Maniac Grade: B+
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Taking us where we have been before, and i am still loving it!
June 28, 2007
Hi all, I haven’t written anything like this for a LONG time so apologies if it isn’t too insightful, but hell I had fun writing it! Enjoy …
I wanted to give my thoughts on LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, the 4th installment to the revered DIE HARD series. First let me start of by saying this. This film is NOT as good as the first, but far surpasses the second two, and even most of the movies I have seen this summer. Pirates dragged on pointlessly, Spidey was filled to the brim with crap no one wanted to see, and even Shrek was stripped to its bare bones with a plot thinner than the original FANTASTIC FOUR movie (and that’s hard to do.) This movie sticks to its formula, receiving positive and negative reactions for it. It notably takes us where we have been before, and give us what we want to see as fans.
The film, obviously, centers around our frequent accidental hero John McLane (Willis), who is trying, with little success, to connect with the only person from his life still around, his chip-off-the-old-block daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). After a little tiff with Lucy, McLane is called to pick up a hacker named Matt Farrell (Justin Long) who is wanted for questioning about a recent hack into the United States technological infrastructure. Turns out Matt unwittingly helped cyber terrorist Thomas Gabriel, and his smoking hot Asian girlfriend Mia (Timothy Olyphant and Maggie Q) start a supposedly mythical three step system to shutting down the US infrastructure. Apparently, Gabriel tried to bring this security problem to the governments attention. But instead of fixing the problem, the government tosses him out, and leaves him without a name, or reputation. This pisses him off a bit because here Gabriel is, back with a vengeance (no pun intended).
Willis seamlessly picks the character of McLane right back up from where he left off, playing him as a calm, been-there-done-that character, but one who still loses control a few times when provoked. Justin Long, isn’t given much to do as a cliché hacker character, but it works to the films advantage, so that we the audience can have a kind of narrator along the way. Olyphant as always is great, playing a true nerd. The best part is, Olyphant doesn’t try to make the bad guy a though character, like the others from the previous die hard films. He aims to be nerdy, with a hint of menace, and it works well. Maggie Q and Winstead don’t have much to say but when they do, they shine just as bright as the other stars.
Now for the bad, which isn’t much, but just enough to mention. Here are the obvious ones.
We have seen this before. It’s the same subject matter set to a different story. This was the studios intention of course, and it works well for the fans giving them things to get excited about. But to people looking for something never done before, they will turn their noses away from this film. Then there is the above mentioned “hacker cliché.” The columnist on mania.com said it best! A personal complaint/question by me would be, why the hell does ducking under something always mean the bullets WONT hit you? Such as the plane shooting the truck McLane is driving. Another controversy would be the PG13 rating. Honestly, there is NO reason for this rating. It doesn’t hinder the movie any other than the fact Willis doesn’t say the f word every other line, but it would have been a nice bonus to hear the course language.
The movie tries notably to bring us what we want and it works on many levels, such as well done, and edge of your seat action sequences and a dash of strong emotion from all the characters. Even McLane has some, which leaves you wondering weather he really wants to be involved in the worlds problems, or just holed up in his own. But we all know when the world needs someone to step up and save the day, McLane will always be there, accidentally of course, but he will still be there.
All in all the movie rocks, go see it! Click here to read the staff review by Mania.