Ron Howard's tribute to the over 1.2 million active firefighters in the U.S. features first rate production design and special effects. Particularly remarkable are the accurate images of the fire scenes providing a very convincing level of realism. The story follows two heroic brothers in their humanitarian roles as firemen in Chicago a duty upheld in their family's tradition. An arson investigation is at the center of the film's plot while impelling action depicts the true life and death struggles of today's firefighters.
Special features include a Ron Howard introduction, deleted scenes, and the following featurettes: Igniting The Story (15 minutes), Bringing Together The Team (19 minutes), The Explosive Stunts (15 minutes), and Creating The Villain: The Fire (13 minutes). There is also a nine-minute Real Life Firemen, Real Life Stories interview segment.
The VC-1-encoded 2.12:1 HD DVD picture is hurt by source element errors and a somewhat soft picture, but the well-rendered contrast and good shadow delineation make for a very dimensional image. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital Plus 5.1-channel soundtrack is limited to the front three screen channels for most of the presentation, but features impressive fidelity and dynamic range for the age of the master. (Danny Richelieu)