Movie Review – ‘Live Free or Die Hard’

Review by J.T. Johnson


DIRECTOR: Len Wiseman
WRITER: Mark Bomback
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami

When virtual terrorists plot to destroy the cyber infrastructure of the U.S. there is only one man who can save the day. His name: John McClane. Joining him along for the ride is Justin Long as a hacker who unwittingly helps the terrorist carry out their plot. Timothy Olyphant of “Deadwood” fame plays the evil hacker behind the mayhem.

The first rule of “Live Free or Die Hard” is action and in this movie, there is plenty of it. Once Officer McClane picks up Long’s Matthew Ferrell, the chase is on and the film never lets up. The action reminds you that once again you are in the over-the-top world of Officer McClane and you know you are watching a “Die Hard” movie.

Bruce Willis plays McClane as a hero who has lost everything. He is divorced from his wife, his daughter doesn’t want anything to do with him, and he is annoyed that his superiors want him to go pick up this kid hacker in Jersey. However, once he gets caught up in the middle of this new threat, McClane is willing to do, as always, what he has to do to stop the bad guys.

Long plays a character that could have been nothing more than a whiny little bastard, but the actor pulls it off and you actually like the guy. He may not be as supportive as Reginald Vel Johnson’s character in the first “Die Hard” or as fun as Samuel L. Jackson’s character in “Die Hard with a Vengeance”, but he holds his own. Olyphant is strong as the movie’s main antagonist and holds his own against McClane as well.

For all of you die hard “Die Hard” fans who bitched about the PG-13 rating, this one is for you. One little problem with the movie is at moments you can tell that the PG-13 rating is causing McClane to hold his tongue where he would normally just lose it and start dropping F-bombs with every other word (Face it, Fox, it is a “Die Hard” movie. Get with the program.)

For some of the fans of the past movies, this could be a problem, but it really did not bother me that much that they cut down on McClane’s sometimes dirty mouth. One real problem with the movie is that some of the smaller parts of the film, like the head of the FBI Cyber Division, are just plain bad. I felt like the actors who were playing these roles had watched the other small parts in the past films and just tried to imitate them. Also, the film does not really start until McClane gets the hacker. Before that, you feel like you are just killing time.

All in all, “Live Free or Die Hard” delivers with McClane once again finding himself caught up in something he didn’t ask for and having to save the day. It satisfies with the action and does not stop until the very end. This is definitely another good entry in the “Die Hard” series.

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