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If You Like This You Should Watch: Maybe the Die Hard Series?
Better Than: Die Hard: With a Vengeance
Worse Than: Die Hard, Die Hard 2
Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant
Yippie Ki Yay mothaf…well, you know how it goes. Only in Live Free of Die Hard, the first PG-13 rating in the Die Hard series, you won’t get to hear how it goes. Don’t get too scared though, you’ll still get plenty of smart-ass John McClane fighting off dozens of bad guys to save the world. At least it held true to that philosophy.
McClane is back, stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time once again. It begs the question after his history of single-handedly assassinating more bad guys in his series than Rambo, Commando, and Jason Bourne combined, why don’t the villains just call it a day and hang it up when they realize he is involved? I mean seriously, you can kick him, punch him, shoot him, or torture him and it still won’t phase him; just know who you are up against and live to fight another day. Because when you choose not to heed that advice, you will not live to fight at all.
Willis looks aged like a nine-dollar bottle of two-decade old wine in the fourth installment of the Die Hard franchise, and maybe he just got nostalgic after watching Stallone and Arnold make recent appearances in their most famous series’. He still is able to maintain the classic McClane wit, thank goodness, because without it would be like watching Caddyshack without Dangerfield (see Caddyshack II). There are plenty of references to Die Hard’s of old, just in case you didn’t appreciate the humor the first three-times. To be fair though, they managed to stay true to the series and tied in some running story lines (McClane’s family issues, fear of flying, etc.) in a way to be as authentic as possible.
This time John McClane has to transport a computer hacker named Matt Farrell (Justin Long) from NJ all the way to the FBI headquarters in DC. While a hacker is not a stretch to believe when you look at Justin Long, I couldn’t help but hope he would put on the Average Joe’s jersey and start picking off bad guys with the bouncy red dodgeball he must carry around at all times. Willis, on the other hand, looked as uncomfortable trying to fit into the cyber-crime genre as he does in his stupid derby-hat squeezed between Demi and Ashton at awards shows. A routine perp pickup and transport gets very dicey along the way when it is discovered that the small programming contribution of Farrell to a much larger scheme holds dire consequences for the country. McClane and Farrell must find out who is behind the ultimate cyber-takeover the world has ever seen.
My biggest issue here is with Timothy Olyphant as Thomas Gabriel, the mastermind behind the digital takeover. Do you see any problem here? We go from Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber to William Sadler as Colonel Stuart and then Hans’ brother Simon to Olyphant as Thomas Gabriel?? Could there be a bigger drop-off? I don’t mind Olyphant that much when he is moseying on down the dusty streets of Deadwood, but I can’t buy him as a cyber-terrorist who wants to take over the world. He lacks what Hans and Col. Stuart both brought to the bad guy side of the equation. He lacks that flash both of them had and the ability to be entertainging yet still convincing. While the action was pretty amazing (even though McClane looked more like a Terminator/cyborg at times than a cop from NY), it’s just not enough without one of those classic villains.
It’s not surprising that this Die Hard installment went “cyber” with the underlying plot, it is just a little disappointing. I need high-rise buildings taken over and airports and planes under duress, not some computer geek pressing keys to change traffic lights. McClane deserves a more worthy adversary than he got. How about giving him another chance by putting him in a nursing home with Hans’ cousin still looking to exact revenge on McClane? Or at least can we see Rambo, The Terminator, and McClane team up to take down some of the baddest movie villains of all-time in a reunion story? At least it would provide more closure than we were given from Live Free or Die Hard.
Interesting Cameo Appearance: Kevin Smith a.k.a. “Silent Bob” as Warlock / Freddie Kaludis, a hacker and gaming-nerd who helps out McClane and Farrell
Matt Farrell: You just killed a helicopter with a car!
John McClane: I was out of bullets.
Matt Farrell: Did you see that?
John McClane: Yeah I saw it, I did it!
Matt Farrell: [to Lucy] I know that tone. I’m just not used to hearing it from someone with… hair.
Slacker Kid: Hey, Matt, I just downloaded that new copy of Killzone, the one that’s not out yet. You wanna play?
Matt Farrell: No, but good luck at the bad timing awards.
Thomas Gabriel: On your tombstone it should say “Always in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
John McClane: How about “Yippi-kay-ay, motherfu – ”
John McClane: [after covering a webcam] Freddy, can you trace these guys.
Thomas Gabriel: Detective, covering the camera does not turn off the microphone.
Matt Farrell: You know, you probably shouldn’t antagonise them, seeing as they have these loaded guns
Lucy McClane: Why don’t you try to dig a little deeper and find a bigger set of balls, because you’re going to need them before we’re through.
Casper: That was creepy.
Trey: I tried to find more Nixon.
John McClane: Just another day in paradise.
The Warlock: Thomas Gabriel’s the guy who shut down NORAD with a laptop just to prove a point, and you think I’m scared of you?
Thomas Gabriel: McClane…You’re a Timex watch in a digital age.
Thomas Gabriel: McClane? I thought I killed you already.
John McClane: I get that sometimes.