Live Free Or Die Hard Review

by Ed Lau on July 27, 2007

This summer was supposed to be one of the biggest with movies like Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Carribeans: At World’s End coming out. However, Spidey turned out to be a load of overloaded emo crap and Johnny Depp’s take on a sexually ambiguous pirate is no longer entertaining. Transformers sort of redeemed this summer in terms of entertainment value but the movie was so ridiculous, taking it seriously was really difficult.

So this weekend, I saw Live Free or Die Hard, which is the fourth in the “Yippie Ki-yay, motherf**ker!” Die Hard franchise with 52 year-old Bruce Willis reprising his role as badass cop John McClane. Of course, the last Die Hard movie came out in 1995 and the high tech-bomb threats of that movie already confused the hell out of McClane. The world has changed plenty in the last twelve years and, well, it’s not easy for someone like John to adapt. One of the previews judged him as an analog cop in a digital age.

That’s the plot of Die Hard 4, really. Instead of hi-jacking a school with high explosives or taking hostages in a big tower, this time the heist takes place entirely online. Baddies Timothy Olyphant and the smokin’ Maggie Q (she’s so sexy when she’s bad…) hack into various…things…and bring the United States to a screeching halt. More on that later. Of course, just because the nature of the crime is digital doesn’t mean McClane isn’t going to try to brute force it anyways. He’s also got Justin Long, the Mac dude from the Mac commercials, a “hacker”, along for the ride.

As with all the Die Hard movies, it’s just non-stop action and wise-cracks. I don’t think there was ever a moment where five minutes passed without explosions or gunshots or helicopters getting really wet. All the action is very well scripted and entertaining. There’s one particular henchman that jumps around like a freakin’ monkey, swinging around and walking on walls. It’s all very good fun. I could have, however, done with the jet thing near the end of the film but I’ll let it slide.

What’s not fun is the whole online heist the bad guys are trying to pull. If you know anything about computers, try to forget it all before you get in the theater. Penny Arcade gets it about right with this comic. I realize not everyone is going to notice why half of the dialogue makes zero sense but when a movie costs a hundred million dollars, they couldn’t hire one IT guy to tell them “Man, that just sounds ridiculous…” What the hell is an e-bomb?

The other thing that isn’t much fun is…I think they toned down the movie. Whether it was to reach a wider audience or because some soccer moms were offended by the first three, this movie has significantly less violence and next to no profanity. Maybe the NYPD implemented a swear jar and told McClane not to kill people as gruesomely? All I know is that this Die Hard is the first to be rated PG-13 whereas all the previous ones were rated R…and we all know all the best movies are rated R. Heck, McClane doesn’t even say the last word of his signature quote. Yippie Ki-Yay just doesn’t sound the same. He does, however, get as banged up, dirty and bloody as he has before. That man just can’t die.

So while you will need to turn off your brain to believe all the stunts and dialogue, none of it is as ridiculous as that of Transformers and the movie as a whole is far more enjoyable than anything Spidey threw at us months ago. The punchlines of the comic relief are funny, the characters are likable and even with the “America! F**k yeah!” overtones, the movie is as fun as a summer action movie is going to get. Willis delivers Duke Nukem one-liners (the best being…”You just killed a helicopter with a car!” “I was out of bullets…”) and Justin Long’s sarcastic wisecrackery is fantastic. Kevin Smith has a small but funny part in the movie as well. It’s definitely not the best of the series but it’s worth watching.

Verdict: 7.5 out of 10

in Entertainment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesley July 28, 2007 at 12:32 am

i just went to see the simpsons movie. and i walked away happy. very content.


derek July 28, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Very nice review, I still need to get out and see this flick before its out of the theaters.

Being in IT myself, it always kills me to watch certain TV shows or movies that have such unrealistic technology scenes. I find it quite humorous and will keep that in mind when I finally get around to seeing this movie.

This Friday, the next in the “Bourne” series comes out and I am looking forward to that one. Maybe I should do a double feature!


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