Live Free or Die appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The film featured an unexceptional transfer.
Some minor issues stemmed related to sharpness. Though most of the flick demonstrated good delineation, some shots came across as a bit soft. These weren’t pervasive or overwhelming, but they caused a few distractions. No jagged edges appeared, but I saw a little shimmering and some edge haloes at times. In terms of source flaws, I noticed a few specks and a little grain. Otherwise, the movie looked clean.
Don’t expect a dynamic palette from Die. The colors stayed fairly natural but subdued. Within those constraints, the movie showed acceptable colors; though they weren’t memorable, they worked for the film’s design. Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, though, and shadows lacked definition. Low-light shots were rather dense and opaque. These factors added up to a lackluster transfer.
In addition, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Die was average. Music presented the most prominent aspects of the mix, as the songs and score boasted nice stereo delineation. Not much else occurred, though. Effects stayed pretty low-key most of the time. They fleshed out the spectrum to a moderate degree but rarely did anything more than that. The surrounds opened up the mix a little as well, though you shouldn’t expect anything involving here.
Audio quality seemed fine. Music was pretty lively and bright, with good range. Effects were also accurate and full, though they never did much to stand out from the crowd. Speech was also natural and concise. Overall, the track was fine for the movie but not any better than that.
In terms of extras, we open with an audio commentary from writers/directors Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin and actors Aaron Stanford and Paul Schneider. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. (The commentary also claims to include “script supervisor Carlos” and Schneider’s mom, but they barely say anything and they’re obviously just gag characters played by the participants.) They discuss script and story issues, cast and performances, locations and sets, budgetary restrictions and problems with vehicles, and a few general production notes.
The guys seem to enjoy themselves as they talk, but they don’t tell us a ton about the movie. Instead, they mostly let us know what bits they like. Though you’ll find a smattering of decent details along the way, you shouldn’t expect much from this lackluster commentary.
Two Deleted Scenes fill a total of two minutes, 39 seconds. These include “Rugged’s Fantasy” (1:43) and “Real Sister” (0:55). We also see an Alternative Ending that lasts four minutes, 31 seconds. The latter provides a happier conclusion to the tale but not necessarily a better one. As for the other clips, “Fantasy” just offers a minor – and ineffective - extension to the movie’s climax, while “Sister” is another slight addition to an existing piece. Neither works in a satisfying manner.
Next comes a six-minute and 22-second featurette called The Making of Live Free or Die. It includes remarks from Stanford, Schneider, Kavet, co-producer George Paaswell, producers Dan Carey and John Limotte, and actors Zooey Deschanel, Judah Friedlander, Michael Rapaport and RE Rodgers. The program looks at the story and characters, actors and performances, the limitations of low budget filmmaking, problems with Rugged’s van, and a few scene specifics. The show takes a broad and superficial overview. Some shots from the set prove interesting, but otherwise this proves to be a pretty forgettable piece.
Within the three-minute and 36-second Blooper Reel, we get a collection of outtakes. Except these to offer very standard goof-ups and giggles. None of the snippets stand out as memorable.
A few ads open the DVD. We find clips for The Dog Problem, A New Wave, The House of Usher, Life of the Party and Farce of the Penguins. In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, these ads appear in the Trailer Gallery.
Though Live Free or Die boasts some talent behind it, the movie never lives up to its minor pedigree. Instead, it proves painfully slow and understated. Few laughs emerge in this pedestrian comedy. The DVD presents fairly average picture and audio along with some decent extras. This is a mediocre release for a disappointing movie.