In the Line of Fire (1993) | 4K Blu-ray Review

Released to theaters in 1993, In the Line of Fire follows Frank Horrigan, an aging U.S. Secret Service agent as he becomes entangled with a mysterious killer intent on assassinating the sitting president. Aside from attempting to track down the identity of a killer, who seems to relish in the pursuit by a worthy opponent, he also has to battle the bureaucracy, politics and his own past demons that seem to get in his way every step of the way.

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-100)
Digital Copy (Movies Anywhere)
Released By:Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date:June 15th, 2021
Video Format / Codec:H.265 / HEVC
Resolution:Native 4K
2160/24p (3280 x 2160 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K from 35mm negatives
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.39:1
Audio Format(s):English: Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 16-bit)

Audio tracks also available in French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin), Thai
Subtitles:English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Thai
Packaging:Single disc case with slipcover*
Region Coding:Region-free

Video Review:

The visual presentation of In the Line of Fire has taken a big leap forward on this release. The detail extracted from the original negatives during the remastering process is remarkable. The smallest of threads and the details on the closeups are clearly presented. For evidence, look no further than the detail displayed in John Malkovich’s close ups of his mouth,. during communications with Eastwoods’ Horrigan, revealing the finest of detail in his stubble and micro-creases in his lips as he speaks. 

As for the HDR, as this is not the most vibrant of movies, the biggest impact is seen in the black levels. One only has to look at the final banquet scene for evidence of the skill and care in grading of this film to maintain the details within the black tuxedos, which in the previous release appeared dark gray. There is not much in the way of crushed blacks except where appropriate (i.e. the shadows were clearly intended to mask details from the viewer). The whites do pop, without being blown out, and the few scenes with more robust color do appear rich without appearing oversaturated.

There are a couple of scenes that appear a bit soft for just a fleeting moment or two, but given the care given to the rest of the film, one would assume this is how it is on the negative itself and therefore looks as best as it can given what they had to work with.

Is this presentation perfect? No, but it is pretty darn close for a film released in 1993, and a very fine effort by the remastering team at Sony to bring back an aging film to impress in an age of crispy 4K modern films.

Video Score: 4.8 / 5

Audio Review:

When I was first reading about the upcoming release of a 4K blu ray of this film, I found it a pleasant surprise that they decided to upgrade the audio. Given the nature of the film and the age, it would not have been surprising if they had kept solely a 5.1 surround track. But instead we get a completely new Dolby Atmos track and boy does it deliver. By comparison, the TrueHD 5.1 track on the previous release sounds anemic and hollow, but that is not a knock on that track, but a huge compliment to the team that remastered the audio on this release. 

The bass is punchier and more impactful when it needs to be, but not overbearing. The rumble of the motorcycles leading the motorcade, or impact of gunfire during the climatic shootout all have much more life and impact that really draw you in. Also notable is the ambiance of the track. During the motorcade scene, the crowd noise is encompassing and during the climactic shootout scenes, the chaos of the fleeing crowd and urgency of the security team’s actions are not just seen, but heard and felt in a way the previous release did not deliver. The score is also enhanced to increase the tension felt in several scenes throughout the movie. Most importantly with all of the other enhancements is that the dialog remains clean and clear throughout the presentation.

Audio Score: 4.5 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

The special features available on the UHD/4K disc appear to be a direct port from the previous blu-ray release in the same content and quality. While die hard fans would hope for additional features, the past blu ray featurettes, commentary and interviews are still a great watch if you have help off on watching them or this is your first experience with the movie.

The packaging of this slipcover edition serves its purpose well, but is not a standout. The printing is clear on the slipcover and case art. It was a nice touch that there was the inclusion of artwork on the disc itself as well. That said, I am still a proponent of the inclusion of the standard blu-ray and so it was disappointing that this was a standalone disc. I imagine we’ll see more and more of this as the trend has been increasing, but for now, I will knock down a few ticks for this release due to its absence.

Score: 3 / 5


Let’s get the upgrade question out of the way up front. If you own the standard blu-ray, should you upgrade it?

Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

Even though the past blu-ray release was very good for its release date (it was released in 2008, which was fairly early in the days of blu-ray), this is absolutely worth upgrading. The visual improvement, particularly the black levels and crispness of detail will impress even the most demanding of critics. The remastered Dolby Atmos track is reference quality for a movie of this genre and vintage, and a noticeable jump up from the previous TrueHD 5.1 track on the standard blu-ray disc. 

If you currently own the existing blu-ray copy, you may consider hanging on to it as well, especially if not all of your regular viewing locations are 4K/HDR enabled. But if that is not a consideration, I would not hesitate to recommend you sell that off and pick up this release.

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Summary and Overall Scores:

Sony has once again shown why they have a reputation for putting out fantastic UHD blu-ray releases. The video and audio quality of this release are shining examples of a properly executed remaster. 

Experience Score**: 4.5 / 5 

** Release score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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