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Overall Rating
3.27

Awesome: 9.82%
Worth A Look47.32%
Average: 14.29%
Pretty Bad: 16.96%
Total Crap: 11.61%

9 reviews, 58 user ratings



Live Free or Die Hard
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by EricDSnider

"Guns and math save the day!"
4 stars

Oh, John McClane. How we have missed you! America has changed since 1995, when we last saw you. We have been attacked by terrorists. We have turned Internet geekery into a viable career option. And most of all, we have become overly concerned about cutting down on the swear words so that we can earn a PG-13 rating and thus open ourselves up to the more lucrative teen moviegoer market. We need you in times like these, John McClane!

McClane is back in "Live Free or Die Hard," a walloping action flick with a silly title, lots of smarmy tough-guy jokes, and a series of outrageously improbable stunt sequences -- exactly what you want in a "Die Hard" movie, in other words. (People who complain about this entry's ridiculous title should remember that the last one was called "Die Hard: With a Vengeance.")

Played once again with the perfect combination of bravado and snarkiness by Bruce Willis, McClane is a gruff, by-the-book NYPD detective who, through no fault of his own, winds up in the middle of plot hatched by cyber-terrorists to throw the nation's computerized systems -- which is to say, pretty much everything -- into chaos.

Congratulations are in order to the filmmakers for making such a dull-sounding crisis into something genuinely exciting. The bad guy is Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), a well-groomed, clean-cut man whose motives, at least for the first two-thirds of the film, are not entirely clear. He has a team of hackers, henchmen, and assassins to aid him in his quest for whatever-he's-doing, and he executes his plans with ruthless efficiency.

McClane has in his custody an expert hacker named Matt Farrell (Justin Long), a harmless kid who didn't know he was a pawn in Gabriel's master plan. He's also not used to the mayhem that attends John McClane everywhere he goes, which McClane himself seems grimly resigned to, even bemused by. When Matt says he's tired of people trying to kill him, McClane says, "You get used to it."

He has plenty of opportunities to do so, as the film is mostly a series of action scenes, punctuated here and there by scenes in which Matt uses his mad computer skillz to thwart evildoers. McClane's world of fighting and killing and shooting and driving cars backwards at high speeds and launching SUVs into elevator shafts is completely foreign to Matt, while Matt's connection to the brave new world of technology and cyber-terrorism is baffling to McClane. In the 21st century, you can't save the day with guns alone. Now you need guns and a DSL connection.

John McTiernan, director of the first and third "Die Hard" movies, is onboard as a producer this time. The directorial duties are handed off to Len Wiseman, whose two lousy "Underworld" films barely hinted at the talent for staging impressive stunt sequences that he exhibits here. Helicopters, police cars, and fighter jets are all involved, as well as a lot of good old-fashioned hand-to-hand butt-kicking. It's been a while since we've had something as enjoyably bombastic and explosive as this. It feels like a summer blockbuster: A little dumb, a little smart, and a lot loud.

It's pretty funny, too, thanks to Willis and Long, two actors from different generations whose wise-cracking sensibilities mesh surprisingly well. Willis has that deadpan smirk; Long has his Gen-Y straight-faced irony; as a team, they can express their frustrations with succinct, cutting sarcasm. I like that McClane doesn't just kill a bad guy's assassin girlfriend; he has to then taunt the bad guy with that fact every time he talks to him. McClane is a bastard -- a patriotic, get-the-job-done bastard. You wouldn't want to mess with him, but you would want to eat pizza and watch football with him.

The film, with a screenplay by Mark Bomback ("Godsend"), stretches credulity almost to the breaking point by dragging McClane's daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) into things, a transparent attempt to fulfill the action-movie requirement that all heroes have a personal connection to the proceedings. I'm a little bothered by the endless collateral damage, too, with what must be dozens of fatal or near-fatal car accidents and other mishaps occurring regularly. The unstated message is always, "Don't worry! The characters whose names we know are all OK!"

Then there's the rating. It's PG-13, which means there's no end to the violence, but we hardly see any blood or corpses. So, you know, it's OK for kids, as long as their Parents Are Strongly Cautioned. They clearly had an R rating in mind when they shot the film, though, because there are many instances where the words you hear do not match what the actors lips would indicate. There are several more places where they've intentionally used shots where we can't see the actors' mouths at all, apparently to hide the fact that their dialogue was dubbed in later. It doesn't diminish the film's entertainment value, but it does mean it loses some technical points. Plus, it's a glaring reminder that movies like this, as fun as they are, aren't made JUST for fun. They're commercial properties, too.

In John McClane's day, they made movies packed with violence and profanity, movies that were proud of their R ratings! John McClane would never watch a watered-down PG-13 "Die Hard" movie! John McClane eats movies like that for breakfast. We need you, John McClane, now more than ever.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15580&reviewer=247
originally posted: 06/27/07 16:37:13
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell good action sequel alot better than die hard 2 4 stars
3/17/16 Charles Tatum 'Salright 4 stars
7/08/12 BongThom Perfect review. 1 stars
2/03/11 Richard79 Almost unidentifiable as a Die Hard. Just another superhero movie for teenagers. 1 stars
12/17/10 fartvenugen preposterous and completely lame. 1 stars
10/27/10 Stirling Review by brianorndorf is spot on 1 stars
10/17/10 Stirling Spot on review. Disgraceful sequel. Die Hard 5? No Thanks! 1 stars
10/11/10 Eduardo It features the most stupid plot ever. Even an action movie has to have a plot, this doesnt 1 stars
12/24/09 brian i hope they make another one so everyone will be yelling "please die already!" 2 stars
12/03/09 R.W. Welch Too over-the-top to really get into, but lively enough. C+ 3 stars
10/01/09 Zefram Way better than expected. 4 stars
8/20/09 Jeff Wilder Gets the job done. Better than the second. But not as good as the original or third. 3 stars
10/09/08 jojo22 i loved it!! go BRUCE! 4 stars
9/27/08 Ian Can you explain why Asian hooker jokes are funny and not racist? 2 stars
7/25/08 Adam Too much of a mockery and an insult to the Die Hard series. 2 stars
7/22/08 the dork knight I am a staunch defender of Die hard 3. But not this one 2 stars
5/14/08 PAUL SHORTT CLATTERS NOISILY DOWN THE LIFT SHAFT INTO OBLIVION 2 stars
3/31/08 Monday Morning I don't want to spoil it for anyone but Bruce Willis and The Mac Guy save America. YAY!!!! 3 stars
3/15/08 Lucifugerofocale Brilliant took an out of date franchise and revamped for the modern audience 5 stars
3/03/08 ladavies If you like non stop action you will love this 4 stars
2/08/08 Anthony Feor Bruce Willis obviously knows how to keep tradition alive 4 stars
1/25/08 Tim A compleIe sellout and ludicrous in the extreme. Sinks a series that started off great. 1 stars
1/18/08 X Wang Decent action movie - obiviously not as great as the previous ones 4 stars
12/30/07 Austin Wertman loved it 5 stars
12/21/07 MP Bartley Decent enough, but too tame to really thrill. Smith's cameo is horrendous. 3 stars
12/13/07 ES Sadly the best part of this film was that it could be turned off. Die Hard has finally die 2 stars
12/05/07 dude loved it 5 stars
11/25/07 Servo Worst of the Die Hard flicks ... means it's still well worth watching 3 stars
11/20/07 Matt Plain impossible, plain daft-but who cares? Great fun, welcome back Bruce! 4 stars
11/17/07 mr.mike Willis and the movie are great.The ending borrows from "License To Kill" 4 stars
11/05/07 mb Love Bruce Willis. Awsome action movie from begining to end. 5 stars
10/06/07 Descent Passable but lacking in genuine tension and drive 3 stars
9/20/07 Johnnyfaye Okay plane and simple, if you didn't like this movie than you're not a die hard fan. 3 stars
9/06/07 Charles R.L.Power Clichéd and implausible, but carries the viewer along anyway 3 stars
9/03/07 Drooch Shallow, noisy cream-puff for teens. Total sellout. Where's the real McLane? 1 stars
8/31/07 Alex Hosking Nonestop computer enhanced action from beginning to end. A total waste of time. 1 stars
8/27/07 Private Obtuse and absurd but still manages to be moderately entertaining genre film. 3 stars
8/14/07 jimmy This movie was just a tv movie of the week with a 100 million budget and Bruce Willis in it 1 stars
8/07/07 David Graham Best of the sequels, an action flick to die hard 4. 5 stars
7/30/07 matt the swearing and smoking has to return in 5..sort it out fox 4 stars
7/28/07 Jiz Delivers the goods, Justin Long is a terrible actor though. 4 stars
7/28/07 Harry An insult to the series...shame 1 stars
7/22/07 jdm I loved it, non-stop action start to finish, best of the summer so far 5 stars
7/21/07 ben dover mclane is the man fantastic 5 stars
7/20/07 Brian Mckay The Techbabble is almost as retarded as on "24", but I don't watch porno for the plot, dig? 4 stars
7/17/07 Alexander Not a classic, but so wasn't the third one. Oldschoold action-movie with not too much CGI. 4 stars
7/05/07 Quigley Just go see it for the car crashes, stunts, explosions, and...of course...John McClane. 4 stars
7/05/07 damalc just more of the same for John McClane 2 stars
7/04/07 zaw Action Packed as I expected!!!! 5 stars
7/02/07 ahnold It was ok. Formulaic plot lines hurt movie (e.g.daughter=hostage);as did impossible escapes 3 stars
7/01/07 CrazyJayy Never thought twice about the PG13 or 12 years ago...this was fun--point blank!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/30/07 Blizz A total disgrace to the series, no matter what anyone else says...don't listen! 1 stars
6/29/07 KingNeutron Unabashed 5 *'s, hopefully the DVD will give us the Director's cut. 5 stars
6/29/07 Ole Man Bourbon It's what it should be, good action, good performances by Willis and Long. 4 stars
6/29/07 Mick A bunch of flag waving crap that is so 80's. 1 stars
6/29/07 Matt I thought this was a good movie true to the franchise. PG-13 may have cripled it somewhat. 4 stars
6/28/07 Steve Big fan of the series and disagree with the reviewer. I thought it was great! 5 stars
6/28/07 Paul Might not be "artistic" but it was a lot of fun to watch from beginning to end. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  27-Jun-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Nov-2007

UK
  04-Jul-2007 (15)

Australia
  09-Aug-2007 (M)



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