Courage Under Fire (Blu-ray)
Picture: B Sound: B+ Extras: C+ Film: B
military has a strange case where their first ever female Medal Of Honor winner
(Meg Ryan) is dead and the stories form each of the other soldiers there blame
her for a miscalculation that caused her demise. It seems like a shame, keeps the military
squarely in its male-dominated mode and seems like a shut case. However, an exceptional Army investigator
(Denzel Washington) slowly discovers that something is not adding up about the
facts and reports, and decides to make deeper inquiries no matter what the
consequences in Edward Zwick’s terrific thriller Courage Under Fire (1996).
explores the meaning of integrity and honor as much as it does the
well-constructed mystery and all of its deep implications. Washington plays the role to no-nonsense
perfection, but the true surprise here is the stunning performance by Meg Ryan,
who was insanely ignored by the critics and at awards time for what is one of
the greatest performances she’ll ever give.
Post 9/11, this would have never been ignored, but over a decade later,
as the film and the work of all endure, it is obvious it was just too intense
for those used to her romantic comedy roles.
Moriarty, Scott Glenn, Bronson Pinchot, Lou Diamond Philips and a still
then-unknown and often unrecognizable Matt Damon co-star in what might be
director Ed Zwick’s most underrated film.
It did not so the business it deserved at the time and Fox has made an
extremely wise decision to make it one of their early Blu-ray discs. Cheers also to the underrated, clever,
mature, heart & soul screenplay by Patrick Sheane Duncan, who pulls off two
genres masterfully in one fine work.
1.85 X 1 digital MPEG-2 @ 18 MBPS High Definition image looks good, but also
looks like an older HD transfer with edge enhancement and other pre-HD
manipulations here and there that hold back portions of Roger Deakins’,
A.S.C./B.S.C., terrific cinematography.
Otherwise, this is superior to the best DVD version and one of the best
back catalog Blu-ray titles to date. The
DTS HD Master Audio lossless 192kHz/24-bit 5.1 has a fine mix of moments that
really kick in and others that have a subtler soundfield with character. Besides the superior DTS track for which no
one as of this posting has the HD chip, but this title offers the new D-BOX
The D-BOX Technology Odyssee Motion Simulator is a new
version of the classic system Sensurround, except that it has more direct bass
and motion placement like a specialty amusement park attraction. Most people will not have this item either as
of this posting, but it may catch on and this will be one of the primary titles
that will make its success possible. We
look forward to retesting the sound on this title often. Needless to say this has none of the problems
of the HD-DVD and Blu-ray of Zwick’s The
Extras include a trivia track, the original theatrical
trailer in HD and Zwick’s feature length audio commentary worth your time, much
like the film itself.
- Nicholas Sheffo