I’m working on a long post regarding Chavez’s weapons-shopping tour which I’ll post later today, but for now here’s a review of Live Free or Die Hard
When the first Die Hard came out I was rooting for the bad guy. Hans Gruber had style, was sarcastic, and that annoying smirk never left Bruce Willis’s face. The story was just another Towering Inferno disaster movie with guns.
Well, times have changed.
Hans Gruber was one of only a handful of good movie parts that Rickman has chosen in his long career (and now he’s producing plays about Rachel Corrie), Bruce Willis actually became an actor, and now the bad guys are a matter of national security.
Live Free or Die Hard is custom-made for the age of electronic anxiety and worldwide terrorism. It’s “24” on a big budget.
Like “24”, the hero is intent on saving our country. Like “24”, he fights to win. And like “24”, the hero has tech support in the guise of a brilliant hacker.
This is a message that runs contrary to those saying that the war on terror has been reduced to a bumper-sticker slogan. Echoes of 9/11 are everywhere in this film, from the crowds hurriedly evacuating buildings to the closed airports to the Capitol getting blown up, 9/11 was only a heartbeat away. Here the sophisticated terrorists clash head-on with the policeman.
There’s a lapse here and there (for instance, where the terrorists get McClane’s daughter from Rutgers in only what seems to be a few minutes), and of course you’re asking yourself if the bad guy’s so brilliant why does he need the hacker at the end, but by then you’re so caught up in the action you don’t even mind.
An even greater lapse is that, unlike the current international situation, you won’t find Wahhabis at the terrorist helm.
As far as the non-stop action, the film builds on not only the prior Die Hard movies, but also on True Lies, The Terminator(s), Star Wars, the fight between Wolverine and the girl mutant in X-3, and even a James Bond or two. There is a Rube Goldberg highway setup with an Air Force bomber and a large truck that’s as good as a rollercoaster ride, only without the motion sickness. The action’s over the top and I loved every moment of it.
The dialogue’s pretty good and the actors do a great job. Timothy Oliphant rode out of Deadwood into cyber-age villainy, and he’s up to the task while looking PDG, too. Kevin Smith plays a hacker and of course Bruce Willis and his sidekick Justin Long are perfect together.
Rated PG-13 for language and violence, leave the young kids at home and go see it on the big screen.
technorati: Live Free or Die Hard