Tuesday, January 15, 2008


For fans of the Die Hard series, this is a no-brainer. Get this movie! For those who aren't loyalists, read on.

To this point we have had three opportunities to peek in on the crazy life of John McClane. And each time he played the character, Bruce Willis was spectacular, giving life to the renegade cop.

Of course it helped that he had good scripts to work with. I have yet to see a construction company, no matter how good, build a house out of toothpicks, napkins and super glue. Without the proper materials, even masters can't create a work of art. And make no mistake, Willis is a master.

For Willis, "Live Free or Die Hard" seems no different. He is again believable in the role of McClane and you will once again find yourself pulling for New York's toughest cop, especially when his family gets involved.

A common theme in the series has been McClane's on/off relationship with his wife, Holly Gennaro. In "LFDH," just like the third installment of the "Die Hard" franchise, there's a mention of Holly, now McClane's ex-wife, but she does not make an appearance. But that's not the end of the family angle.

The beginning of the film shows Willis' tough guy as a warm, caring parent. Ok, so he's spying on Lucy, his daughter, while she is out with a guy. The scene is fairly short, but it does add a little humor and solidifies McClane's concern for his child. It also hints that the girl will be a factor in the film. Lucy isn't necessarily important as an individual, but the character will be a bargaining chip for the bad guys, much like her mother was in the first movie.
After the encounter with his daughter, McClane gets a call to pick up a hacker that may be linked to numerous system malfunctions affecting Washington, DC. The actor, Justin Long, portraying hacker Matt Farrell is a believable fit being that he's also the Apple Mac guy from the commercials. While performing what seems to be a routine task, total chaos breaks out and McClane is caught in what seems to be a war zone. At this point he realizes it's going to be another one of those days, he just doesn't realize what he's up against.

The villains in this film have decided to engage the U.S. Government in some computer warfare. The main enemy is Thomas Gabriel, played by Timothy Olyphant (who looks a little like Ryan Seacrest). He is an unrivaled computer genius. He also is a former government employee holding a serious grudge. Of course, any criminal in a "Die Hard" movie has help and Gabriel is no different. Maggie Q plays Mai, Gabriel's main accomplice and love interest (hey, even bad guys need to be loved). She's also the one who will give John McClane one of the worst beatings of his life.

Supercop, accompanied by the brainy Farrell, spends almost the entire film trying to track down the bad guys trying to destroy the country. At times his travels seem to be a little unrealistic, but in a Die Hard flick you have to be willing to allow for creative license...lots of it. Of course that's part of the beauty of these films. They allow you to get totally away from reality and you can simply be entertained.
I'm not going to go into more details because that defeats the purpose of watching a movie. Basically, this is a Die Hard film and, while I don't think it's as good as the first or third installment of the series, it is worth watching and does justice to it's title.
Grade: 8/10
Fans of Die Hard movies will love this one. If you're not a fan, you may not be overwhelmed by it, but should still enjoy it. However, if you don't like shoot 'em ups and explosions, you're advised to look elsewhere.

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