Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Movie Review: Live Free or Die Hard

John McClane's back. He's older, somewhat mellower, but don't piss him off. He and Holly are divorced, but he's still protecting his daughter, Lucy. She's not mellow and is pissed at her dad for interrupting her make-out session with a guy who could be her boyfriend. Or not. She's not sure. One thing she's sure of, however, is she is not talking to her dad, even if he did drive down to Rutgers to make sure she's okay.

While John is trying to figure this out, he gets a call from his boss, requesting that he pick up a former computer hacker and bring him down to D.C. John doesn't want babysitting duty, but the FBI has requested that senior personnel bring the hacker, Matt Farrell, in.

John gets to Matt's apartment just as the Bad Guys have rigged Matt's computer to blow up. It doesn't, so the Bad Guys decide to take Matt out the old-fashioned way--with automatic rifles. But John is there, so this isn't easy. In fact, it's not successful (if it was, the movie would be a short).

After taking the Bad Guys out, John drives Matt to D.C. where it's established that they have nothing in common. The Bad Guys, meanwhile, decide to override traffic control in D.C. by hacking into the MTA's computers. John and Matt are stuck in traffic, but work their way over to the temporary command center of the FBI--temporary because an anthrax alarm has gone out. While there, Matt and John see photos of seven other computer geeks who have all been killed during the night.

And that's just in the first twenty minutes of the movie.

Bruce Willis plays John McClane like the iconic cowboy: little talk, more action, protector of the weak, defender of women, strong will to live. Matt Farrell is played by Justin Long. He's a typical 20-something: lives cybernetically, discusses everything, doesn't believe in violence and can't believe someone would try to kill him, doesn't really have a code to live by, doesn't know what he's capable of.

At one point in the movie, John and Matt talk about being a hero. For John it's simple: no one else steps up to do the job that needs to be done, so you're "that guy." Matt can't imagine ever being "that guy."

The action is non-stop, but there is little lingering over dead bodies. The language has also been cleaned up tremendously: I thought there was no use of the F-word, but according to IMdB, there is at least one instance. The plot is all too plausible, I'm afraid. The FBI comes out heroes; other government agencies don't fare so well. I don't go to these types of movies for the dialog, but there are some great one-liners and some laugh-out-loud moments that break thee tension. And the Bad Guys seriously underestimate Daddy's Little Girl. (smirk)

Live Free or Die Hard is definitely the best of the Die Hard movies and isn't a bad way to spend a summer afternoon under air-conditioning. Bruce Willis has mellowed some either because of age or because his daughters are now old enough to watch these movies. (Although Sin City was very raw.) Whatever his motivation, sit back and enjoy John McClane save the U.S. Again.

On the March Hare scale: 4 out of 5 Golden Tickets.