The Best Movie Ever?

by Ian T. McFarland on June 27, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Live Free or Die Hard
  • IMDB: link

live-free-or-die-hard-posterOkay, probably not.  In fact, it’s definitely not the best movie ever, but it’s a summer movie chock-full of over-the-top thrill moments perfect for the season.  It’s a stupid, stupid movie, but don’t let its mindlessness fool you – Die Hard kicks enough ass to make up for it.

It’s the 21st Century, and war ain’t what it used to be.  The armies only comprise of a few dozen hackers and a handful of guys carrying guns, and the good guys only have their information stolen – never their lives.  But Bruce Willis still knows how an stick his boot up a pooper or two, and movie-goers should be thankful for it.  After an often lackluster-ish Spider-Man 3 and the complete failure of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, summer has finally given us a good ol’ fashioned, buffet-of-explosions action flick that we can enjoy for just being a fun waste of time and thinking.

In the movie, a group of angered Americans and, for reasons never explained, some ranod French mercenaries, are attacking the nation via the wonder of computers.  But if there’s any man who you can count on to take care of business, it’s Jack Bauer John McClane, and with a little help from a hacker, his gun and a few dozen cars going BOOM! into various objects, what can’t he do?< Justin Long plays the comic relief side kick, and does it well.  Even though the existence of his character is largely secondary, Long and Willis’ interactions keep the supporting star from feeling too much like the formulaic silly white boy that needs to stop whining and start being a manly man.  As is in the Live Free or Die Hard, Long is a smart hacker who, even when taken out of his element, is able to keep a good head about things and use his talents thriftily.

In our post-9/11 world, the film features on a good deal of semi-serious terrorism, much more than any tent-pole commercial film has since 2001.  The bad guys launch a full-on assault on an entire nation, and when we hear the guys at the FBI shouting “We’re under attack,” it strikes a chord it couldn’t have ten years ago.  It might be too exploitative for some audiences, but because no one is directly killed as a result of the attack, it never channels anything that a general audience can’t handle.

It’s not a perfect ride – there is no shortage of plot holes (I’d give you a few examples, but there are so many that it’s hard to pick just one,) character motivation often doesn’t make sense, and though the PG-13 rating allows a surprising amount of shit to go down, it’s still not as wild as a Die Hard movie could or should be.

Did they really need to make a fourth ‘Die Hard?’  A decade after part three came out, the franchise seemed finished and established as a trilogy, so you’d hope that Twentieth Century Fox and Willis would only come back with a fourth part if it was going to be damn good.  Well, it might not be quite ‘damn good,’ but it’s good enough and a fair enough excuse to hear John McClane say “Yippee Ki Yay, Mother Fucker!” one more time.

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