liked, making a couple explosive moments feeling somewhat wanting, but overall, the lossless mix offers plenty of entertaining impact.
'Live Free or Die Hard' [‘Die Hard 4.0’]  This 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack may be identical to the previous release but it remains and continues to be one of the best available on Blu-ray. All manner of noise, chaos and mayhem spreads into every corner of the room and with flawless panning, creating a highly satisfying 360 degrees sound field. The smallest debris and piece of rubble falls all around the listener with excellent discrete clarity while bullets and helicopters fly overhead. The action continues to excite with a broad and expansive soundstage that creates a massive wall of sound while delivering precise, well-prioritized dialogue in the centre. The mid-range is extensive with room-penetrating clarity that's dynamic and sharply detailed, allowing for the tiniest shard of metal or falling glass to be perfectly heard. The best attribute of this lossless mix is without question the authoritative low-end, which effectively reaches ultra-low frequencies with commanding force. Explosions and bullets not only rattle the wattles, but they're felt hard in the chest and vibrate the couch with each shot.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment recycles the same set of supplements as the previous Blu-ray release but not from the inferior NTSC DVD Five-Star Edition, making the majority of this release a simple repackaging.
'Die Hard' 
Audio Commentaries: The first has separate recordings of director John McTiernan and production designer Jackson DeGovia edited together. It's a fairly informative and technical commentary track on the overall production and some of the challenges that had to be overcome. The second is another interesting and revealing track with special effects supervisor Richard Edlund. Although there are many gaps of silence throughout, there's much to learn from this conversation.
Cast and Crew Audio Commentary: Actually more of a subtitled track with various facts, details and anecdotes about the production.
Special Feature: Newscasts [7:00] Assortment of the media videos seen throughout the film.
Still Gallery [480i]
Original Die Hard Theatrical Trailers [1080p]
'Die Hard 2: Die Harder' 
Audio Commentary: Commentary with director Renny Harlin: Here Renny Harlin talks extensively and enthusiastically about the production, sharing a wealth of memories of working with Bruce Willis and shooting on location.
Special Feature: The Making of Die Hard 2: Die Harder [23:00] TV-produced documentary with lots of interviews recapping the plot, characters and action sequences interspersed with behind-the-scene footage.
Special Feature: Interviews [12:00] Director Renny Harlin and actor William Sadler each have a few minutes to talk about the film.
Special Feature: Chaos on a Conveyor Belt [8:00] A closer look at the action sequence inside the airport.
Special Feature: Breaking the Ice [4:00] Another breakdown of an action sequences set outside on the airport runaway.
Special Feature: Deleted Scenes [480i] A small collection of mostly extended scenes removed for good reason.
Original Die Hard Theatrical Trailers [1080p]
'Die Hard with a Vengeance' 
Audio Commentary: Another track recorded separately and edited together with John McTiernan, screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh, and former Fox executive Tom Sherak. It's full of typical talking-points and the standard info about the production, but there are also several interesting titbits about the script and characters.
Special Documentary: A Night to Die For [23:00] Another documentary produced for CBS Television with more interviews and behind-the-scene footage.
Special Documentary: HBO First Look [22:00] Special promo piece with interviews, info on the production and lots of behind-the-scene footage.
Special Feature: Alternate Ending [6:00] With an optional commentary track by Jonathan Hensleigh, the original, less-heroic ending is worth watching.
Special Feature: Interview [6:00] A brief conversation with Bruce Willis.
Special Documentary [5:00] Yet more of the same stuff.
Special Feature: Villains with a Vengeance [4:00] Forgettable, throwaway segment on the Jeremy Irons characters.
Special Feature: Side-by-Side Comparisons [3:00] Shown in split-screen, six green-screen action sequences are compared.
Special Feature: Storyboard [2:00] Brief montage sequence of storyboards compared to the finished product.
Original Die Hard Theatrical Trailers [1080p]
'Live Free or Die Hard' [‘Die Hard 4.0’] 
Audio Commentary: Bruce Willis and director Len Wiseman are joined by Editor Nicholas de Toth for an enjoyable conversation on the franchise and the aspirations of this fourth instalment. It's a great track with plenty of information about the behind-the-scene production.
Special Feature: Analogue Cop in a Digital World [97:00] A nicely detailed and exhaustive making-of documentary with wonderful cast and crew interviews discussing the plot, franchise and overall production. With tons of behind-the-scene footage and clips, the informative track looks at the characters, stunt work and the special visual effects.
Special Feature: Yippie Ki-Yay, Mother #@%$?&! [23:00] Kevin Smith hosts this entertaining sit-down chat with Bruce Willis.
Special Feature: Fox Movie Channel Presents: Fox Legacy [6:00] A short promo piece for the 'Die Hard' franchise.
Music Video [480i] Guyz Nite performs their song "Die Hard."
Special Feature: Behind-the-Scenes with Guyz Nite [6:00] A boring “yawn” look at the making of the music video.
Original Die Hard Theatrical Trailers [1080p]
Live Free or Die Hard: Black Hat Intercept! An interactive strategy game where users play the role of a hacker facing various computer obstacles.
Disc Five: ‘Decoding Die Hard’
Special Feature: Origins: Reinventing the Action Genre [20:00] Starting with a detailed discussion on the first movie, a series of interviews with the filmmakers of all four films talk extensively about John McClane, his fortuitous misadventures and from where each script has its humble beginnings.
Special Feature: John McClane: Modern Day Hero [16:00] As the title implies, a series of recent interviews with cast and crew focuses on the main character and Bruce Willis' memorable performance.
Special Feature: Villains: Bad to the Bone [21:00] Complementing the previous documentaries more interviews talk about the bad guys with the majority of the attention given to Alan Rickman's unforgettable role.
Special Feature: Sidekicks: Along for the Ride [19:00] Viewers revisit all four films for this great piece on John McClane's accidental action assistants with special attention to part one and the roles of Reginald VelJohnson, Hart Bochner, De'voreaux White and William Atherton.
Special Feature: Fight Sequences: Punishing Blows [7:00] Not much time is spent on the fight choreography, but it's interesting nonetheless because the conversation revolves around how the action serves the story.
Special Feature: Action: Explosive Effects [15:00] An awesome and very entertaining look at the miniature work, practical effects, digital visual effects and the stunt choreography in all four films.
Special Feature: The Legacy: The Right Hero for the Right Time [9:00] Finishing the documentary is a short conversation with cast, filmmakers and fans talking about what makes 'Die Hard' great and the permanent imprint it made in the action genre and film history in general.
Original Die Hard Theatrical Trailers [1080p] A collection of original theatrical previews for all four films, including the latest 'A Good Day to Die Hard.'
Finally, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment re-releases the 'Die Hard' Collection to Blu-ray as a 25th Anniversary edition. All four films are collected in a handsome and sturdy Deluxe Limited Edition Collection DigiBook package that again includes an extra fifth Blu-ray disc with all-new retrospective tempting fans to rebuy. The package recycles the same audio and video presentations from previous high-definition releases, while the new documentary is exclusive to this set. On the surface, owners of those other releases will be happy to know nothing has changed, but for anyone who's being patiently waiting, this is a very nice set indeed, especially at its current price point for four films. On top of all that, I have been a massive fan of this brilliant franchise ever since it was released in the cinema and I am so glad I now have this awesome Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller - Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom