This reviewer remembers the initial excitement and ultimate disappointment upon seeing the original theatrical showing of “BACKDRAFT”.  The scriptwriter was good, Ron Howard-sometimes “great” director, and a great cast!Unfortunately, the fact that Howard didn’t cringe upon seeing Donald Sutherland’s character being such a blatant rip-off of Hanibal Lector, is unforgivable!  “BACKDRAFT” is actually one of the worst scripts “ever” written and it’s shameful that great actors had to work with it!  Donald Sutherland, such a great actor having to say lines like, “The fire, I can hear it talk to me”, …aargh!!!The action sequences with fire are the only good thing in the film.  Never before have fire scenes been so dramatically powerful.  Howard does his technical research for this film and the viewer is drawn right into what’s happening during these hair-raising moments. 

UNIVERSAL has provided a stellar transfer for this HD-DVD image.  There weren’t CGI effects to speak of when this film was made, so the actual sets and the way in which fire is designed to work on them, looks spectacular.  Colors are rich in every scene. The blacks and grays are deep, aiding to the film’s look in the darkest scenes.  Detail is flawless throughout. This is a great looking HD-DVD!

UNIVERSAL has provided a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 mix.  It’s an aggressive mix, offering non-stop discrete and panning effects.  The bass effects during explosions really shake the room with a 3-Dimensional effect. The dynamic range for this release is among the best so far on HD-DVD. Again, “BACKDRAFT” on HD-DVD is a spectacular “DEMONSTRATION QUALITY” HD-DVD.

There are plenty of extras, including featurettes and numerous deleted scenes.