Saturday, July 14, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

I felt both excitement and a bit of fear and trepidation when I heard there would be a fourth installment to the Die Hard franchise. Die Hard, in my opinion, is a near perfect action flick. I definitely count it among my favorite movies.

Die Harder wasn't quite up to the standards of its predecessor, but still managed to maintain the rogue cop wise-cracking, kickass action that is John McClane. Die Hard with a Vengeance was a considerable drop in quality. As much as I love Samuel L. (what does that "L" stand for, anyway?) Jackson, turning Die Hard into a buddy action flick was a bad idea.

So almost 20 years after the first Die Hard and more than 10 years after the last installment comes Live Free or Die Hard. At age 52 does Bruce Willis still have his mojo? Will Justin Long (aka "The Mac Guy") be able to hold his own? Will McClane find cartoonishly innovative ways to dispatch the bad guys?

The answers are: yes, Yes and a resounding YES!!! to all three questions. Bruce plays McClane as a bit more world-weary and worse for wear, but still a formidable action hero. In the original, Willis played McClane as an ordinary (well, maybe a bit more clever than ordinary) cop under extraordinary circumstances. 20 years and many butts kicked later, McClane is hardly ordinary--which is why the addition of Justin Long as computer hacker Matt Farrell works. Long's character provides the grounding and comic foil for Willis' larger than life John McClane.

While some of the action sequences strain credulity (seriously--a fighter pilot playing chicken with a semi on the highway?), all are a rollercoaster thrill ride. The villain, played by an icy Timothy Olyphant, and the villain's motivations, hearkens back to the original Die Hard (and Die Hard III for that matter), in that it's all about the money.

I'm surprised more people haven't gone to see this--in my opinion it's the best action flick of the summer (and if you care--Knocked Up was best comedy and Pirates III best epic adventure). If you're a Bruce Willis fan, Die Hard fan, action flick fan--or you have a little crush on the Mac guy, you have to go see this movie! It's so good, I'm now keeping my fingers crossed for Die Hard V.

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