Breakdown appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, the image looked good.
For the most part, sharpness seemed positive. Occasionally I saw some mildly soft images – mainly during interiors - but those didn’t occur with any frequency, so most of the movie looked concise and well-defined.
No jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I witnessed no edge haloes. Print flaws also remained absent.
When we considered the arid setting of most of the movie, it didn’t lend itself to a dynamic palette, and dusty amber tones dominated the tale. Some blues materialized as well, usually via clothes. These appeared well-rendered and appropriately full.
As for blacks, these seemed pretty deep and firm, while the occasional low-light shots looked clean and smooth. I felt happy with the quality of the picture.
Given the nature of the story, it shouldn’t surprise that the movie’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 focused on vehicle-related material. Since most of the story took place on the highway, this allowed the tale to deliver a fair amount of action, with cars, trucks and related elements that moved around the room in a largely concise, immersive manner.
Audio quality also worked well, with natural, clear speech and vivid music. The score seemed rich and dynamic.
Effects packed a nice punch, as those elements appeared accurate and full, with deep, resonant low-end. This became an appropriate mix for this kind of thriller.
As we move to extras, we open with an audio commentary from co-writer/director Jonathan Mostow and actor Kurt Russell. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, inspirations and influences, cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, music, editing, and related domains.
Overall, this becomes a fairly satisfying track. Mostow and Russell show a nice interaction and they deliver a mix of good insights. Occasionally the commentary leans too heavy toward happy talk, but this usually remains an engaging chat.
Also alongside the movie, we can watch with an isolated score. This comes as a lossless option, as the music boasts Dolby TrueHD stereo audio. We almost always get lossy isolated scores, so this comes as a pleasant surprise.
Some featurettes follow, and Victory Is Hers runs four minutes, 22 seconds and includes notes from actor Kathleen Quinlan. She talks about working with Russell and other aspects of her experiences on Breakdown. Though brief, this becomes an engaging chat.
A Brilliant Partnership lasts eight minutes, 18 seconds and features producer Martha De Laurentiis as she discusses the project’s development and bringing Mostow onto the production, casting and the movie’s release. Expect another useful overview.
New to the Blu-ray, Filmmaker Focus goes for 10 minutes, 46 seconds and offers more info from Mostow. He looks at the project’s origins, cast and performances, stunts, action and editing, and the film’s reception. Some of the material repeats from the commentary, but Mostow offers a mix of good new notes.
We also find an Altermate Opening. Including a two-minute, 38-second intro from Mostow, it spans 11 minutes, 40 seconds and shows additional backstory about the two leads. This all feels disconnected from the main story, so I suspect this footage would’ve been out of place in the final cut.
We can view the “Alternate Opening” with or without commentary from Mostow. He gives us info about the material and why he left it out of the final film. Actually, the intro covers the fact that the producers forced him to shoot this “Opening”, but the commentary adds a few good notes about related elements.
The disc also provides trailers. We get promos for Breakdown as well as Kiss the Girls and Hard Rain.
As far as thrillers go, Breakdown feels middle of the pack. While it provides a pretty good genre entry, it never threatens to become truly memorable. The Blu-ray boasts appealing picture and audio as well as an assortment of bonus materials. This becomes a quality release for a moderately engaging tale.