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|Index||783 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie starts a little slow but then again it's the set up with the
credits rolling over them so I guess that's not a problem. I love how
the explosions start small and continue to get bigger without seeming
to be just pumping up the action. (There is a point to the explosion.)
And the plot just keeps giving and giving. Oh! And who hear didn't love
it when Willis cranked Creedence Clearwater Revivel? Also is it just me
or does every movie seem to get bigger? I mean things at stake. In the
first one it was a building, second an airport, third a whole city, and
now the entire east coast. I love it. And I love the movie. I guess
there is only one problem with this movie is... it's going to take
forever to come out on DVD.
All I got to say about what you should do, is spend the money to go see it on the largest screen possible.
The "Die Hard" movies, which have starred Bruce Willis spanning through
an illustrious 19-year career, have always been about action and
excitement, much like any action movie. However, unlike most action
movies, the hero in each, Detective John McClane, was an Everyman. This
allowed Average Joes to connect with a genuine human being who got hurt
and was often caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. McClane was
sort of like an urban Indiana Jones and likewise, this is what allowed
us to forge real connections with him, much rather than your typical
Chuck Norris's, Sylvester Stallone's, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's.
2007's "Live Free or Die Hard" (or "Die Hard 4.0"), is the first "Die Hard" film Willis has appeared in since 1995's "Die Hard With a Vengeance." Just to get pretenses out of the way: "Live Free or Die Hard" is the best film since the original. While being more technically brilliant and showing off a kind of chic flashiness all too apparent in today's action films, it doesn't mean that "Live Free or Die Hard" is even remotely a bad film, it's just more technically sophisticated than its predecessors. But that's very good; it just shows that all concerned here are getting with the times, while not sacrificing a potent action movie legacy that's been built on believable characters and suspense. More to the point, "Live Free or Die Hard" proves that even dinosaurs like the 52-year-old Bruce Willis, still have a punch or two left in them.
The film is a technical marvel, to say the least. It has a number of breathtaking action scenes, thus making "Live Free or Die Hard" the most action-packed and exciting entry in the series since "Die Hard" back in 1988. Watching these action scenes, I got the feeling of expert craftsmanship, almost a nostalgic feeling for the action blockbusters of yesteryear. There are action scenes and then there are action scenes, which are not overblown by today's standards. I got the feeling of watching real human beings doing real human stunt-work, including watching Willis handle himself capably even while chaos is erupting around him.
The series has been handled by two skilled and capable directors so far - John McTiernan and Renny Harlin. In the director's seat this time is Len Wiseman, who is obviously hoping this big jump into the Hollywood limelight is his ticket out of cult "B"-movie fanfare like the "Underworld" films. To this critic's surprise, he, like the aged Willis, is able to handle himself capably and admirably. He's earned his spot in the "Die Hard" legacy.
This time around, McClane's task seems simple: escort a lowly computer hacker, Matthew Farrell (Justin Long), from New York City to Washington, D.C., for questioning by the F.B.I. after several of his hacker pals have bitten the dust. But because it seems that Farrell has been involved in some shady Internet dealings with a particularly cold-blooded Web-based terrorist named Thomas Gabriel (the effective Timothy Olyphant), things are going to get hectic real fast.
It isn't long before assassins come after McClane and Farrell and they stumble onto Gabriel's plot: he's going to use his legion of hackers and infinite computer resources to systematically shut down the entire United States (Farrell explains this three-step process as a "Fire Sale"). So it's up to McClane and the computer-savvy Farrell to use what technological resources they have left to foil Gabriel's plans before he puts us back into the Stone Age (oh, my, a world without computers and the Internet). However, when Gabriel is pushed into a corner, he's forced to take drastic measures and take McClane's feisty daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) hostage.
"Live Free or Die Hard" is really the first "Die Hard" film to take a slice of modern-day paranoia - cyber-terrorism - and work it into a feasible action film that at times is a little scary. We've come to be so reliant on technology that it's only a matter of time before a computer-savvy psycho like Thomas Gabriel comes along and exploits that fact. So, the smart-alecky script by Mark Bomback, taking inspiration from a news article titled "A Farewell to Arms" by John Carlin, really doesn't seem all that far-fetched when you think about it.
At center stage, of course, is Bruce Willis, sharing screen time with the youngster Justin Long. Bomback's screenplay, under Wiseman's skilled direction, provides the two with a believable amount of running dialogue, rapport and teamwork, giving them time to develop, and exchange humorous and wily insults back and forth to one another while running for their lives. (It's a generational buddy-trip that works.) Their first meeting, in Farrell's apartment, followed by a shootout, really sets the pace for the rest of the film, and guarantees that no one will be snoozing during this hardcore action-fest. Surely one of the best of these sequences has to be McClane's showdown with a Harrier Jet on a collapsing freeway. And then there are also McClane's potentially lethal encounters with Gabriel's chief baddies Mai (Maggie Q) and Rand (rising French action star Cyril Raffaelli). In a not-so-surprising cameo, filmmaker Kevin Smith also appears as an Armageddon-prepared hacker named "Warlock."
"Live Free or Die Hard" is the best film the series has to offer since the original 1988 "Die Hard." It proves to us that the days of real action movie heroism are not yet gone, and that action-hero dinosaurs like Bruce Willis can still roll with the new.
About 40 minutes into Live Free or Die Hard (the fourth film in the
popular Die Hard series), Bruce Willis stops playing tough cop John
McClane and becomes his indestructible character from M. Night
Shyalaman's Unbreakable. It's the only answer that makes sense.
How else could he jump from a speeding car onto blacktop and live to tell the tale? Or fall several stories out of a window, only to get up, dust himself off and continue fighting? Or crash a vehicle through solid walls and into a lift shaft without killing himself? Or leap from a wrecked juggernaut, onto the tail of a soon-to-explode jet plane, and then onto a collapsed freeway (I'm not making this uphonest!) without being reduced to a red smear? In the first Die Hard, McClane was vulnerable; in this one, he wouldn't look out of place wearing a fancy spandex costume with a fluttering cape.
Part 4 sees our grizzled hero back in action after he is sent to pick up Matthew Farrell, a computer hacker who is suspected of being involved with a high-tech terrorist organisation (who are attempting to shut down the U.S.A. in order to get their grubby paws on it's entire wealth). However, it transpires that the young geek was duped into helping the bad-guys and is now surplus to requirements; the villains try to kill the net-nerd (I know, I know... look who's talking!) to cover their tracks, but they don't count on the hero of the Nakatomi Tower incident being on bodyguard duty.
McClane rescues Matthew (after engaging in an exciting shootout with some nameless henchmen, who all dienatch!) and takes off in his car, with a helicopter full of gun-toting baddies in hot pursuit. Eventually, trapped in a tunnel, having narrowly escaped death in a multiple pile-up, John McClane makes his transformation into a superhero. Now, impervious to damage, he gets in his car, hurtles at high speed down the tunnel and launches the vehicle into the waiting helicopter, leaping to safety at the last moment.
And so it continues, with each successive action set-piece more ridiculous than the one before, until the aforementioned freeway/fighter jet scene which takes my award for daftest cinematic moment of this millennium.
Unfortunately, the silliness doesn't stop with the action scenes... the characters that populate this film are equally ill-conceived: Luscious Maggie Q plays Mai Lihn, a kung fu fighting villainess who is almost as indestructible as Willis''s cop; Long's cyber-dork is one of those people that only seem to exist in modern day action/thrillersa twenty something with the ability to outsmart the government's top computer operatives; tasty Mary Elizabeth Winstead is John's ballsy daughter Lucy, who goes from hating her dad to loving him (when he rescues her from danger); and Timothy Olyphant is the supreme bad-guy, a miffed ex-government computer boffin who (inexplicably) manages to gather together a team of henchmen willing to do his bidding, whatever the risks.
Live Free or Die Hard is glossy, popcorn entertainment for those who don't worry too much about logic. It's entertaining fluff that is technically flawless, easy to follow and reasonably exciting, and, for many, that will be enough. But for those who, nearly twenty years ago, thrilled at the sight of a vest-wearing Willis dangling over the edge of a skyscraper, it can only be something of a disappointment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie by the time the credits started
rolling! I was like the other skeptics. "PG-13??? YIPPIE KAY AYE
MOTHER-FATHER?" If you go into this movie knowing it's not going to be
Nakatomi Tower, or With a Vengeance, you can save yourself a lot of
whining. Die Hard 2, to the fans, was not a very good movie. THIS ONE
makes up for it! There's wasn't much potty language, but realistically,
I don't think anybody had any time to drop any F-bombs on account of
them having to constantly dodge the real ones. At first the dynamic
between McClane and the Mac Geek seems a little "ah here we go again,
clash of the generations", and it doesn't seem like a real Die Hard
movie until about 30 minutes into it, but once we start recognizing
Shoe-less John, a lot of that goes away! The hacker stuff seems to get
sort of hokey, at times, but a lot of Die Hard fans won't have trouble
letting that slide since John couldn't be bothered with it; he's too
busy kickin' ass and takin' names! The action scenes keep you on the
edge of your seat at all times. This is definitely the next level of
action flicks (best since Casino Royale). Some of the blows McClane
delivers are so intense, even Chester A. Arthur felt them.
There's no rehashing of old characters to forcefully remind you it's a Die Hard flick. That means no Sgt. Al Powell, no Zeus, no Holly Gennero side story, no Inspector Cobb, hell, not even a Gruber family member! Also, there's no jurisdictional cliché argument he had with the LA cop or Airport Cop from the sequel we all like to pretend never happened.
Trust me, by the time he says "Yippie Kay Aye..." your jaw will drop! A MUST SEE for Die Hard fans!
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.
Long-awaited (release twelve years after the last instalment in the
series) and eagerly-anticipated, I went to the cinema to see DIE HARD
4.0 with huge expectations, being a massive fan of the series. The good
news is that this fully deserves success as a sequel. Action-packed,
with an involving plot and some super-duper action scenes, this is
above average for the modern action film, revitalising the classic
action formula with updated editing and style. Probably the best thing
about this film is the quality of the acting. Bruce Willis is
absolutely brilliant as the ageing hero, and he breathes new life and
comedy into an old character. Surprisingly, his partner in the film,
Justin Long, who plays a computer hacker, is just as good, a real
charismatic everyman whose humour and warmth infuses the movie.
It's fair to say that this film doesn't quite match the quality of the first three films in the series, but it's still very good. The film is long but never flags for a second; the script, about terrorists utilising computers to take over America, is cleverly-written and novice director Len Wiseman adds plenty of style to the proceedings. The action is large-scale and top notch; from the car vs. helicopter showdown to the opening apartment explosion, this is brilliant stuff. The good news is that there's also plenty of old-school heroics with Bruce tackling villains in brutal bouts. Things do get a little over-the-top with the climax, but this is easily forgivable.
CGI is utilised throughout but there are still plenty of stuntmen involved and nothing about the action disappoints. I was very pleased about the high level of humour in the movie, which always hits the mark, and there are a couple of great, skillful villains in Maggie Q and Cyril Raffaelli. The latter, riding high after the cult success of DISTRICT 13, provides the film with some pumping free running stunts, and Bruce's showdown with the Asian beauty is one of the film's best, and most surprisingly brutal, highlights. The only real problem is that this film has been heavily edited, which is very noticeable in some instances, so my fingers are crossed for an impending uncut DVD release.
NB. I've now watched the uncut version of the film, complete with all manner of blood sprays and the like, and it definitely has the edge. So much so that I'd never consider watching the theatrical version again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We finally had to come to the modern world and computers. This film is
so frightening for simple people that it should create a real panic
among them. It deals with all the central networks created by our
modern society to control govern and command absolutely everything that
can be set in some kind of network. The big fear is that when all
networks are synchronized and connected one person from one keyboard
and central computer will be able to control absolutely everything in
life and society. Everyone knows about it. Check Terminator for that.
In Paris they even have some higher education professor, Marcel Gauchet, who explains that in such a society we just need to blow up or paralyze the nodal points of these systems to bring a society to a stand still and thus impose a revolution. No one has been able to find out if that man is using this idea as a menace against society or as a warning to society. Some of his students were even investigated some years ago as having played a role in such an attack on the fast train network in France
But this fear is also lined with another which is a lot older: the fear of machines per se. People are afraid of machines though they use machines everyday, like cars and other means of transportation. Computers are even more frightening than a crashing airplane because all we see on the screen is a whole lot of figures, in fact digits, and we cannot understand what the machine is saying, and it is always saying a lot. We have always been afraid of foreign languages, and computers speak a foreign language.
The third level of fear you can find in our world is the fact that after 9/11 we have put all our valuable data on central computers that are supposed to be hyper protected and they are. The film demonstrates that they cannot be reached from the outside by hackers but can only be reached from the inside that is to say from these giant central computers themselves because they are absolutely isolated from the outside world and their connection with this outside world is absolutely under digitalized secure surveillance. So the hackers who want to prove the vulnerability of that central computer has to penetrate the fort in which it is located. Only a military operation can do that, but that operation is just plainly unimaginable. The human guards can be killed but they can be so connected to the central security that the alert is given as soon as some sensor senses the attack on the body or mind of the guard and then instead of sending two guards as reinforcement a security wall can fall down that can only be opened from the inside.
The system that is shown here, for our entertainment for sure, is super fragile and super UN-protected. It is less protected than a henhouse against foxes. It is as little protected against the infiltration of terrorists as a sieve is ready to retain water. So that makes the fear ludicrous and the entertainment loses all suspense value and all frightening effect.
Of course John McClane has to have a partner and this time it is a young hacker that the terrorists want to kill and that the FBI wants to interrogate. He becomes the digital mind of McClane and McClane is nothing but the brute force, the basic muscle of the operation. The two together are funny in a way since they are so different and one could be the father of the other.
But the film is funny though the digital special effects are so visibly artificial, not even analogue, that they become cinematographic anecdotes. I think these action films have lost something g with the massive shift to digital special effects. They just look unreal and what's more we recognize the special effect maker and then we recognize a special effect we have already seen in some other films. We may even wonder if they are after all not plainly the same.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
The fourth film in the DIE HARD franchise had a lot working against it:
it had been more than a decade since the last film and the filmmakers
had fallen into the recent pitfall of shooting for a PG-13 rating to
broaden the audience (and, by extension, the box office profits). DIE
HARD is one of those series that just cannot be anything less than a
solid R-rating. If you're planning on watching LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD
for the first time, do yourself a favor and find a copy of the unrated
cut where the bloody violence and language have been restored to the
series norm. If you do, you'll find the movie a lot better than
settling for the defanged theatrical version. The movie finds John
McClane (Bruce Willis, returning to the role) roped into an
investigation when someone hacks the FBI and the usual suspects are
rounded up. McClane's job is to bring in Matthew Farrell (Justin Long)
for questioning but, before he can bring Farrell in, the two become
targets for whoever has marked the hacker for death. Within hours, the
United States is under a full-scale assault on its computer networks
with transportation, communications, and utilities on the list of
targeted systems. With the nation plunging into chaos, McClane and
Farrell are the country's main hope in stopping a cyber criminal with a
solid plan of bringing the United States to its knees. It's DIE HARD
for a new millennium with John McClane facing his most baffling
challenge yet: modern technology.
Movie studios revisiting old franchises to milk further profits out of its audience has a sketchy history of failing to provide a decent film; if you have any doubts, feel free to revisit other attempts from around the same time KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008) and HANNIBAL RISING (2007). The idea becomes even more questionable when the original star is brought back to the role they made legendary (e.g. Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones). When the actors weren't that young to begin with, a ten year gap between films can mean a massive difference. Oddly enough, it's not so much the case with Bruce Willis. Maybe it's just because the man is the embodiment of disgruntled cop, but he falls right into the role and I never found myself questioning if he was too old for the same action. John McClane is probably Willis's best role ever and he hasn't lost that spark yet. If anything, Willis is the best part of this whole movie when the comic relief and extravagant action set pieces get to be too much. Justin Long is that comic relief, with his character of Farrell failing to speak in anything but sarcasm. It's funny for a bit, but wears by the end. The villain, played by Timothy Olyphant, is acceptable for a bit of modern day evil; rather than brute force, the most dangerous modern terrorist is the one who can steal everything the country has come to take for granted with a few keystrokes.
I actually dig the fact that DIE HARD 4.0 made an attempt to modernize the series with McClane finding himself lost and confused in a world that continued on without him. It was a cool touch. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the story in the new movie, but it was the way it was told that didn't sit right with me. I know McClane has gotten himself into some crazy situations before, but this movie goes a little too overboard for my tastes. McClane is a stone-cold action hero, but he's always been human. He can be hurt, he can be weakened. DIE HARD 4.0 has him jumping on top of an F-35 fighter jet from a collapsing freeway and launching a police car at a helicopter. He's gone from human to superhuman. I mean, come on, I can't be the only one who felt this was the most off-putting aspect of the movie. I have to admit that this is a solid, fun action movie but it doesn't feel like a real DIE HARD. I guess this was 20th Century Fox's attempt at rejuvenating the franchise and selling it a generation of audience members who might have been too long to catch any of the originals (which also explains the PG-13), but it's sort of a betrayal from anyone wanting to sit down for a new adventure for the John McClane we know. LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD has some great action and a few sharp one-liners, but it's ultimately missing something.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Live free or die hard is the fourth film in the famous Die Hard series.
The fourth time isn't the charm. I really liked it, but something about
it wasn't as good as the original. Or any of the others for that
matter. I just thought that Live free or Die Hard has some ridiculous
moments. For instance, there is a scene where Bruce Willis hits Maggie
Q's character with an SUV and she still lives. That would never happen.
I think that two of Live free or Die Hard's action sequences are over
the top. I also didn't really think that Timothy Olyphant was as
menacing as Alan Rickman or Jeremy Irons. Of course he does bad things
but he isn't really that evil. I would've preferred it if Maggie Q was
the lead villain. Those are the only problems I had with the film. I
really enjoyed the rest of the film. There is spectacular action
sequences and good performances. The film could've been worse. It
could've been all over the top action and no plot. Live free or Die
Hard is probably the weakest in the series. But I didn't think it was a
bad film. I don't give it *** because I appreciated it. I actually give
it ***1/2. I know I may be being too kind but it's a good entry to the
Live Free or Die Hard:***1/2 out of ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
what i love about the die hard series is that there quite lengthy compared to the usual hour and a half action films. die hard and die hard with a vengeance are better than this but this film is ten times better than die hard 2 die harder. die hard 2 was a disappointment but the other three are fantastic. what i love about this one in particular is its not full of killing and massive explosions, its not too over the top. Bruce Willis's role as John Mclane never gets tiresome. you can see hes getting old obviously because Bruce Willis is getting old but it still doesn't stop john from kicking ass and saving the day. Justin long does a pretty good performance but one thing that amazed me in this was Timothy Olyphants performance as the bad guy. Len Wiseman directed this film very well, he had some pretty big shoes to fill because of the other films being directed by John Mctiernan. what you should do is watch the first, third then the forth as a sort of marathon. forget the second one....... 9/10.......j.d Seaton
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