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|Index||765 reviews in total|
Halfway through the summer of 2007 and I had still to see a blockbuster
I really enjoyed. Fantastic Four 2, Ocean's 13, Shrek 3, Spiderman 3,
Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and others were OK at best and rubbish at
worst and I had high hopes that Die Hard 4.0 (as it was called in the
UK) would be the film that just remembered the fun and action that a
solid summer blockbuster can deliver. Mostly, I'm happy to report, this
is just what it delivers. Although it gets a bit bogged down as it
moves forward, the narrative throws up loads of action and excitement,
with noise and spectacle being the name of the game. Praising the film
for being "old school" perhaps ignores the amount of CGI that it uses
but it is true to say that the action feels remarkably "real" with
stuntmen and real objects used to good effect.
The delivery is mixed but the first half of the film has some great moments of action that gets the blend of action, comedy and tension just right the highpoint for me being the build-up and execution of the traffic being sent into the tunnel (the lights going out being a great trigger). After this (particularly from the scene in the powerplant onwards) the action remains overblown but it tends to lose a certain amount of tension due to the overblown nature of the action and narrative. This was to be expected because we are not given the control surroundings of the first two films or the focused action of the third but it is still a little disappointing to be sitting back watching the scale of the action, rather than really being into it.
For this reason I do feel that the film is unlikely to be viewed as kindly as it is being at present (time of release) and that the flaws across it will be exposed when it moved out of the summer period and into the homes of the audience. The narrative is one of the problems and I do agree with those that ask if this couldn't have been improved in the decade since the third film. The concept is good but it isn't really as smart as in other films where the robbery is a clever twist here it doesn't quite work and really we are left with a chase movie. This is also why the first half of the film was more enjoyable for me, because McClane was the hunted just like he was in the other films, albeit the hunted turning the tables. However in the second half he becomes the Terminator an unstoppable pursuer. Yes, he hurts himself like McClane and spits blood, but it is hard to avoid the fact that he is the hunter and that he is essentially swatting aside anything that is put in his path to stop him. In this regard McClane becomes less relevant within his own film and I think it is understandable that some fans of the series are a bit let down by this.
The move away from this part of the series is minor though and is minor compared to the more obvious shift which saw Fox chasing a bigger audience and sacrificing content for it. With a PG-13 we are treated to a swear-free experience that even sees the catchphrase essentially dropped. Swearing itself is not something I miss but when it is replaced by bad lip-synching then it is annoying and it does make the whole film feel cheap. Again I am totally with the fans who wonder why the series they love was cheapened in an attempt to be marketable for the kiddie audience. Gabriel is not a great villain he is a bit too one-dimensional and he is more Colonel Sanders than he is Hans Gruber.
Wiseman directs the action pretty well even if he loses it a little as the film goes on. The use of the score to link with the first film is always appreciated by me and the odd injoke was amusing even they were a bit clunky at times (we got the Agent Johnson bit we didn't need it emphasised). Willis needed more material to work with because at times he does seem like he is asleep. I enjoyed his McClane performance with all that I expected from it, but he cannot find the urgency that he brought to the other films, perhaps because of his role as hunter. Long is a nice sidekick he's no Jackson but he is enjoyable. Olyphant does his menacing stare well enough but offers little else. Q is a physical presence but she cannot bring much to the party beyond this. Winstead is an unwelcome addition to the film in my opinion. Her introduction makes for a slow start and her involvement in the action is unnecessary McClane was already going after Gabriel, the additional motivation was not needed by him or by the audience, making her weak performance a distraction more than a bonus.
I have been negative here but I am just trying to think beyond the summer. However not all of what I applies at this time because, in the context of a summer of overly serious threequels and misfiring superheroes, Die Hard delivered just what I was looking for noisy, enjoyable action spectacle. Yes, I found it disappointing in some regards but for what it does, it is noisy summer fun that should be seen for what it is.
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.
I'm in no way a fan of summer blockbusters, but as something of an
enthusiast of the Die Hard franchise, I was unable to resist Live Free
or Die Hard. Suffice it to say, I was quite disappointed. The direction
and screen writing were horrible; I'd be able to understand if this
film was, say, a new xXx sequel (which I wouldn't have wasted my time
with), but they were really out of place here. The stunts were alright,
but simply weren't "McClane" enough to leave a lasting impression. The
movie's one-liners, if that's what you would call them, were lame and
transparent (this, however, didn't stop an unimaginative middle-aged
man seated near me from gut-laughing at every remotely smart-ass remark
that came out of Bruce Willis' mouth). Timothy Olyphant, whom I admired
for his sociopathic enthusiasm in films like Go and Scream 2, played
the film's antagonist as if he were a sheet of drywall. And while it
could be said that Die Hard villains are known for their stale
personalities, I was never convinced that Olyphant's Thomas Gabriel
could be considered a serious threat to McClane. I also found it rather
annoying to note that, in approximately every fourth or fifth scene, a
character's lines would be overdubbed, most likely to save the movie
from an R rating. This was an odd choice, considering how gratuitously
violent and foul-mouthed the first three films of the series were. The
most gratuitous this film gets is a bit part from Kevin Smith (whom I
admire less and less with every passing year). Essentially all the
excitement and suspense was given away in the trailer; what I was
surprised at most was the fact that other members of the audience were
audibly surprised that McClane blew up a helicopter with a car by using
a toll booth as a ramp. Here's my bottom line: If you're a good, docile
American, or if something as cerebral as V For Vendetta was outside
your realm of understanding, you'll absolutely love this movie.
P.S. It would be silly to defend Len Wiseman by claiming that it would be unfair to compare Live Free or Die Hard with the first three Die Hard movies. If we weren't supposed to make that comparison, it would've been wise to leave the name John McClane out of this picture, don't you think?
A Die Hard 4 was discussed and thrown around for years. There was a
point when Tears of the Sun was supposed to be Die Hard 4, with John
McClane crashing a plane in the jungle and leading the survivors to
safety through a war-zone. In my opinion, the series ended perfectly
with the brilliant Die Hard With A Vengeance. After so many false
starts it's been 12 years since we last saw John McClane. He was in his
late 30s then, now he's in his early 50s. A lot has happened to
Hollywood action films in that space of time. By that I mean they have
lost their nerve and all of their edge.
Too often our summer movies are nothing but PG-13 crap, designed for the kiddies. Die Hard has always been a hardcore action series, it is a slap in the face and an insult to fans that this unnecessary fourth installment be aimed at an audience that was only 1-year old when the DHWAV was released and an audience that is STILL not old enough to see any of those movies in the first place.
But asides from that, LFODH has it's own problems that not even an R-rating could fix. First of all...Len Wiseman! Why the hell did Fox give this precious franchise to a man who has only directed two awful Underworld movies? Did they learn nothing from AVP when they gave hack Paul Anderson control? We all know what garbage that ended up being. Ironically surnamed Wiseman's style of direction just does NOT suit Die Hard. Gone is the naturalized cinematography of McTiernan and even Harlin. In it's place is a horrid low brightness/high contrast look that has been popular in this post-Michael Bay world. It makes the action and locations quite blurred and incoherent and it sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the other movies. And what's with that silly font in the opening credits? DH2 and DHWAV didn't even have opening credits. Bruce Willis is the only alumni here. Not even any of the original producers are involved. This is not a Die Hard film. Aesthetically and spiritually, this is something completely different, and vastly inferior.
McClane, still a NYPD Detective, despite the ending of DHWAV (hints at alcoholism and being a suspect in the Federal Reserve raid) is sent to pick up computer wiz-kid Matt Farrell (Justin Long, who doesn't appear to be ageing) to help the NSA figure out why computer networks across the country are malfunctioning. Right away nameless baddies are onto them but McClane offs them no sweat. But not all of them, he foolishly leaves the main henchmen alive for some reason (to make more movie).
It turns out that shockingly unscary 'terrorist' Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Elephant) is behind the computer villainy and is out for revenge against the government for firing him after all the hard work he put in for them (just like Travis Dane in Under Siege 2). He's got the brains and the manpower to take the entire US network in to his vice-like grip and send the country back to the stone age. No one can find him since all of his equipment is packed onto a large moving vehicle to keep the signal's transparent and untraceable (just like Travis Dane in Under Siege 2).
Oh God...why did they not get someone else to play this character? Timothy Elephant clearly has no clue how to play a baddie. His idea of sounding threatening is to to move his lips around while talking but never actually opening his mouth. Ooooh...gee don't hurt me! And why Kevin Smith? This really was a step too far. This man doesn't belong in a Die Hard film, plain and simple. All this was was a wink at the audience and another excuse for him to plug Star Wars for the 86 millionth time. Wrong, just wrong!
The action scenes are mildly entertaining, but they are shot and cut with the usual post-Michael Bay confusion. You never really feel like your part of it or feel McClane's danger. And I am sick of Willis and Co. promoting this as 'old-school' with 'real stunts'. You can clearly tell that the majority of it is still crappy CGI. And the cop car/helicopter explosion is just too far-fetched, regardless of how much you can suspend your disbelief. Did a five-year-old write this? That kind of stunt may work fine when you're playing with your Matchbox cars but not in a Die Hard movie.
The lack of swearing didn't bother me too much. You can tell that they did have a lot of cussing in the original cut but were forced to loop some ADR over the top of it after studio pressure. This clearly means that there will be uncut DVD with some perverse title like 'The YipeeKayay Unrated Edition with hardcore footage THEY wouldn't let you see in cinemas'.
Marco Beltrami's score is also a total letdown. After his autopilot hack-job of Terminator 3, why did they let him have control of someone else's themes? The late Michael Kamen did some great stuff on the Die Hard movies but Beltrami only uses his fourth most reoccurring cue and ditches the rest, save for a cue from Die Hard 2.
To me, Die Hard finished in 1995. This film, which was only made to spark some life into a flopping career, is just a tame action film starring Bruce Willis. It's not Die Hard. This one definitely will NOT 'blow you through the back wall of the theatre'.
Oh...and Mr. Writer, if you paid any attention to the other movies you'd know that McClane's son is called John Jnr, not Jack. It seems like you don't know Jack actually.
If you happen to have watched more than two or three action movies
before, you will most likely see some of the plot devices and story
lines recycled for this one.
Except from some outlandish action, and the hope of hearing a tired old action hero deliver his famous one-liner once again, your hopes for a good movie are better placed elsewhere.
Add some seriously wooden acting, downright boring predictability and and a bevy of pre-made quotes that sometimes seem to have been made in total isolation, and you have, well; a nice set set of cardboard posters set in sequence.
That said; blowing things up is always fun!
Willis' hardened seen-it-all cop character has evolved much better through movies like Hostage (2005/I), and this one seems more like a huge step back in just about every other metric than in the department for blowing up the most expensive things possible.
And, yes; this writeup is probably colored by having too high hopes when watching the movie...
I wouldn't contribute to this except to say it's the worst movie I've seen in a long long time. And that's taking into consideration that I wasn't excited about it going into the theater. This was consumerist America rearing its ugly head and saying "thank you sir, may I have another" to corporate Hollywood. This was not a film that should have been made. This was a banal cash-in by some studio execs counting on the national nostalgia about everything that happened in the 80's to come through for them, and like every other sad 80's exhumation, it seems to have paid off. I have lots of friends who still don't get why this is so bad. I rarely pay attention to movies this utterly horrible, but this one I did. Because I loved Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance when I was a teenager. But this piece of trash was absolutely nothing like those movies. It had no plot, no backstory to any of the characters, including the main character, nothing whatsoever to link it to the other movies even for a desperate stab at borrowed value. It was, as the person who slept through most of the movie next to me said "porn for action junkies". And not even that good for porn.
I was disappointed that Len Wiseman was the director as I did not like
the Underworld movies. I didn't think much of Justin Long as the
computer hacker sidekick.
However, this movie got great reviews (8.9 at the time of the writing and almost 80% at Rottentomatoes) so I gave it a shot.
This was a big mistake. The original Die Hard movies were great (not so much 2) because they were character driven action movies which were intense, over the top, and fun.
LFODH is flat out boring. Bruce Willis only showed up in body. He he old, calm, and appears bored. Justin Long is unconvincing as the computer hacker.
The action consists of dumb downed PG-13 explosions which most have already been seen in the trailers.
I also saw 1408 lately which is a good example of PG-13 being intense and designed for adults while still have a friendly rating so the studio can make mega bucks. LFODH was obviously designed to be PG-13 from day 1 as John McClane is not John McClane. He is just an old guy that seems bored and doesn't cuss, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, etc.
However, I was hoping that besides the PC kid friendly rating that LFODH would be exciting and dumb popcorn fun. It was no where close. It was just PC and designed for complete morons.
As a standalone movie, LFOD would get an 4. As a Die Hard Sequel, the movie gets an 1.
My best advice is to rent or purchase Die Hard or Die Hard 3 and skip this one. Go see 1408 if you want a good PG-13 movie or wait for Transformers.
Unfortunately, people will have to see this movie to believe how bad it is.
Die Hard 4.0 or if you rather call it by its name modeled after the New Hampshire license plate "live Free or Die(Hard)", I think Idaho's license plate would have been much more appropriate for this dribble,"Die Hard: Famous Potato's?". Being all this movie is, is a pathetic way attempt to fill movie seats with good ol John Mclane and the Die Hard franchise, while retaining nothing of which made the original movie or sequels appealing, outside of Bruce Willis (very) seldom charm. All the gritty action, and excitement that arose from a down to earth cop whose in over his head has been replaced by a bald superhero engaging in loony tunes type adventure. At one point while driving being chased by a helicopter John intentionally runs over a fire hydrant causing water to fire up from the sidewalk knocking the gunner clean out of the side of the helicopter, it only gets worse from there. Did i mention there's a white super ninja in it too!!! Who runs up walls and jumps across entire streets from rooftop to rooftop are we excited yet!!!! Lastly i'd just like to point out a scene where John is fighting this 90lb karate chick and and getting his ass kicked (dont you love in these cliché movies when 200lb guys who are unstoppable always get beat up by little girls), the girl is all disheveled hair a mess and bruised, BUT right after John gets kicked out a window, they edited in a shot of her from a totally different scene, with her hair neatly tied back and perfect make up, i'm not kidding look for it will probably be the most amusing thing you see in this train wreck of a movie. Which is a good example of what a mess this movie is, and just inexcusable in a big budget movie like this. Do yourself a favor and just go watch the original again.
Live Free or Die Hard, or "Die Hard 4.0" as my invitation flyer said,
A loathable, wise-cracking computer geek gets hunted by robotic, cold blooded terrorists, Brucie turns up, has a bad day etc. After some "attitude" from the geek, Brucie Baby starts liking the kid. Cut to FBI headquarters where things are inexplicably going pear shaped, and the actor from Sunshine is getting hot under the collar. His adviser, one of the bad guys from the 1st series of 24, has no answers! The FBI happen to need the aforementioned too-cool-for-school-floppy-haired-IT-whizzkid to avert an internet terrorist plot! Cue lots of close ups of monitors processing complex algorithms with some super-fit Oriental chick directing proceedings (as if she'd be a terrorist with those looks) spouting unrealistic, unheard of computer lies. Mix that up with indestructible, gymnastic, top-heavy martial-arts-expert bad-guys, ridiculous fight scenes, cars flying into helicopters, good looking cyber criminals speed walking into rooms, eliminating security guards with silenced pistols, and you have your joint biggest waste of money of the year.
The one-liners were so devoid of humour, a pack of hyenas would have been depressed, and like many films these days, it was about 50 minutes too long, I was praying for the ending but it dragged on and on. At least it was a freebie, and Brucie won.
If you want a mindless festival of nonsense then this film still wouldn't satisfy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really love this movie. It's very good. It is honestly my second
favorite from the entire Die Hard series.
My order goes: 1. Die Hard 2. Die Hard 4.0 3. Die Harder 4. Die Hard: With A Vengeance 5. A Good Day To Die Hard
I think this movie was a great way to re-do the series. It brought a whole new fan base to the series, by making it about technology.
In this movie, John McClane is back again. And when terrorists take over everything cyber, he and his new sort-of-friend, Matt Farrell, a young hacker, must join forces to take down the cyber-terrorists before they destroy everything. Something I really love in this movie, is when everyone thinks that they blew up the capital building, because they saw it on every TV and cell phone, and it just turned out to be footage from a movie. It's just great.
Overall, I give this movie a 10 out of 10.
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