On November 22nd 1963, Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) failed in his task to protect John F. Kennedy, whom died at the scene in Dallas, Texas.
Fast forward 30 years later and Horrigan is still an active agent when he receives a credible threat to the current presidents' life. Of course, the presidency receives a multitude of threats, however this one is different. A man identifying himself as 'Booth' (John Malkovich) has intimate knowledge of Horrigans' life and work, pursuing him both in person and via telephone.
To make amends for the past that still haunts him, Horrigan must fight Booth, his age and health, his superior officers and stay one step ahead of an assassin whom is willing and able to carry out his threat.
In The Line Of Fire, produced in 1993 marked the last film that Clint Eastwood would star in, before getting behind the camera. The film was a critical and financial success, garnering three Oscar nominations and propelled Director Wolfgang Petersen into the big league. Of note is the early technical feat of computer graphics, compositing newly filmed footage into vintage material, which was done for a massive $4 million. The same effects could be done today on a home computer, with relatively basic software.
In The Line of Fire is presented in the widescreen scope aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
For a film getting on in years, it looks as good as would be expected. Skin tones are perfect and colours are rendered well. There is a fair amount of detail to the image, but it is somewhat inconsistent. Some shots come off looking a little murky and ill defined when compared to others. Thankfully, there is little in the way of film artifacts on the print, and it's fairly stable with little telecine wobble.
The problems in the video quality can be fairly and squarely blamed on the condition of the master and as such, I really can't imagine the film looking much better than this, short of a full remaster, which I don't think would be a terribly good use of resources when other films (in danger of disintegrating completely) need it a lot more than this does.
A fairly good presentation of a film getting on in age, but one which won't dazzle many Blu-ray fans whom have grown accustomed to shot-on-digital type films.
The main audio track here is an English Dolby TrueHD track, at 16 bits.
For the most part, the soundtrack is more than sufficient to suit the needs of the film. While being a mostly conservative mix, there is still quite a few opportunities to create a large, believable soundstage for the action to occur in, with some infrequent, but welcome panning effects. However, it's very much a product from back in the day when audio designers were just starting to come to grips with multi-channel mixing.
Still, there are no transfer-induced issues with the mix, so I can't be too harsh. A fine mix, just one that errs on the side of caution.
Whilst there is not a whole lot here, what is here is relatively good and gives some historical background to the film.
First up is the audio commentary by Director Wolfgang Petersen and the DVD Producer J.M Kenny whom is there to act as an interviewer of sorts. Petersen talks at length revealing many tidbits and trivia notes. I learned a fair bit about the film, but you will have to be a pretty big fan of the film to get through it all.
Next up we have a bunch of featurettes. First up is The Ultimate Sacrifice. This is a pretty interesting look at the history of the Secret Service, what they do and tying in with the film; how they evolved after the death of John F Kennedy. Behind the scenes with the Secret Service covers similar ground. It's noteworthy that this film is the first that the Secret Service have actively co-operated with during production. Catching Counterfeiters ties in with the first 10 minutes of the movie and talks briefly about a further role than the Secret Service plays, in breaking counterfeiting cartels. Finally, the quick featurette How'd They Do That? takes a look at the previously mentioned cutting edge (circa 1993) special effects that digitally inserted Clint Eastwood into stock photography.
Next are a bunch of deleted scenes; five minutes in total, whose exclusion from the final film are justified.
Finally, we have a smattering of trailers, but somewhat disappointingly none for the actual film in question, which is an annoying occurrence which is happening more frequently these days.
Review Equipment Used:
Display: Sony KDL52X3100 LCD (1080p resolution/ 24p playback)
Player: Sony BDP-S500 Blu-ray, PlayStation 3 (24p playback)
Sound: Sony STR-DA5300 Receiver (7.1 configuration), Sony SSX70ED front speakers (x2), Sony SSCNX70ED center speaker, Sony SSFCR7000 surround speakers (x4), Sony SAW3800 Subwoofer, (Front) Sony SAWM500 Subwoofer (Rear)