Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
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Review Date: June 28, 2007
Director: Len Wiseman
Writer: Mark Bomback
Producers: Michael Fottrell, John McTiernan, Arnold Rifkin, Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis as John
Justin Long as Thomas
Timothy Olyphant as Thomas
Detective John McLane is back and this time he’s caught in the middle of a cyber-hacking scheme to bring the U.S. to a halt. McLane is responsible for taking care of one particular hacker, who seems to have gotten in a little over his head. What ensues is a whole lot of action, a whole lot of tits and ass and a whole lot more action. Well okay, there are no tits and ass in the film, but there is plenty of action! Bruce Willis ensues.
This was a good action movie. It wasn’t a great action film because its storyline was preposterous (even for an “action movie”) and its bad guys were pretty lame, but overall the scenes featuring action were a’plenty, the film’s pace and rapid fire dialogue were spot-on and most importantly, the man of the hour, the man with the plan, Detective John McLane (aka Bruce Willis) kicked ass, took numbers, kicked a little more ass and took down some more numbers. If you’re one to point out implausibilities in movies though, you should totally avoid this film as it’s jam-packed with moments that will make you go “That makes no sense, dude!” including the federal government seemingly paralyzed by a terrorist attack, while one NYPD officer is able to take them ALL on, figure it ALL out and save his daughter and the entire United States of America, at the same time. Mind you, he’s Johnny fuckin’ McLane, but still!! It seems like the baddies got into high-security places way too easily and to be honest with you, the same goes for McLane, who ended up breaking into the baddies’ high-security spots like one would walk into a flea market. Seriously folks, the security in these places was a joke and the film makes the U.S. look like it’s actually dropped back a few steps after 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, but hey….as they say in the good book: “It’s just a movie!”. So I’ll let all those over-the-top moments go and stick to the stuff that did work in the film which were its action sequences and plenty of them!

Kudos to director Len Wiseman for not overdoing it on the quick-editing and allowing us to see the action, for the most part. There were explosions, shit with guns, shit with cars, shit with helicopters and even a wicked cool fight vis-à-vis Maggie Q (who up until that point, was basically just rebooting her character from MI-3). There’s also a damn sweet highway attack featuring an F-35 jet and a big-rig truck that had me salivating in the “ball area”. Add that to a nice supporting turn from Justin Long, who I’ve adored since GALAXY QUEST, hotness via the aforementioned Asian hottie and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, a fun little cameo by the king of the fanboys, Kevin Smith, and you’ve got yourself a nice package that certainly did not seem to be affected by its PG-13 rating (the first 3 DIE HARD flicks were rated R). With all of the film’s pre-release negativity over its teen rating, it ultimately turned out to be a non-issue. Sure, the infamous “Yippee-ka-yay motherfucker” felt a little forced (and compromised), but again, McLane kept rockin’ hard and Bruce still looks like he can handle a couple of more of these, so props to the man with the Superman-like abilities. I think he does get the most hurt in this film though; to the point that you’re thinking that he’s Michael Myers or something…you ever gonna die, man?!? Oh, and as for Timothy Olyphant as the leader of the bad guys: meh. I actually really dig Olyphant, adored him in GO (if you haven’t seen that film, check it out like…today!), was scared by him in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and love his character in “Deadwood”, but he just seemed miscast here. Too young.

I want the dude behind all of this major nastiness to be a Hans Gruber type…you know, old, pissed-at-the-world and German or some shit!! (hehehe) Olyphant’s baby-face just didn’t cut it for me completely, but having said that, the man did his best in the part and certainly didn’t stink or anything…I just think a more experienced character would have pulled me further into the plot. The rest of his goons were also pretty one-dimensional and too easy to kill (except for Q), but the film still moved at a clip, never bored me, offered an “interesting” enough story-line for me to follow, and again, slam-dunked about half a dozen fun action sequences around the great McLane, enough for me to be entertained for the entire run of the picture. Just like Bond tweaked its formula to “fit into” the new world of action cinema today (i.e. become more like BOURNE), the folks behind DIE HARD have done the same thing here, bringing their hero into the new age with more action, more technology and less fuck yous. I enjoyed it overall, but still kinda missed…you know, the ol’ style of action movies. Then again, maybe I’m turning into an old fart.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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