In the Line of Fire: Special Edition
In the Line of Fire, released theatrically in 1993, was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and stars Clint Eastwood (Frank Horrigan), Rene Russo (Lilly Raines), John Malkovich (John Booth), and Dylan McDermott (Al D'Andrea). Previously released on DVD in 1997, Columbia Tristar has re-released the film as a special edition with a host of added features.
In 1963, Frank Horrigan, on the Presidential detail of the Secret Service, failed to act when he heard the fatal shots that killed President Kennedy. Since that fateful day, he's been haunted and decided to instead work uncover. However, thirty years later, the past comes back to haunt him when he investigates an assassination tip from a landlady who discovered her tenet's room was filled with JFK assassination pictures and articles. The tenet, who observed Frank in his room, refers to himself as Booth, and soon makes contact with Frank via the telephone. Booth tells Frank that he is willing to trade his life for the President's, and will kill him during the President's re-election campaign. Frank then is reassigned to the President's security detail, and with little time remaining, must piece together Booth's real identity and stop him before it's too late.
In the Line of Fire is one of my favorite films. The suspense keeps you on the edge till the last few moments and the performances are incredible. Eastwood is terrific, as usual, but the real surprise, at least for me, was Malkovich's perfectly creepy portrayal of Booth. He really makes the character work, and I can't imagine many other actors being able to pull it off as well as he did. The romantic subplot between Frank and Lilly also seemed to fit in perfectly as well. In short, this is a finely crafted film that I enjoyed tremendously.
In the Line of Fire is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is excellent. Colors are vibrant and show no signs of bleeding or smearing. Flesh tones are accurate, and blacks are deep and rich. The only slight flaw I noticed was a bit of shimmering, but this is easily overlooked; there are no marks or scratches.
In the Line of Fire is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in English, Dolby Surround 2.0 in English and French and Dolby Stereo 2.0 in Spanish and Portuguese. The 5.1 surround is simply amazing; surrounds are used frequently and with great effect. The weather, Presidential motorcades, and crowds all sound fantastic. Dialogue throughout the film is crisp and clean, and always easy to understand. There was no distortion that I could detect. Optional subtitles are also available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Thai, Korean, and Chinese.
This new edition of In the Line of Fire is loaded down with special features. First we have an audio commentary with Petersen that is a must-listen for fans of the film. He delves into numerous aspects of the film, and stays entertaining and informative throughout. Next we have four featurettes. The first is titled "In the Line of Fire: The Ultimate Sacrifice." Running about 22 minutes in length, it features interviews with real Secret Service agents and provides some insight as to their lives. Secondly, we have "Behind the scenes with the Secret Service," which runs about 20 minutes and discusses some of the history behind the Secret Service and includes several stories about the Kennedy assassination and the attempted assassination of Regan. Third up is the five minute featurette, "How'd They Do That?," which details how the special effects people were able to make the large crowds used for the film without using tons of people and how they were able to re-use Clinton's campaign footage for use in the film. And fourth is the featurette titled "Catching the Counterfeiters," which also runs about five minutes, and details the anti-counterfeiting techniques that the Secret Service uses. Next are five deleted scenes, which in total run about five minutes. None of them are that interesting, and all deserved to be cut, but they're nice to see and I'm glad they were included. Also on the disc are talent files for the director and principal actors, production notes, trailers for Air Force One and Das Boot, the teaser trailer for In the Line of Fire, and 10 TV spots.
The menus also deserve a mention, as I thought they were quite cool. When you insert the disc, a screen comes up and you see a phone ringing. You are then prompted to hit select to answer, much like on the James Bond DVDs. Once you hit select, you see a telephone conversation between Booth and Horrigan that's nicely done.
In the Line of Fire is a terrific film that everyone should at least see once. Columbia Tristar's new special edition is a must have for fans of the film; the presentation is incredible and the DVD boasts a ton of extras. Collectors Series!!!