Live Free or Die Hard (movie review)
Today’s the day! A Good Day to Die Hard is now in theaters! I’m not sure when Dr. Girlfriend and I will get to see it, so for now, let’s just say that today’s review is the end of Die Hard week. It’s been a blast!
(“It’s been a blast!” is the worst pun ever. I apologize.)
The tremendous gap between Die Hard with a Vengeance and Live Free or Die Hard made me nervous in the sense that at this point, Bruce Willis was an older dude and I wasn’t sure he was up to the task at this point in his career. I dialed my expectations down, but I was still disappointed with this flick, but not with Willis’ performance – although Willis’ might have had something to do with the movie’s shortcomings.The plot just doesn’t work for me. Right from the start, I remember questioning the movie’s logic: doesn’t John McClane go pick up Matt Farrell (Justin Long) at a college in New Jersey? Did they give McClane some convoluted reason for being in Jersey that I can’t remember now? (Visiting his daughter?) Since McClane’s NYPD, it seems like it would make more sense for a local cop to pick up Farrell, so I was immediately scratching my head. (Farrell is an extremely boring character that is supposed to be funny but isn’t and is a poor replacement for Zeus as McClain’s unwilling side kick.) The cyber attack was boring, the fake explosion of the Capital Building seemed silly to me and ultimately, McClane fighting adversaries that preferred computers to guns just wasn’t working for me. I think this is why the action was silly in this movie compared with the other films in the franchise (most notably the helicopter and the jet), although I did like the fight at the power station. Then we get to that scene where we briefly meet Warlock (Kevin Smith), who is the only memorable side character in the movie, during which Warlock explains who the bad guy is and his true motivations… which are kinda stupid, because at this point, we’ve already seen him and his crew take control of the transportation grids, television signals, the stock market and knock out most of the power on the eastern sea board so… I got it. The bad guy is bad ass. Duly noted already. Giving him a personal motivation didn’t make him more interesting the way it did for Simon in Die Hard with a Vengeance because Simon’s motivation tied him to our main character – which they tried to replicate by having this bad guy kidnap McClane’s daughter, which, again, just seemed silly to me. In the end, the good guys win, they save McClane’s daughter, after which she and Farrell are making eyes at each other, much to McClane’s displeasure. Again, silly – Lucy McClane is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY out of Farrell’s league and they don’t know each other, so again, it seems silly to me.
Ultimately, the movie just doesn’t work. It’s not terrible, but it’s not good, either – and it’s the worst in the series up to that point. (Again, haven’t seen A Good Day to Die Hard yet.) Now, I’ll let Kevin Smith shed some light on why the movie has so many problems, but before I do so, it should be noted that Bruce Willis seems like a really good dude. Check this out:
Bruce Willis’ stunt double, Larry Rippenkroeger, was knocked unconscious when he fell 25 feet (7.6 m) from a fire escape to the pavement. Rippenkroeger suffered broken bones in his face, several broken ribs, a punctured lung, and fractures in both wrists. Due to his injuries, production was temporarily shut down. Willis personally paid the hotel bills for Rippenkroeger’s parents and visited him a number of times at the hospital.
That’s the act of someone who cares about his boys, an I appreciate that. On the other hand, it kinda sounds like there might have been too many chefs in the Live Free or Die Hard kitchen – and after you watch this clip, you’ll find out that this includes Bruce Willis’ personal chef.
So… there you go. How many writers did they say were working on this flick? It took 2 days just to shoot one simple dialogue scene? Crazy. Anyway, I think that explains some of the movie’s short comings.
In the end, Live Free or Die Hard isn’t terrible, but it’s certainly not good. I give it a 6.5 out of 10.