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Old 07-05-2007, 12:44 PM   #127
tobynosker
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Live Free or Die Hard
Directed by Len Wiseman
Written by Mark Bomback
Starring Yorgo Constantine, Cliff Curtis, Andrew Friedman, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Jonathan Sadowski, Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis


Even though he won a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his role as David Adison Jr. on the popular television show Moonlighting, Bruce Willis's career-defining role came in the 1988 action-thriller Die Hard. Willis starred as John McClane, a tough New York City police officer trapped in a Los Angeles hotel that has been overtaken by terrorists. Willis's one-man war against the terrorists became a big action hit, spawning the 1990 sequel Die Hard 2 and 1995's Die Hard: With a Vengeance. A dozen-years later, Willis is back in the role of McClane, in the franchise's fourth film Live Free or Die Hard.

NYPD Police Detective John McClane (Willis) is asked to transport computer hacker Matt Farrell (Justin Long) from his apartment in Camden, New Jersey, to an FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. But as McClane and Farrell look to exit, the apartment complex is ambushed by henchmen that have been sent to kill Matt. McClane and Farrell manage to escape, but once they arrive in Washington D.C., they are met by more attacks in the midst of an ongoing national crisis.

It turns out that a terrorist group has hacked into the computer and technological infrastructure of the United States, partially using codes that they purchased from Farrell, causing mass chaos and ultimately affecting the economy of the country. With the help of Farrell, McClane tracks down former government employee Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), who appears to be the main behind the ongoing terrorist attacks.

A straight-forward action-flick that feels like a throwback to the summer blockbusters of the early-1990s, Live Free or Die Hard is a refreshing change from the recent comic book capers and convoluted CGI-pics, but it is no less preposterous and carries with it several moments that are so far beyond absurd, you can't help but laugh at the senseless nature of it all. And while this latest film proves to be better than its predecessor Die Hard: With a Vengeance, it is far from being the sharp thriller that the original was.

I can suspend my disbelief enough to buy into the numerous unbelievable action sequences that follow several implausible scenarios, for which there are plenty of nicely captured moments, but there is little excuse for the deplorable, boneheaded dialogue from writer Mark Bomback (Godsend) that ends up accompanying the exciting visuals. And the sub-plot involving McClane and his daughter Lucy feels unneeded, drags the film out longer than it needs to be and does very little towards providing McClane with a moral center.

The movie is simply a vehicle for Willis (Grindhouse, The Astronaut Farmer) to shine in, and Bruce's solid persona is one of the few things that keeps you drawn to the screen. Long (Idiocracy, Accepted) seems suited for the role, but unfortunately that role requires him to spew annoying technical lingo and artificial one-liners that lack a comedic punch. And Olyphant (Catch & Release, TV's Deadwood) is one of the more unbelievable villains in cinema history, brought to life through his overall hammy performance.

Live Free or Die Hard will be a guilty pleasure for those who enjoy over-the-top action movies with likeable heroes, but for most it will seem like another worthless summer sequel that doesn't even strive to hold up to the original film.


*.5/****


Upcoming Movie Reviews:
Ratatouille, Evan Almighty, The Abandoned and Transformers

Last edited by tobynosker; 07-05-2007 at 12:49 PM.
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