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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
I'm So Sick
Written by Lacey Sturm, James Culpepper, Kirkpatrick Seals, Jared Hartmann and Sameer Bhattacharya
Performed by Flyleaf
Courtesy of OctJay LLC
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment See more »
In the Die Hard family, Live Free or Die Hard is the dense but rebellious delinquent cousin who everyone dreads coming to Thanksgiving because he's going to ask somebody to borrow more money. The first three Die Hards had an idea of what they were. They were bloody thrillers about a cop from New York who you wouldn't have to be told is from New York judging by his complete confidence, readiness, and detachment when it comes to any confrontation, even terrorists on walkie-talkies threatening to blow up a building. This cop confronts incredibly smart villains who, William Sadler from Die Hard 2 excluded, are suave, brilliant, and match New York cop John McClaine on a personal level and inevitably share a laugh with him. They also have exciting, blood-spattered yeah-take-that gunfights and mortal physical combat. Live Free or Die Hard is so drunk on Hollywood's shallow mentality wherein they want to have their cake, which would be an attempt at an entertaining movie, and eat it too, eating it being compromising most things that make it a good movie in a bad salesman's attempt at expanding the audience.
You will not get a good shoot-em-up, for all you Die Hard fans out there. Instead, you will get a sequence wherein Bruce Willis is driving a semi truck and being attacked by a stealth fighter plane, which only fires missiles when it doesn't have a clear shot, so we can see more highway columns crumble, and only fires its machine guns when it has a clear shot for a missile, so that we can see the truck get ripped up. This is an example of the action sequences in this sudden cash-in idea by a Hollywood exec going to sleep one night and suddenly stricken by the revelation causing a light bulb to appear above his head. Aside from a fun fight between Bruce Willis and Maggie Q that leads to a car tangled in the cables of an elevator shaft, there's no grit, and hardly any real tension, because not only are these million-dollar sequences much more suited for Transformers than a cop movie, but they are so convenient in their improbability that we are hardly worried about McClaine not making it out alright. Everything else in the film is tailored unreasonably for the lazy satisfaction of a shallow audience anyway.
Take for instance the goofy subplot involving McClaine's daughter, who is now a teenager. You must remember his hot-and-cold relationship with his wife in the earlier films. (The film doesn't seem to want you to recall much from them, but it doubles back on itself at this point.) His daughter hates him, refuses to acknowledge his existence, refuses to call him, and calls herself Lucy Ginero, Ginero being her mother's maiden name, just to hurt her father. Why? Because. Because why? Ask the screenwriters this and they may think you're speaking in Greek, because there really isn't a credible reason given for such an intense hatred on her part. I'm not excusing McClaine's behavior in his daughter's first scene, because McClaine barges in on her and her date like an overly jealous, bombastic Southern husband. Why he acts this way in this scene is beyond me, but we're supposed to think it's cool, so unfortunately, this sort of forceful way that he acts in this one scene cannot be relievedly written off as the reason his daughter hates him so much.
Then, suddenly, when she's in trouble---and you know she's going to be in trouble because this is made clear in the movie's trailer, so don't worry, I'm not spoiling anything---she suddenly starts calling herself Lucy McClaine and telling her dad she loves him and showing him affection and things like that. Oh OK, so as soon as she needs him, she loves him. When he needs her affection and love as his daughter in everyday life after a day of avoiding bullets and explosions, she not only doesn't give it to him, but shows him great hate. What a cold, selfish, extremely fickle little brat she's portrayed as.
As for the film's villain, if you're expecting the riveting suavity and calculating control of Alan Rickman or the intimidating cold and German soldier's latent but powerful menace of Jeremy Irons, you'll be disappointed. Instead, you get Timothy Olyphant, who plays another power-hungry computer genius who is frankly weak without his technological prowess, and in essence simply a college-age prep whose heart races and eyes widen when he feels in control, which is in essence an insecurity. Who wants a weak villain after three extremely powerful ones? Olyphant opens his mouth in this odd teeth-showing grimace and his eyes are also squinty but bulging at the same time like a mad scientist's.
Also, just on a note of personal preference, I don't often really care for action movies and thrillers where everything is controlled by computers, keyboards, the internet, discs, and chips. I like actioners and thrillers, frankly, like the first three Die Hards, where we're trapped in a skyscraper and have to fight our way down, or the characters are forced to run around a big, endless panicky, rushing city like New York in a race against time. Those are exciting. High-tech thrillers just strike me as show-offy. Perhaps if Bruce Willis brought back John McTiernan, they would've made a Die Hard 4 where we maybe get to see some blood on someone's shirt and a script that works.
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