Live Free of Die Hard
 (June 28) I'm going to be honest with you. When I took that fateful stroll into the movie theater to see "Live Free or Die Hard," I knew what I was getting into. I expected a pointless, extravagant action flick that bared zero resemblance to the film franchise I respect and admire.

But it was worse than I expected.

Not only did I get a generic shoot-‘em-up flick that contained none of the heart and fun of the previous "Die Hard" films but I also got an incredibly dumb and unoriginal action film.

It's 2007 and NYPD Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is sporting a hip new look, complete with a shiny bald head that leaves him looking more like Mr. Clean than a down-and-dirty cop.

The plot, shallow and simple like a kiddie pool, goes like this: A techno-mastermind (Timothy Olyphant) engineers a plan to shut down the entire computer and technological infrastructure that supports the United States.

As you may have guessed, it's up to good ole John McClane to take down this ingenious villain with the help of a young computer hacker (played by Justin Long of the now-iconic Mac commercials).

Don't get me wrong. I like the "Die Hard" trilogy, which has reigned supreme at the top of the explosion-packed "movies for guys who like movies" food chain since its last outing in 1995.

I also like Bruce Willis. But lately, he's just getting lazy. He looks the same in every movie, and it seems that he just plays himself in every role. He's got so much money and clout in Hollywood that he can whisper in the ears of his directors and talk them into letting him keep a shaved head. As much as he tried to bring McClane to life in this movie, his performance just doesn't work. I'm about as convinced as an angst-ridden 17-year-old at a magic show.

And you know what? It's not all Willis's fault. Long comes off as a cookie-cutter sidekick with little to offer besides explaining the plot to the audience as the film drags on. Long is a funny guy, sometimes, and he succeeds a few times here. But he's fighting an uphill battle. The dialogue in "Live Free or Die Hard" is just plain bad. Did a fifth-grader come up with these one-liners and snappy comebacks?

Then there's Olyphant, who has even less to offer as a villain. Unlike the villains in the previous "Die Hard" flicks, Olyphant's Thomas Gabriel falls short of being a mastermind and even shorter of being a ruthless one. He mostly just throws computers and talks trash to his enemies via Web cam.

Maybe the movie's only saving grace is Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays McClane's daughter Lucy. She brings a little life to an otherwise played-out funeral of a film.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention Kevin Smith. As you may have guessed, his goofy inclusion in this film is pointless and awkward. He plays yet another lame sidekick, complete with bad acting and cheesy dialogue.

As if a shaky plot and bad performances weren't enough to hold this film down, then there's the whole ratings fiasco. The past three installments in the "Die Hard" series have all been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America.

"Live Free or Die Hard" sparked controversy because it was edited to obtain a PG-13 rating. That was, of course, to reach a broader audience and make more money. Corporate greed tramples on the soul of art yet again, not that "Die Hard" is fine art. But c'mon, when you see an action flick, you want explosions, graphic violence, plenty of dirty words and maybe some full frontal nudity, right?

This film had lots of explosions and over-the-top action sequences but zero of the rest. McClane didn't even get to use his catch phrase, "Yippee-Ki-Yay, Motherf**ker." It's really his only character-defining line, and they deprive him - and the audience - of it. How sad.

All in all, "Live Free or Die Hard" feels like someone sat down, watched the "Die Hard" trilogy and decided to make a Weird Al Yankovic parody of it. It's a popcorn flick that makes no qualms about being bad. If you're into that sort of thing, then by all means go see it.

Reviewed by: adam
31 Comment(s)
Shea said...
The first one is a masterpiece, the third and fourh are whatevers and the second is by far the worse.
Adam said...
haha, random that we would comment on this cesspool of cinema - but I dunno, I think 3 (and even 2) are better than this one - as ridiculous as they were, at least they were logical in some ways and had an element of believability to them... minus that whole ejector seat deal
Adam said...
Oh and of course the original "Die Hard" is probably the finest pure action film of our time, no doubt. I've never been really invested in the series though, and my extremely low rating here reflects that - but I guess I would compare this to a "Alien: Resurrection" or even the "AVP" movies - just one of those "went back to the well too many times" kinda deals. One thing is for sure, it's better than "Batman & Robin." I guess...
Come on... is this a joke? You guys are serious? I'm seriously considering the credibility of this site on this one... Die Hard 4 was no amazing piece of cinema, but it was fun! I enjoyed myself... Die Hard 2 was a waste of film. If it wasn't for Sammy Jackson I would have put 4 above 3 as well.

I loved the blown up White House scene...

This is just ridiculous...

But then again, maybe it's my brain that has no credibility. I enjoyed Alien 4, and AVP-1 as well... again not great cinema, but they were fun to watch. AVP-2 was possibly one of the worst movies I've ever seen though.
Shea said...
Yeah... I hate #2. I could barely make it through.
Paul said...
Yeah Chris I agree with you. While not on level with the original, I think still a pretty good action flick. I think people see it as a bastardization of a movie franchise *cough* Indy 4 *cough* and can't appreciate it as an entertaining film.

Personally I liked AVP2 better than 1, and thought Alien 4 was sorta ridiculous. But I also thought Fantastic Four 2 was decent, when others say it's the worst piece of cinema ever, even more so than Batman & Robin.
Adam said...
This movie was awful, I'm sorry - but it was. Do you recall when US Airforce planes actually began firing on civilians during traffic knocking out bridges and such? It's just completely dumb, impossible things like that which make this movie even worse.

The Die Hard films prided themselves on realistic action sequences (for the most part) - I didn't feel that once in this movie, everything was so choreographed - the majority of the stunts involved CG cars or jets or whatever, that it just didn't feel right.

And the villain, geez - Um I'm just going to sit here in front of a webcam and throw hissy fits until John McClane comes and whispers the f-word before defeating me.

Shea said...
Die Hard 4 never bothered me so much. Like it is ridiculous at times but at least it was well done ridiculous. Better than 2... can i say it enough. What's the difference in Die Hard and say... SHoot'em Up? Is it because we still hold Die Hard to its near perfect parent? Probably.

This flows into the same argument as Indy 4 I agree Paul.

I like AVP 1 better than 2. I was bored out of my mind in 2.

Alien 4 is a sin.

I give this Die Hard 2 stars... but hey this comes from the guy who gave the Ruins 2.5.
Paul said...
Like Indy 4?
Adam said...
I'm with Shea and Chris on AVP 1, I enjoyed it quite a bit at the time, though I knew it was very far off from the original. 2 caused a part of me inside to die violently and yes Alien 4 is a sin and never really existed.

1 star, 2 stars, we're still polishing a turd.
Paul said...
I can't believe you can step on the throat of Die Hard 4 because of some minor ridiculousness, and not call out the overflow of absurdity that is AVP1.
Adam said...
I guess b/c that ridiculousness is pale in comparison to AVP:R

Paul said...

I think there's only one thing that can settle this, AVP Marathon. Break out Tom Servo for a MST3K homage.
Adam said...
What if we did this,

Batman & Robin
Die Harder
Live Free or Die Hard
House of the Dead
Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Alien Vs. Predator
Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem

if we're still alive by the end of it, we'll go watch the dark knight again to clear the suicidal thoughts away
Paul said...
Only if we can add Catwoman
Shea said...

I dont know where to begin... i wanted to rush in with my saber and slice some heads but somehow things have seemed to cool down.

I am just glad to see the spotlight is controversal again.

I enjoyed D4... it was fun. I laughed. I made fun of it. I rolled my eyes. But I was still awe inspired by its action and felt a little tensed out. Especially the elevator scene. A turd maybe... but we all enjoy a good poop every now and again.

There was still some sick scenes in AVP 1. This was the first time we say the two species fighting on the big screen and it was exciting. AVP2 is just recycled trash.

Indy 4 sucks and I can't believe a man who defends Indy 4, bashes D4, bashes Outlander trailers, and has no hope for T4, and this same guy is giving D4 a bad review.

But of course this post is sponsored by the guy who walked out of Shoot em Up and saw Wanted AND read the comic.

So much hypocrasy.
Paul said...
First time we saw these two species fighting, yes...but it was a mockery if you ask me.
Adam said...
It's a little silly, like the batman and robin-esque run w/ the predator and that girl, haha - but it definitely has some 'sick' scenes - like the predator jumping up and spinning around and stabbing his spear - ya know...

and the T-Rex chase through the whale bones, ha.
Paul said...
Or the Silver Surfer being a badass and actually adding some heart to the film ;-)

Yes, a couple good scenes, but ultimately I felt they (esp the fight scenes) were lacking.

...also the story made no sense
Adam said...
And see, that's why I didn't even want to see "Wanted" - because I'm just not a fan of these types of movies, and at the end of my review i state that - my review is a reflection of my opinion, and I've never been invested in these movies the way I'm invested in Aliens or Indy - so there's your answer. It's the same reason probably that you guys hate, hate, hate Indy IV so much but will defend this and other movies.

I just didn't find it to be any fun or entertaining at all, and I would imagine that my reaction to this was very similar to your collective reactions for Indy IV, we're just flipped on this one.

And Yeah, the surfer had a few cool scenes - and I love the surfer, they should've just made a Silver Surfer movie. My problems aren't so much with the surfer (Doug Jones is awesome) but with the fantastic four and the director, Tim Story.
Paul said...
Sort of, but not. You infer that we're not invested in Indy, which is not true in the least. Also you reference Die Hard as the single greatest action movie of our time, so I'd think you'd be somewhat invested.

The Four were ridiculous and campy, that's all I would expect from them. The Fantasticar was Fantasti-lame, and Dr. Doom was stupid. I did love the film adaptation of Galactus though (jar full of smoke anyone?)...but seriously.
Adam said...
Adam West's Batman was campy too... but that doesn't mean Batman by nature has to be campy, right? I wanted something more along the lines of X-Men than Power Rangers.

And no you guys are invested in Indy, and we all say Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the greatest movies ever, but you can still bash Indy IV right? So in the same way I can say Die Hard is great and hate D4 - it's really the same thing.

Dr. Doom on that surfboard... jesus. Tim Story must've been through a couple bottles of Jack when he wrote that.
Paul said...
As long as that's clear, and you're not saying you're not invested in DH like we're not in Indy.

I agree they should have been more like the X-Men, but at that point it's what I was expecting so it didn't let me down. I feel the same way about Spiderman (though obviously better than FF). Lot of cheezy moments in those films, and I wish it had been darker or more serious, but I came to expect it.
Adam said...
Oh yeah, no I didn't mean to infer that you guys weren't invested - just trying to pull myself out of the snake pit... if only i had a snake to use as a rope! Ohhhhh, boy - as much as I enjoy Indy IV doesn't mean I'll pass up on opportunity to make fun of it.

For me, Spider-Man 2 hit the nail on the head for Spider-Man... but I would like to see someone else do it. To be honest I don't really see Raimi's involvement as a plus or a minus, he's great and all - but I'd rather see someone else tackle the material.

Maybe when we're old men someone will make "Spider-Man begins" and we can all bask in the glory of Spider-Man's dark, triumphant return. It could happen sooner, being as "Spider-Man 3" felt like it was a Joel Schumacher film anyway.
Paul said...
Paul said...
Would you say they "nuked the fridge" with this installment???
Adam said...

When batman comes into the vault, we'll have a little surprise for him!

*Waugh* *Waugh* *Waugh* Waugh*

/waddles away with umbrella in hand.
Shea said...
Yeah... I guess Spiderman 3 is my F3... as F3 is to Paul.

I never really like S2... I liked S1 though. I mean S2 was good... but you know... whatever.

AVP... I loved the invisible spear into the guy pinned against the wall and he looks down and watches it uncloak. I loved the Predator seeing the cancer in Bishop guy. I loved the Alien roar after killing the predator. I loved the predators on the mayan temple.
Paul said...
so after much deliberation and overly abbreviated sucky movies...

die hard > die hard 3 > die hard 4 > die hard 2.

Shea said...

too many dang abbreviations for an LD kid.