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Overall Rating

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 William Goss

"The Return of Bruno"
4 stars

We know the drill. Neither blasphemous nor especially worthy of its legacy, this summer’s 'Live Free or Die Hard' joins the ranks of similarly overdue and underdesired sequels such as 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,' 'Jurassic Park III,' and 'Alien: Resurrection' by dusting off a seemingly sacred series and offering up adequately shallow, sporadically exciting summer spectacle under the guise of franchise continuation.

Finally matching Ellen Ripley in bouts of wrong-place-wrong-time syndrome, detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) stumbles across yet another elaborate terrorist plot when dispatched to retrieve a hacker (Justin Long, of Mac ad fame) who seems to have unwittingly aided scorned federal employee Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant, TV’s “Deadwood”) in the systematic technological takedown of America’s infrastructure over the Fourth of July holiday.

For all its extravagance, director Len Wiseman (the Underworld flicks) and writer Mark Bomback (Godsend) have created a showcase for many practical stunts, relying on CGI effects to a minimal degree and thus grounding several outlandish sequences with the suggestion of blood and bone at stake instead of pixels. The arguable highlight of the bunch – a breathless series of close calls with cars, in which McClane and Mac find themselves pinned between both directions of oncoming traffic within a darkening tunnel – is bound to affect your pulse, regardless of whoever is dodging the Dodges.

However, nearly every other scene that is merely watchable without Willis borders on worthwhile because of him. It’s world-weary McClane saving the day once more, because even in this day and age, someone still has to be willing to do what’s right, armed with elbow grease, brute force, and the occasional smirk. Long does his hectic reaction shots as best he can, and even lands a quip or two along the way; as the inevitable daughter in distress, the lovely Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes Lucy McClane out to be every bit the force to be reckoned with as her father; and Kevin Smith is adequate for his role as a hacker capable of uploading third-act exposition and doing all the right favors. Olyphant’s baddie is about as bland as they come, and only slightly more compelling is his gal pal (Maggie Q), whose kung-fu antics bring a surprisingly level of satisfaction to a mid-point confrontation that culminates in yet more elevator shaft shenanigans for McClane.

What ultimately prevents DH4 from being one of the season’s most relentless entertainments is its clunky pacing, as the narrative focus clumsily shifts the narrative focus between McClane’s perils and the necessary expository evil that is FBI Assistant Director Bowman (Cliff Curtis, in a thankless role). Every other scene consists of Bowman shouting orders, staring at screens, and being informed of just the critical info that happened to be above his pay grade. Creating an episodic rhythm at best, these scenes only allow for one’s excitement to dissipate, disbelief to recover, and bladder to empty. (Look, there are worse times…)

Although never less than familiar – there are bits here seemingly cribbed from 'Die Another Day' to 'True Lies' and beyond – 'Live Free or Die Hard' stumbles into enough of its own thrills to earn a look. If you’re looking to be blown out of the back wall of the theatre, pick up the original on DVD and use your imagination, but if you’ll settle for the edge of your seat, McClane might just have something up his sleeve yet.

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originally posted: 07/11/07 07:57:03
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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
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
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  27-Jun-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Nov-2007

  04-Jul-2007 (15)

  09-Aug-2007 (M)

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