'Air Force One' swoops down on to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer that's presented in a theatrically correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio and is also region free.
Now, let me say right out that there's nothing actually terrible about the transfer, it's just that of late we've seen many other transfers that have been so much better and in this respect I have to register just a touch of disappointment. It's not an old movie by any means and I think a bit more TLC to the picture would have brought dividends.
The opening on the Columbia logo reveals a substantial amount of grain in lighter areas of the image, but once we get into the movie itself the grain is not intrusive. It's just a reminder that it was shot on film. If a new print had been struck for the transfer, using the latest film stocks, the movie would have looked better. The main titles themselves exhibit a small amount of print movement as they 'bob' in the gate slightly. After the titles, it's not noticeable.
The image itself is generally good with fine colour and sharpness throughout. Occasionally the blacks aren't as black as they could be and contrast isn't quite as punchy as it should. You have to put this in context though as many of the on board shots contain a veil of smoke in the air to depict the aftermath of gunfire.
There is a fair degree of depth to the image as witnessed in the shots looking down the interior of the plane, but to call it 3D like would be wrong.
What we get is a very filmic look from quite a dense print. Not bad, but could do better.
The real star of 'Air Force One' is the powerful Dolby True HD 5.1 surround mix.
The music has been given real 'oomph' by the bass extension, while gunshots fill the air with alarming realism and bullets thud into their targets. The whole surround sound field comes alive with the engines of the 747 and jet fighter support as they bank, dive and manoeuvre in the air around the audience. The sound steering is very impressive indeed.
We are given a very immersive mix here that is of true reference quality and one that will, no doubt, be appearing at a demo room near you soon.
In the midst of all the audio action, dialogue is kept clean and crisp being locked to the centre speaker. It never becomes drowned out by the effects. You hear what you're meant to here. This is surround sound at its best.
- Audio Commentary
The only real piece of bonus material with 'Air Force One' is a Director's commentary in which Wolfgang Petersen shares his views on the cast, shooting locations, creation of the action sequences, Harrison Ford's stunt work, and other facets of interest to the film buff.
Included are 1080p trailers for 'Damages: The Complete First Season', 'The International', 'The Devil's Own', 'Lakeview Terrace', 'Vantage Point', 'Casino Royale', 'Rocky Balboa', 'xXx', and '88 Minutes'.
'Air Force One' comes in to land on Blu-ray with a good, if not excellent, 1080p AVC /MPEG-4 transfer framed at 2.40:1.
We get a transfer that reveals its filmic roots with good colour, slightly variable contrast and black levels although it's sharp throughout. Viewed in the context of a smoky atmosphere on board a plane, it might just be an accurate depiction of the surroundings.
The audio on 'Air Force One' is truly outstanding in its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround mix. This is one to use to show off your system as the noise of jet engines, gunfire and rousing music fill the air without drowning out the clear dialogue. If you want a movie to give your system a work out, this is the one for you.
The only extra is a director's commentary to gladden the hearts of production buffs but the movie itself is a very well executed example of Hollywood film making at its best with credible performances from the leads, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman, in a thrilling piece of escapism.
If you haven't seen it yet, buckle up for a darn good yarn!
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