Movie Review: Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard
Year Released: 2007
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Starring: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long
Production Company: 20th Century Fox

Come and gone are the 80’s action movies. With their over the top action, defying of physics and one liners they were retired when the age of special effects entered the arena. Everyone got the memo: except for John McClane: indestructible supercop and it’s about time he came back!

Live Free or Die Hard could very well be the most fun movie for the summer 2007 season and it stands out with a point: who needs all the blue and green screen crap when you have a veritable, be it bald, action icon like Willis who’s come back in the digital age to lay down the smack: analog-style. The plot is simple: it brings forward all those Y2K era fears you had about dependency on computers, and what happens to infrastructure, government, finances and traffic when their tied into said computers. Ultra hacker Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) has devised the mass mayhem in an attempt at securing the World’s finances by way of duping hackers into cracking pieces of government code, and he does away with them with a C-4 firmware upgrade (?) that destructs when the geeks hit ‘delete’. Pretty far-fetched. It was even more farfetched that some of the terrorists were French (!).

The action is just what you’ve come to expect from the Die Hard series: it’s fast, furious, and loud. At times, it’s pretty over the top and somewhat silly: such as when McClane crashes a police cruiser into a helicopter. “I was out of bullets” an understated, if not dry use of his quick barbs. That’s another thing too, what happened to the one-liners? We were treated with a veritable cornucopia of memorable quotes:

There was the statement of obvious:
“No fucking shit, lady. Do I sound like I’m ordering a pizza?”
More obviousness:
“Who’s driving this car, Stevie Wonder?”
And my personal favourite: right at the end when he’s beating the hell out of Karl:
“You motherfucker, I’m gonna kill you! I’m gonna fuckin’ cook you, and I’m gonna fucking eat you!”

In the most recent incarnation, we’re given
“Enough of this kung fu shit”
“A little thing they invented back in the sixties called ‘jogging’. You’re gonna love it. Come on”

Okay, now that it’s down on paper, I have to say I cracked a smile over that kung fu line.

Speaking of which, with the family friendly PG-13 rating, I was a little disappointed. Viewing the first Die Hard, it was basically B movie fare that compensated not having a big star (at the time anyway) with massive amounts of blood and Willis’ trademark smart-ass one liners. And it worked great. Hell, it worked in the first, second and third instalment, not so much this time around though. Yes, I blame the rating for the lack of swearing, and Die Hard’s famous quote ‘Yippee Ki Yay Motherfucker!’ which they needlessly blanked out the last few syllable with a gunshot. So, the ratings board doesn’t like any famous four letter words, but is willing to substitute it with on screen shootings and McClane beating a girl into submission? Well, whatever works.

Oh yes, the ACTION. It’s pure and plenty, but there’s a few parts that I’m sure auto manufacturer’s hoped to cash in on, namely the parts where:

McClane drives a cop car into a helicopter.
McClane drives over a chick ninja with a Ford Explorer.
McClane drives a semi big rig into an F-18 hornet.

Plus, he steals a BMW and Kevin Smith’s old beater. To say the screenwriters might be autophiles might be stating the obvious: or point out their closet fetish.

If you want a movie with an action icon back in form, check out the indestructible human bullet John McClane kicking ass on July 4th. His old school tactics certainly work: especially when he delivers the package with a wise cracking mouth.

7.5 out of 10