235 of 252 people found the following review helpful
Like many other people nervously anticipating Len Wiseman's debut as DH4 director, I could only hope that he could live up to, at the least, Die Hard 2. But he has done a fantastic job with McClane, that lives up to the previous trilogy. In fact, I'd rank LFoDH just behind the first Die Hard movie. No one can top Alan Rickman! The small touches, e.g. Gennero/McClane, Agent Johnson, helicopter flying, are subtle, but add greatly to the movie.
There were a few things missing from the theatrical release, of course. Most noticeably, the lack of swearing, McClane's trademark yippee-kai-yay being truncated. The violence was all there, but it just wasn't intense enough. Fear not fans! The unrated version fixes all of that! It's fantastic, McClane is back in all of his mf-in' glory!
**Spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk.**
I was hoping for some more dialogue from Timothy Olyphant in the unrated version, but unfortunately, he is still a bit one-dimensional. Run-times of the unrated vs. the theatrical are about the same, surprising considering that the unrated does add extra scenes.
What the unrated version includes:
Many more f-words and MF-ers.
- Extra dialogue between McClane and his captain, Clevino.
- Longer opening intro scene to Matt Long typing to the warlock,
listening to rock music.
- Extra banter when McClane and Matt first meet.
- More intro shots at the FBI command center.
- Shot of the National Transportation Center losing control of their
- More shots of false anthrax alarm evacuation.
- Thomas Gabriel's hodgepodge of video of Nixon/Bush/Clinton speaking is
- Blood spurts!!! More gore, though not significantly more.
- More McClane-isms. When John is driving the police car in the tunnel
towards the helicopter, Rand shoots the engine, which lights on fire.
McClane quips, "Well the car's on fire, that can't be good."
- When Matt runs to his side after McClane destroys the helicopter,
McClane adds, "100,000 people are killed every year by cars. What's
- Quick shot of dead guards in power plant.
- When Mai dies in the elevator explosion, McClane screams a profanity
laced tirade at her.
- McClane flying (and landing!) helicopter scene much longer.
- The guy getting crushed in the giant blades scene doesn't have much
- Yippee-kay-yay mf-er is said in full!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2007
Fans of the Die Hard franchise were upset when it was announced that this film would be the first one in the series to be rated PG-13, an obvious bid to attract a younger audience. Thankfully, the more violent, profanity-laden unrated version is included on this DVD so that we can watch the film the way it was meant to be seen.
The first disc includes an audio commentary by director Len Wiseman, actor Bruce Willis and editor Nicolas De Toth. Right from the get-go, all three men address the studio-imposed PG-13 rating thing and how they went ahead and shot an R rated version anyway. There are quite a few lulls as the three men tend to get caught up watching the film but manage to deliver a fairly decent track.
The second starts off with "Analog Hero in a Digital World: Making Live Free or Die Hard," a feature-length documentary that can also be viewed as 10 separate featurettes. Wiseman admits to being a big fan of the series, especially the first one, and this motivated his decision to accept the gig. Various other aspects of the production are covered in detail, including casting the main roles, set design, stunts, editing, visual effects, and sound. This is done in an accessible way that is entertaining and informative.
"Yippee Ki Yay Motherf*****!" Filmmaker Kevin Smith interviews Bruce Willis in this fun, entertaining extra. Smith flat out asks Willis why he decided to do yet another Die Hard sequel. He admits that mistakes were made on the second and third films and with this new one he was more conscious about not repeating those mistakes. Smith asks good questions which Willis answers them honestly.
There is a music video for "Die Hard" by Guyz Nite, a pop punk band. The song pays tribute to the Die Hard films with a montage of clips from all four films.
"Behind the Scenes with Guyz Nite" is forgettable look at this rock band as they talk about themselves and their music.
"Fox Movie Channel Presents Fox Legacy" takes a brief look at the Die Hard franchise, giving a little backstory.
Finally, there is a theatrical trailer.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
After having temporarily staved off a vicious assault, Justin Long's character shakily asks his savior if he's done stuff like that before and if he's killed someone before, to which John McClane's laconic response is "Not for a long time." And, indeed, it's been 12 long years since DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE. John McClane is now older, balder, grumpier, and, saddled with a PG-13 rating, not as profane, but he still cannot stay out of trouble. This time, he's assigned the seemingly mundane task of escorting in young hacker Matt Farrell (Justin Long), who's wanted for questioning. But the situation quickly sours as, within moments of meeting Farrell, McClane begins to hear that oh-so-familiar melody of automatic gunfire directed at their noggins.
Both McClane and the frail but side-of-the-mouth funny computer geek speedily realize that Farrell's fringe involvement is merely the very tip of the iceberg, and that the stakes are much, much higher. Turns out that the contractor who'd hired Farrell to do a simple, innocuous code work is scheming to hold the entire nation hostage with his own paralyzing brand of cyber terrorism. Soon, the systematical shutdown of the American infrastructure is underway as, basically, all things computerized become compromised. This includes the targeting and usurping of key establishments such as the FAA, Amtrak, the stock market, and our satellite communications system. But, for Los Angelinos like myself, the most insiduous act commited may have been the subversing of *gasp* the street traffic lights.
For the now grizzled John McClane, nothing much has changed. He's a Lieutenant Detective now, so he's kind of moved up in the world. And he still has those perpetually pursed lips. But his personal life is predictably very much of a mess. He's alone again, divorced (with his ex-wife Holly gone back to using her Gennero surname) and estranged from his children. The start of the film has McClane pathetically attempting to keep tabs on his wilful and sullen daughter, Lucy Gennero (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). But she wants none of his reconciliatory gestures. Not to mention, McClane's an anachronistic type who clings to classic rock music and who is computer unsavvy. Good thing he's got a hacker in his custody.
It's such a treat to watch Bruce Willis again be in his element and playing this iconic role. Not that Entertainment Weekly has the final say, but I do agree with the magazine's listed assessment of Die Hard (Widescreen Edition) as being the top action film ever (ALIENS was number 2, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was number 3). Nowadays, Willis, at 52 years old, is not as spry or free with the smirks. But his physicality, even at this stage, can't be questioned as he suffered bruises and scars in the making of this film. As McClane, he still trounces bad guys with the best of 'em. But, more so than McClane's penchant for arse whoopin', what draws the audience to him is that aura of reluctance, world weariness, and doggedness which he exudes so naturally. We relate to this ordinary, blue collar cat who, time and again, becomes stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time and is forced to angrily muddle thru because there's no one else to do the job. Although LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD portrays McClane as more of a supercop this time, who can go one on one with an F-35 fighter jet and murder an assault chopper with a car, I still fondly remember the first film, in which McClane passed muster as a very likable everyday guy barely keeping it together in Nakatomi Plaza. John McClane has built up so much good will that I'm able to easily forgive - and even celebrate - the high octane and wildly improbable excesses here.
Justin Long, dubiously best known as the Mac guy in the Apple computer ad campaigns, gets his number called for sidekick duties, and he does a good job, although there were times where his trembly act got to be too much. His Matt Farrell may be a borderline computer felon but his heart's in the right place. Long gets to make the brunt of the wisecracks while McClane tersely motors along (he says to some fellow geeks who'd just blown his cover, "Good luck at the Bad Timing Awards."). One failing of the film is the lack of a charismatic villain. Timothy Olyphant is unmemorable as former Homeland Security computer whiz Thomas Gabriel, whose mission is to digitally teach the nation and his ex-bosses a lesson while garnering sinful financial amounts. There's nothing fresh or arresting about Olyphant's acting performance, which basically consists of a whole lot of staring really hard. But, admittedly, it's fun to witness Gabriel's ever growing exasperation as McClane persists in surviving. Maggie Q does better as the evil hot Asian babe who's also a formidable martial artist. Her character Mai proves to be pretty resilient (but, ultimately, not resilient enough). Writer and maverick director Kevin Smith gets a chance to mug for the camera as the Warlock (or Freddy, to his mom), a jedi hacker whose base of operations is in his mother's basement. Bonnie Bedelia, by the way, is sorely missed, and the film would've benefited with more scenes between McClain and his surly daughter.
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD is primed to be a colossal summer blockbuster, and, as such, it has certain criteria it has to meet. Director Len Wiseman (the UNDERWORLD films) comes strong and full bore with great visuals, a relentless pace, implausible action sequences, and crazy pyrotechnics. And all this performed at raucous, senses shattering decibels. The stunts are mindblowing, keeping in mind that CG effects were kept to a minimum. These are flesh and bone stunts being done here. But, still, at the heart of the loud thrill-a-minutes, there is Bruce Willis keeping it all together with his signature McClane-isms. I still get a vast kick out of his un-PC chortling whenever he causes yet another bad guy's demise (oh, that poor, agile-as-a-monkey French dude). As always, to me, his mockery of death, in a way, adds a layer of realism as this has become McClane's way of ackowledging his vulnerability and celebrating his surviving yet another harrowing scrape. LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD is PG-13, but the film finds ways to circumvent the rating as the ever resourceful McClane continues to cuss (but minus the "F" word) and ad-lib his way to amassing an impressive body count. Yippee-ki-yay, futhermucker.
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2007
I'm a huge Die Hard fan as are most warm-blooded males, and my biggest fear was that this would just be another modern actioner with John McClane in it, but not a DH movie per-se. Well, thankfully, those fears couldn't have been more unfounded. This is definitely a DH movie, and what's more is it's the best action movie I've seen in a long time (which any DH movie worth making should be). Bruce Willis is truly the greatest action hero pretty much ever, and he reminded me of that constantly during this film. Now, some of the action is silly to say the least (the F-25 jet versus truck scene instantly comes to mind), but the movie never takes itself too seriously, and everything is well staged and executed. The PG-13 rating makes little difference, and I honestly can't believe they got away with it cuz this is one hard-hitting action thriller. Trust me, nice and violent even by DH standards. Also,I honestly wouldn't have minded a little more of McClane's signature overuse of the F-bomb, but there are some great lines and it's not exactly profanity-lite. Either way, this is a true summer movie and a true Die Hard movie! So if you like both of those things and aren't looking for depth and realism, but just a damn good time at the movies, then this is your ticket. Of all of the sequels and blockbusters this summer worth mentioning or seeing (or lack thereof), I can honestly say that Yippee-Ki-Yay is the way!
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2007
In "Live Free or Die Hard",for the fourth time,we meet John McClane (Bruce Willis). While John McClane's past work in treacherous situations has earned McClane the honor of Senior detective,his personal life has fallen apart. This is courtesy of John McClane's divorce from the woman whom we know as Holly,and his two children(John Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character of Lucy McClane)no longer speaking to him.
And then,one night,John McClane's life takes a sudden turn around into precariousness. This is when the last minute arrest that John McClane has to make of a computer hacker by the name of Matt Farrell(Justin Long)puts McClane face to face with a man who matches the characteristics of a person that the U.S. would fear. That man is Thomas Gabriel(Timothy Olymphant),who has the computer infrastructure and the world at the tip of his fingers,and can permanently damage both at any time. Now,with the assistance of Matt Farrell,it is up to John McClane to save America(as well as his own daughter)by defeating Thomas Gabriel and going through some of the detrimental and fearful obstacles that he has encountered before(need I say when and how?)with success,intelligence,and an appropriate amount of style.
"Live Free or Die Hard" is a top-notch film that fits perfectly into the "Die Hard" series. "Live Free or Die Hard" successfully recaptures the action and suspense that one got out of "Die Hard",while succeeding in the action and suspense not recycling the action and suspense that was in DH,and at the same time,keeping everything entertaining. There is plenty of comedy in "Live Free or Die Hard" that remains true to the comedy that you would find in any film that sits in the genres of comedy and action/comedy,without going overboard. To top it all off,"Live Free or Die Hard" allows itself to be straightforward and realistic. This is by "Live Free or Die Hard" being "honest" towards the kind of real life situation that it is dealing with,but at the same time,not choking on what is known as crime drama or becoming too much of a reality that people fear. Add all of this together,and you have an irreproachable film that carries the same beauty that "Die Hard" was able to carry. That beauty? A plausible(if you are able to look past some of the action sequences)film that successfully combines reality with action,never failing to entertain and successfully keeping itself from being a giddy action film.
There are actually two unrated DVD versions of "Live Free or Die Hard" that are being released on DVD(the other two not being unrated). One two disc set,and one with only one disc. As we wait to learn ***all*** of the special feautures that will be on these two DVD versions of "Live Free or Die Hard"(which will be released on November 20),I recommend pre-ordering the two disc set(for more special feautures,unless you want to save money). But,either way,it doesn't really matter. Why? Because the unrated version of "Live Free or Die Hard" takes the theatrical version of LFDH and gives fans more of what they were hoping to get out of a non PG-13 rated version of "Live Free or Die Hard"!!!!
Overall,the best film in the "Die Hard" series(in my opinion),and a DVD that remains true to the "Die Hard" series and gives "Live Free or Die Hard" and fans of the DH series what they really want and deserve--a proficient action film that is what it deserves to be,not an action film that is cleaned up(despite how good "Live Free or Die Hard" turned out to be and still is).
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2007
The three stars is for the PG-13 version thats on this blu ray.Live free or Die Hard I think is the best one yet.As for the PG-13 version first its more than just a couple curse words Its more like 25 curse words.Second if your a fan of Die Hard you know that profanity is part of what John McClane is,I think the movie loses a little bit of that raw edge without it,come on this is DIE HARD.I first bought the blu ray version at midnight at wal-mart,I thought oh well so its not the unrated version.I thought the unrated version was probly just a curse word or two maybe some extra violence.After watching the blu ray two things hit me the first was that the blu ray does look really good and sounds great but I also thought it may have lost a little bit of that rawness from the previous films becouse of the PG-13.So today I bought the unrated DVD version
and yes it makes a big diffrence on the movie it has the crazy,raw John McClane like we are use to.Just get the unated version now they'll release an unrated blu ray soon enough.I guess the studio thought they would lose some money if teenagers with Playstation 3 couldn't buy this so they left the blu ray PG-13.Thats to bad
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2007
It is worth noting that before "Live Free or Die Hard" was released, it actually had two complaints that it had to deal with: not only was it PG-13, the grandfather of the "Die Hard" series, John McTiernan (who directed "Die Hard" and "Die Hard With a Vengeance"; something that gave McTiernan the honor of directing all but one of the DH films before this was released), was MIA. Negative signs for a sequel, especially a sequel to a film that came out twelve years ago ("Die Hard With a Vengeance") and is a fourth film in a trilogy.
But, none of the above hurts "Live Free or Die Hard" whatsoever. This time around, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is still a New York City police officer. While John McClane's police work has become easier, his personal life hasn't. This is due to the fact that John McClane is divorced from his wife Holly, and that his two children, Lucy (portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in this film) and John Jr. are not speaking to him (throughout this film, with the exception of a picture of the actress that played Holly McClane in "Die Hard" and "Die Hard 2: Die Harder", Bonnie Bedelia, being present, there is no sign of either Holly McClane or John McClane Jr. throughout this film).
And then, one night, everything in John McClane's life turns around and makes a turn for the worse. Once John McClane has arrested a computer hacker by the name of Matt Farrell (Justin Long), before McClane knows it, he and Farrell are on the run. Now, not only is it up to John McClane to save the life of Matt Farrell(and before he knows it, his own daughter),he and Farell,before they know it, are up against Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olymphant),a dangerous man who has the computer infrastructure and the world at the tip of his fingers.
Can John McClane not only defeat Thomas Gabriel, but at the same time, rescue his own daughter, Matt Farrell, and the entire nation? Or, will the power of Thomas Gabriel lead to Gabriel defeating both John McClane and the nation, and McClane's personal life and career being permanently scarred?
The only things that will tell are time, decisions, and intelligence.
So, what makes "Live Free or Die Hard" a strong addition to the "Die Hard" series? Based off of the article "A Farewell to Arms" by John Carlin,"Live Free or Die Hard" understands its limits. It avoids becoming too much of reality that several people fear every day, without trying to be light for that specific reason. In that matter, "Live Free or Die Hard" is straightforward and realistic, something that any type of film like itself needs. There is plenty of suspense and action in "Live Free or Die Hard" that is richly executed, and is able to remain true to its predecessors ("Die Hard"," Die Hard 2:Die Harder", and "Die Hard With a Vengeance"),without recycling them. At the same time, you will find classic humor that is to be found in "Live Free or Die Hard". This humor 1)never fails to entertain,2)fits in well the script, and 3)is suitable enough for "Live Free or Die Hard" to be a strong addition to the "Die Hard" films, without going overboard.
The acting in "Live Free or Die Hard" is also another one of the film's highlights. The main actors of "Live Free or Die Hard"--Bruce Willis,Justin Long,Timothy Olymphant,and actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead--plus several others--perfectly understand the drama and emotion that their performance in "Live Free or Die Hard" requires, and execute it to their fullest. At the same time, Bruce Willis and Justin Long make a perfect onscreen team, while Willis, despite his age, NAILS the action that his fourth portrayal of John McClane requires.
It is also worth noting that even though some people were angry/disappointed that John McTiernan did not direct "Live Free or Die Hard", the director of LFODH, Len Wiseman (who was hired as a replacement director for McTiernan, as a result of McTiernan having "Three Kings" and "Batman Begins" producer Charles Roven wiretapped and lying to FBI agents about it) serves as a perfect director for the film. Not only does Len Wiseman's direction of "Live Free or Die Hard" save the film from its PG-13 rating (in other words, Wiseman did a good job at making sure that LFORDH was not less intense by its rating, something that could have happened) and give it the suspense, emotion, action, and humor that it needed, there is something else worth noting. That is the fact that as good as the first three "Die Hard" films were, all three of them did have some goofs and a few bits of inaccurate information. But," Live Free or Die Hard" does not have these two flaws--something that proves that Len Wiseman did his homework while making this film, something that makes Wiseman a talented director.
Bottom Line: if you are a fan of the "Die Hard" series, "Live Free or Die Hard" is not to be missed, as it is top notch and does not disappoint.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2007
Ok, first things first. This is a review for the Unrated version of Live Free Or Die Hard. I will not go into plot lines, as its been done already on this page. What I will say is what is different. I have just watched my imported copy of Die Hard 4.0 (just recieved it today from the UK). Keep in mind this is the uncut UK edition and as such, should be the same as our domestic release. If there are any changes, I will post another review. To answer one reviewer's question about the runtime being the same as the theatrical version, He's right. It is the same runtime. However, the movie is unrated, not extended. The changes are all in the dialog. Some lines have been changed or removed all together. The "that will wake the neighbors " line is now removed, now jumping straight to the action instead of the pause. The "I ran out of bullets" line is now changed as well. There are alot of F***s and mother f*****s now replaced in the dialog. There is still some strange editing and weird syncs with the dubbing matching the actors mouths. There is more blood added and yes, Bruce does say his full catch phrase. The movie in my opinion, with everythig put back in, is much better. It feels even more like Die Hard than it did in theatres. All in all, this is a very enjoyable film and you should reserve judgement until you'e seen the Unrated Cut. To me, the differences made a significant improvement to what was already a great action movie and a good sequel to a great franchise.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Die Hard is considered by many film buffs as the greatest action movie ever made. There is just something about the character of John McClane that attracts movie goers. Is it his spunky attitude or is it the fact that he is known for having really bad days? It's both. There have been action franchises that have run out of steam in the past, but all three Die Hard films were great fun. Usually I'm not a fan of dipping into the well one too many times, but if Batman Begins and Casino Royale were able to re-spark the magic then why not give Die Hard another go?
Live Free Or Die Hard takes an old fashioned cop and throws him out of his element, which leaves room for a supporting character. Justin Long steps in as McClane's frazzled and tech wizard sidekick. Timothy Olyphant plays a cyber terrorist who decides to shutdown the entire nation in order to systematically collect hundreds of millions of bank account numbers in order to show the government that the system can in fact be broken. Now it's up to John McClane and his sidekick Matthew Farrell to save the day.
What follows is high octane action that one expects from a Die Hard movie. An important thing to point out is how director Len Wiseman stayed true to the Die Hard style and kept CGI to a minimum. Die Hard movies were great because they did action using real stunts and real explosions. The one thing I was afraid of was that this new Die Hard would go with the trend and use CGI as a crutch when in fact it used it as a tool. There are plenty of stunts that are real sets and real explosions. A few scenes fallback on CGI, but only because doing them for real just wouldn't work. Bruce Willis also keeps the spunk that is John McClane. You'll laugh at the one-liners and the witty remarks that Willis adds in the tensest situations and of course Justin Long is just great with sarcasm. They make a great on-screen duo. I also think that the humor in the Die Hard series is what makes it such a great action series. It's the fact that the filmmakers realize they are making an action movie; a movie in which nothing could ever happen in real life. Lots of action movies take themselves too seriously and they become laughably bad, but Live Free Or Die Hard keeps that spunk that makes it laughably enjoyable. Don't get me wrong though; there are some amazing action scenes that will make you tense up. This is by no means a comedy. The elevator shaft scene was one that stood out and reminded me of the trailer hanging off the cliff in Spielberg's The Lost World.
Moving onto the score this brings up Marco Beltrami. I can state here that I am not a Marco Beltrami fan. The only score of his that I liked was his score to The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada. I always feel like he never does anything thematic at all and which is why I was worried when he was selected to fill Michael Kamen's shoes. Michael Kamen was the composer of the first three Die Hard films, but sadly he passed away in 2003. He was a greatly respected composer and his work on the first three Die Hards were iconic. Thankfully Marco Beltrami rose to the occasion and did a wonderful tribute with his score to Live Free Or Die Hard. He touches on some themes that Kamen wrote and gives it that Die Hard feel and atmosphere.
Overall this movie was great. I had a great time watching it and felt like it was better than most of the high budget stuff I've seen this summer so far. Sometimes we need to go back to the basics to remind us why we love what we love. The reason why we love action movies is because of Die Hard and it was great fun seeing McClane back in action.
37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
The DIE HARD franchise isn't a thinking man's dream. It belongs to the wannabe action hero inside every red-blooded American male. And to the women who love them. Any misapprehension that these films are going to take themselves realistically or seriously should be checked at the door.
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD opened Wednesday of this week just in time for the Fourth of July celebration, and to take advantage of the extra-long weekend at the box office. It's the fourth film in the franchise about New York Police Department Detective John McClane, absolutely the toughest cop Hollywood has ever created. In my opinion. Nobody bleeds like McClane bleeds. Or limps. Or talks to himself, delivering a humorous, self-deprecating monologue on how he got into the whole mess he is in.
There was some hesitation about whether or not Bruce Willis could pull off the franchise character again. There was no hesitation about the fact that if Bruce Willis could not play McClane, no one else could. Willis the actor and McClane the character are too tightly-knit to allow to anyone else to intrude into the franchise. Maybe other actors can play James Bond and win over a whole new audience, but I can't see that happening with this one. Not as long as Bruce Willis can still walk and talk.
After seeing the movie, there's no doubt that Willis - and McClane -are back in a big way. For a while, Willis swore he'd never play the character again. He wanted more serious roles and a chance to stretch as an actor. He's made some good films, and some not so good films, since DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE with Samuel L. Jackson. And while the McClane role is somewhat limiting Willis pulls it off with zest. Maybe he was born to do other things as well, but he was definitely born to be John McClane.
Now all the fans are going to be waiting for the next Die Hard movie, although there hasn't been any talk of such. We can only hope.
The movie starts out with a bang, the way these things always do. A group of cyber-criminals utilize code and algorithms written by blackboard computer hackers to get into key Federal government installations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They're operating under a man named Thomas Gabriel, who has used enough players in his operation that none of the computer hackers know who they are working for or what they are truly doing.
As soon as Gabriel is certain that he's into the computer networks he wants to be into, he gives orders to start the elimination process of all the computer hackers involved. The action turns violent and bloody. Matt Farrell (played brilliantly by Justin Long) is the only one who escapes his fate, and that's only through the direct intervention of McClane.
It's been twelve years since the last DIE HARD movie. Those twelve years are reflected in the latest release. McClane has gotten older and his life has moved on. His wife finally left him for good and he's estranged from his son and daughter. He's introduced breaking up his daughter's latest date in a fairly humorous scene.
One of the things that was awkwardly handled in the movie was Lucy's - McClane's daughter -sudden change in feelings about her father. Viewers knew it was coming, but it came without true motivation from within. That part felt particularly scripted.
When McClane gets the call to go pick up a known computer hacker, the tension immediately ratchets up. In a move that was also very scripted, McClane arrives at Matt's house just in time to keep him from being blown to smithereens. (And you have to wonder why the bad guys simply didn't walk into each of the hackers' houses/apartments and simply shoot them when they were done with them. The explosions were just to give the special effects crew a warm-up for the action that was coming.)
The cat and mouse game begins, with McClane alternately fighting to stay alive and chasing the bad guys. The action sequences are pure dynamite, fueled by adrenaline and testosterone - on part of the characters and the audience. Viewers that are totally into the McClane experience are hard pressed not to hoot and holler in support of their hero's actions and one-liners.
Those fans understand that there are glaring plot holes and things that make no sense and in the real world things wouldn't function the way they do in the movie. For instance, the cell phone systems would go down almost immediately as emergency services took them over to use for their own operations. McClane uses a cell phone a lot in the beginning of the movie, as do the terrorists. Those would be the first things shut down. Security on major important network sites, like the eastern seaboard utility control area, would be immediately entrenched in military personnel if the United States government believed it was under attack.
But that's beside the point. This film is about action, not about reality. Reality would be much slower paced.
As always, McClane ends up being the guy involved in the investigation who gets all the key pieces as to what's really going on. It wouldn't be a DIE HARD movie if he didn't.
The concept of the "fire sale" in the realms of cyber-terrorism is a real thing. There are a lot of checks and balances to keep it at bay, but it is one of the things the United States government constantly guards against. The movie sells the idea very well.
Also, though the franchise isn't known for being cutting-edge or high-tech, there's a lot of the emerging computer technology and integrated systems that are nationwide and international in the film. Justin Long's character introduces all that technology and the concepts behind it in bite-sized chunks that the audience can keep track of in the midst of car chases, gunfights, and serious explosions.
I found myself as enthralled by the computer attacks as I was by McClane's usual physical action and banter. There was something so inherently cool about watching the terror-geeks and Matt Ferrell at work on computer systems even though much of it was fake. The idea that it was all possible and would be done in such a way was amazing.
But the action - that's the key to every Die Hard film. There's plenty of it in this movie. Is it over the top? No doubt about it! No one - but no one - could walk away from all the damage that McClane takes while doggedly pursuing the bad guys. I lost count of the number of bodies left behind, the number of vehicles that were destroyed in wrecks and explosions, the number of buildings that were leveled, and would have to guess that the number of bullets fired must be in the millions.
The most over-the-top sequence in the film is the scene where McClane is driving an eighteen-wheeler through a system of elevated highways while being pursued and fired upon by a military attack jet with hover capability. There is simply no way this could ever happen, or that a truck could suffer that much damage and still keep going. Much less without the driver getting killed.
If they do a video game on this movie as they have some of the movies in the past, you can see this sequence being part of the game. It's ludicrous. It's impossible. And yet, it's so McClane. And that's what puts the butts in the seats, folks.
Maggie Q plays possibly the most lethal lady McClane has ever had the misfortune of crossing paths with. She absolutely tears him apart for a while. And that leads to possibly the second-most over-the-top sequence in the film when the action spreads the elevator shaft. Still, if anybody was gonna do it like this, it has to be rogue cop John McClane.
Make no mistake. This film isn't for posterity. This film isn't even close to Academy Award material - except maybe for special effects.
What this film is, and where it succeeds so admirably, is an action film starring one of the best action heroes ever invented or portrayed, and played once more by the only actor that could do that character justice. This is superhero action without the cape and the mutant abilities. And this is a hero who's fallible yet impossible to beat.
Treat yourself to a summer delight over the holidays. Buy a ticket. Invest heavily in a willing suspension of disbelief at the door. Find a good seat. And prepare to cheer on John McClane one more time as he goes up against impossible - and, admittedly, wildly improbable - odds.