Saturday, June 30, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

What begins as a simple go-pick-this-kid-up-for-questioning, quickly turns into multiple life and death situations involving shoot-outs, explosions, kidnapping, and a seriously mean girl who likes to kick, all while the entire United States infrastructure hangs in the balance. Just another example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time (or the right place at the right time, depending on your perspective) for old fashioned, every-man police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis), the self proclaimed fly in the ointment, monkey in the wrench and pain in the ass.

In this outing, directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld 1 & 2), McClane has been sent on a routine and boring call to bring in Matt Farrell (Justin Long also known as "Mac" from the PC/Mac television commercials), a computer code writer and known hacker, for questioning concerning recent events involving governmental computer breaches as well as the deaths of several other known hackers. The routine call turns complicated when shots are fired and McClane is able to prevent the murder of Farrell by several heavily armed and well trained men. As electronic systems across the country began to collapse, McClane, using his common sense and observation and Farrell, using his hacker insight coupled with information from the F.B.I., a plot emerges to destroy the country's vulnerable infrastructure perpetrated by uber-cyber-terrorist-with-a-grudge, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), using systems he created along with the unwitting assistance of several computer hackers including Farrell.

It's been about twelve years since the last Die Hard movie and I'm of the particular camp that thinks twelve years is about nine years too long. Willis' McClane character is one of my favorite characters of all time and even had the movie only been moderately entertaining, I would have still been glad to be sitting in the theater for another action ride. Fortunately, in my opinion, the movie was extremely entertaining and I was glad to see the progression of the character mirroring the amount of time that has passed with only a few subtle references to the past experiences and adventures. The other aspect that I found enjoyable was that fact that an aging outdated and seemingly out of touch with technology character like McClane can still be pertinent in today's world. Sometimes old school is the best school.

Overall, I thought the movie had an excellent story that was far from being ridiculous while being tech savy enough to make certain aspects seem frighteningly plausible. The action was frequent but not a central character and did not seem out of place with what the story required and was produced with the use of old school stunt work and very little CGI effects, adding an additional depth of realism. The most important part, the human element, was never ignored and carried with the same "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" attitude that only a small handful of actors have ever been able to properly portray.


Chris said...

I still remember the first Die Hard. At the end of the movie, I looked over at my friend and we both agreed it was a pretty intense ride. My back and shoulders were stiff the next day from being in a constant state of tensness (is that a word?).

I fly home tonight, and know work will be insane for the last 2 days of the week. I may try to see a flick on Saturday to escape. I'll let you know what I end up seeing.

John Taylor said...

hi chris-
It's a word if you want it to be.
I remember when I saw the original in the theater, as well - I was completely surprised (in a good way) at what a great movie it was and how good Willis was. However, I was already a big fan of Willis' because of Moonlighting.
Good luck on the movie - that should be a nice break after everything that's been going on.