Written by Mark Bomback
Directed by Len Wiseman
Running Time: 2:10
for intense sequences of violence and action,
language, and a brief sexual situation
Live Free or Die Hard was a solid action film which was only hampered by a cyber story line.
12 years after we last saw him, Detective John McClane is back and once again put into a position he wasn't ready for. This time some cyber terrorists have taken control of the nation's computer system. McClane, thinking he only had to go pick up a suspect for the FBI, instead gets put right into the middle of the fight as the bad guys are trying to kill his suspect. It's just a case of McClane doing his job, until the terrorists go after his daughter. Then, it becomes personal.
I'm not sure how many people had been clamoring for a fourth Die Hard movie, but from the reaction of the audience, Live Free or Die Hard will continue the box office business of the other three. With every action sequence, the crowd roared with approval. Seeing Bruce Willis back in his signature role was kind of like seeing an old friend. He's got the same gruff demeanor, the same 'wish I could be somewhere else' tone in his voice, but when the chips are down, there's no one you want to be on your side more than John McClane. I thought for the most part, the movie was pretty entertaining. There was a lot of action and the set pieces were very impressive. Unbelievable at times yes, but still impressive. And Bruce Willis can still hold his own doing the stunts. He's obviously a little older than he was in the previous films, but he hasn't lost a step. Adding in Justin Long was good for comedic purposes, although he ended up getting more of the laughs than Willis did. McClane seems to have grown up some and isn't just there to make jokes.
The only downside to the film was the cyber story line. While it's nice to bring the movies into the 2000s, whenever they needed to move the story along, it amounted to nothing more than a bunch of guys typing away at a computer. That's not the most exciting thing in the world to watch, and while at first it was interesting, after a while you just kept hoping the typing would be quick. Thankfully, there were some pretty good fight scenes centered around the computer, most notably Willis and Maggie Q going head to head in one fantastic fight.
As I said before, the action sequences were pretty impressive. I know they wanted to try and go as low tech as possible, but some of that stuff was insane. Driving a car into a helicopter is only the tip of the iceberg. There's an entire sequence towards the end of the film that they don't really show in the previews, but let's just say it involves a semi-truck and an F-35 fighter plane staring each other down. The real enjoyment of the Die Hard series is that it's just old fashioned action. People get hurt, fall off buildings, lie, cheat, steal... whatever it takes to get the job done. Live Free or Die Hard is unapologetic about its violence and pretty much everyone you see will eventually be shot.
The one big thing this movie had going for is, is that it's been the only movie so far this summer that didn't disappoint. None of the trio of threequels from earlier this summer lived up to expectations. They all rested on their laurels, assuming people would be willing to pay to see whatever was put on screen. Not that they were all bad; they just weren't as good as the previous films. I don't know if it was the decade wait in between films or not, but Live Free or Die Hard gave me what I wanted from it: a strong Bruce Willis and some great action.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Live Free or Die Hard. The story slowed the movie down somewhat, but the action was fantastic. If you're looking for a good, old-fashioned action flick with some high tech gadgetry thrown in, this is the one to see.
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