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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


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Live Free or Die Hard
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by Eugene Novikov

"Timex nothin'..."
4 stars

The worry was that the twenty-first century had long stolen John McClane's thunder. How could an old-fashioned, wisecracking good cop compete in a zeitgeist dominated by Jack Bauer and a team of genetically-altered superheroes? LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, McClane's cheerfully ambitious comeback film, comments on this: "You're a Timex in a digital age," our hero is told by the fearsome cyber-terrorist villain. Of course in a movie like this, the proposition is almost self-refuting, since McClane proceeds to drive, punch, and shoot through the bad guys' high-tech defenses. Timex, my ass. In this -- so far the summer's best blockbuster, bar none -- Bruce Willis and new director Len Wiseman prove that McClane and his ilk are not only no less relevant in the age of superpowers and omnipotent PDAs, but are, if anything, all the more badass.

This is not the year's first attempt to revive the 80's "one man..." action movie -- that honor goes to Antoine Fuqua's less skillful, perhaps more interesting Shooter, which combined the trademarks of the genre with the anger and distrust of 21st century politics. Live Free or Die Hard is more sanguine -- though, not to be outdone, it still throws a few well-timed grenades at our endlessly bureaucratic, do-nothing state -- but no less determined to put a modern spin of the genre. Instead of going the Jack Bauer route, outfitting McClane with inscrutably efficient portable electronics, it proceeds to make the technological revolution basically irrelevant: oh, you're a hacker genius? McClane will kick your ass anyway. Indeed, transcending the power of technology is precisely the point: the nation-threatening conflict is a "fire sale," in which computer-savvy baddies stage a systematic attack on the country's infrastructure. Who you gonna call?

For both better and worse, though, the film makes a concession to the era by pairing McClane with young, wise-cracking good-guy hacker Matt Farrell (Justin Long). As you might expect, this makes its stance on McClane in the internet age somewhat of a pulled punch: sure, he can cut through your high-tech defenses like butter, if he has one of the ten best hackers in the country by his side. On the other hand, the coupling introduces another great American tradition to the franchise: the buddy cop movie (yes, I know Die Hard with a Vengeance had Samuel L. Jackson, but come on). And while the usually charming Long is a bit of a grating chatterbox here, there's a nice understated affection between him and Willis, with the latter doing a nice job of modifying McClane's grim-faced persona to fit the bill.

Actually, that modification might be Live Free or Die Hard's most interesting contribution. We've always known that McClane didn't lack a sense of humor -- "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker," etc. -- here he reveals himself to be a bit of a softie, taking Farrell under his wing and having a series of tender moments with his daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who predictably gets herself in some trouble late in the film. I found myself oddly fascinated with the way this side of him is worked into his action hero persona -- he is fond of brutal (and, when aimed at a detestable supervillain, utterly delicious) taunts, and prefers his violence accompanied by wisecracks and sarcasm. The contrast comes to a head in the frightening determination with which he comes to rescue the captured Lucy, and to some extent in Lucy herself, who must be one of the toughest damsels-in-distress of all time.

Meanwhile, Len Wiseman holds up his end of the bargain in the action department, offering a non-stop series of hilariously, wonderfully implausible set pieces. When McClane, attempting to escape in a car from a helicopter, backs into a fire hydrant to have the stream of water knock the 'copter off course, I nearly lost it. But Wiseman comes through in the more quotidian action scenes, too, and Live Free or Die Hard's technical proficiency is mostly up to the franchise standard.

I say "mostly" to preface what is likely to be the strangest complaint you will ever hear levied against a film this big and this expensive: I wish Live Free or Die Hard were more polished. Careless ADR looping and some bizarre cuts occasionally jolted me out of my McClane-induced reverie. Then again, it seems like the sort of inattention to detail of which McClane himself would approve. What a strange summer when an 80's stalwart blows virtually everyone else out of the water. Not even a PG-13 rating can get in his way.

(Reprinted from filmblather.com)

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15580&reviewer=419
originally posted: 07/03/07 15:18:53
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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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