Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Here’s what I love about ‘Die Hard’ type movies, and this latest explosion filled, car crash fest is one of the worst offenders in recent movie history. The Bad Guys walk into a room full of Non Important Characters. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! Non Important Characters are immediately laid to rest in a bloody hail of high caliber bulletry. Now let’s say the Bad Guys walk into a room that contains a Really Important Character who can’t die. Bad guy says: FREEZE Hero Dude! Excuse me Mr. Hero while I talk mess to you with my gun drawn, unable to fire, while walking up to you real close to give you the opportunity to disarm me and use my own firearm against my stupid ass! Damn Hero Dude! You took my gun! You’re Killing Me now! Damn You! Man, you gotta love that! If you don’t love that kind of stuff, then you don’t love Real American Hero movies, and you won’t love my man Bruce Willis dusting of Big John McClane one more time in ‘Live Free or Die Hard’.

As our credits open, everything is looking all computery, with the actor’s names dissolving into ones and zeroes. That would be binary yo, so I know computers are going to figure somehow in this movie. Just call it a gift. The lovely Mai Lihn (Maggie Q) is at a computer control center getting code from numerous hackers around the land for what I’m sure is designed towards some nefarious cause. Hacker-man gets his loot transferred to his account, goes home to brag about his take to his homies, the bad guys upload a virus to his home PC which detonates about 200 pounds of C-4 under his desk sending my boy to hacker heaven. He really should have updated those virus definitions. Mai Lihn, it would appear, works for psychopathic super hacker Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) who has used the code created by the various hackers to invade the FBI and all governmental databases and has mayhem and destruction on his mind. Deputy Director Bowman (Cliff Curtis) has a list of hackers who could have pulled this off and wants them all rounded up. Trouble is most of them are dead except one Matt Farrell (Justin Long) whose death is looming.

Would you look? There goes John McClane spying on his daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth-Winstead) and roughing up her boyfriend. Not to spoil anything, but if we meet some characters daughter early in the movie, I’m guessing Bad Guys are going have her at the end of the movie. Great, we’ve met the eventual Damsel in Distress who hates her dad, and McClane gets dispatched to pick up the lone surviving hacker. Since the exploding virus thing didn’t work on this hacker, these cats decide to get down, hands on style, to end my mans life, but perhaps they should have asked somebody because John McClane is in the house baby! This is where ‘Die Hard’ turns into ‘Die Hard’ where we are treated, blessed or assaulted, depending on where you stand, with one insane action sequence after another after another. You know the routine, this Thomas Gabriel cat is bent on nothing less than basically the destruction of this great nation of ours and in that goal has legions highly trained armed gunman, unlimited resources and capitol, a karazy hot, long legged, super smart kung fu master Asian girlfriend and more guns than Texas. We have John McClane. Maybe Thomas Gabriel should go get a few more.

In watching ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ we’re not going to trip on the fact Maggie Q and Timothy Olyphant look more Gap models than hackers, and we’re not going to question why a bad guy in a helicopter hoisting a gun that shoots 8 million rounds a second, can shoot a flea out of sky, but can’t hit McClane in huge police car. We’re also not going question how McClane made that same police car fly and destroy said helicopter. Who knew Police Cars could fly? We may question the wisdom of an F-35 Lightning 2 pilot dropping missiles on a crowded New York freeway, essentially destroying the freeway in an effort to blow up a truck that he thinks has a terrorist on it though. I know terrorism is bad and all, but come on! And though we know McClane is the ultimate badass, we may think that watching him surfing on that F35 super jet is a little silly. Nope, with the disappointment that was ‘Die Hard 3’ now safely behind us, we’re just going to sit back and watch John McClane do what he do.

If you thought ‘Mission Impossible III’ had some over top action sequences, then you haven’t seen anything yet. For basically two hours cars flipped, buildings imploded, refineries exploded, bad guys get mowed down, Maggie Q kung fu kicked, Cyril Rafaelli, who you may remember from the French movie ‘B13’ ,did that amazing acrobatic stuff he does, and things exploded some more. In between action sequences, Willis and Justin Long showed a lot of onscreen chemistry together and kept the narrative reasonably fluid and cohesive with their wit and humor, and director Len Wiseman, who helmed the ‘Underworld’ series of films, and also gets to sleep with Kate Beckinsdale every night, said ‘Action’ and ‘Okay, Blow it Up!’ like a seasoned pro making while ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ one heck of a fine piece of popcorn munching, raisinette scarfing, summertime entertainment. Run-on sentence? You just read one.

Admittedly, this ain’t art. But I believe that’s what museums are for, right? And there’s an awful lot of stuff, if you take the time to stop and think about it, which I don’t recommend, that might not make a heck of a lot a sense. PBS still shows Masterpiece Theater on Sunday nights if you want enlightenment my friends. However, if you want to see police cars fly, then I just might have the movie for you.

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