John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working undercover, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.
A veteran cop, Murtaugh, is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs. Both having one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.
When someone hacks into the computers at the FBI's Cyber Crime Division; the Director decides to round up all the hackers who could have done this. When he's told that because it's the 4th of July most of their agents are not around so they might have trouble getting people to get the hackers. So he instructs them to get local PD'S to take care of it. And one of the cops they ask is John McClane who is tasked with bringing a hacker named Farrell to the FBI. But as soon as he gets there someone starts shooting at them. McClane manages to get them out but they're still being pursued. And it's just when McClane arrives in Washington that the whole system breaks down and chaos ensues. Written by
"Live Free or Die Hard" is quite a refreshing piece of entertainment this summer in the wake of so many effects-driven computer simulated action/fantasy films. With its silly title, smart-alleck lead character (Bruce Willis as Bruce Willis doing John McClane), and loads of old fashioned stunts involving cars, SUV's, elevator shafts, big rigs, helicopters, fighter jets, and collapsing highway bridges, this flick is a great piece of shattered-glass entertainment--a throwback to the late 1980's and early 1990's when movies like the original "Die Hard" changed the face of movie action.
There is some frustration to be had when you start to realize how much they toned down to achieve the friendly PG-13 rating. There's far less profanity flying, and while the body count is astronomically high (the collateral damage in this film in terms of human life and damaged property is tres magnifique), there's little blood and guts to be found. Still, die hard "Die Hard" action fans should rest assured knowing there will be plenty of funny one-liners, hot chicks (a wonderful Maggie Q as the bad-ass female villain and the scorchingly feisty and cute Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy McClane), super smart bad guys (a very good Timothy Olyphant), and jaw-dropping death-defying stunts.
Director Len Wiseman orchestrates the complicated stunts very well like a masterful puppeteer, which is a shock considering how god-awful his "Underworld" films were. The hand-to-hand human match-ups still bear some of his annoying hallmarks, but he's learned how to blow things up really well and has learned a thing or two about scope and editing in big action set-pieces. The excellent pacing and preposterousness of the stunts (especially the climax involving the fighter jet and the big rig) certainly put a smile on my face.
There's a whole lot of computer hacking related mumbo-jumbo involved in the story, and there's a lot of downtime for male bonding and "explanation" of the finer plot points that slows the film down some but is actually nice to see in a world now ruled by Michael Bay-style non-stop action. Plenty dumb, plenty thrilling, and plenty of fun, "Live Free or Die Hard" is a pleasant surprise considering how unnecessary this sequel seemed from conception.
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