Live Free or Die Hard
- Len Wiseman
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The story is all about computers. The world is now mostly run by software that can be hacked. When the US division to prevent such hacks is hacked, they get the idea that the whole country might be in danger. So they send for famous hackers for interrogation, but as it turns out, some of them are being blown up at their homes, presumably by the people who are trying to break into the US cyber-infrastructure.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) happens to be in the town of one of these young hackers, Matt Farrell (Justin Long), who’s about to meet his death when McClane picks him up and unknowingly prevents it. Since the bad guys won’t just let Matt live, knowing what he does, they try to murder him with all they’ve got, which is a lot. With Matt alive, McClane might be the only chance the country has, as chaos slowly takes over every system in the country.
This is a fun film from the get-go. Action takes over pretty soon and the proceedings are quite interesting, while McClane’s sharp sense of humor is constant. Meanwhile, Farrell is not that much of a nerd, but he’s not cool either; he’s peculiar, and I must say a well-though character that’s neither annoying nor too heroic so the balance is perfect and he comes off credible. In fact, he’s a good counterpart to McClane that helps gives our hero an edge. This is because McClane is brutal and straightforward, and Matt makes observations on this and constitutes a completely different kind of person. It’s a good team that I had loads of fun with.
The villain is Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), who’s trying to make a point by creating national mayhem. His most important assistant is Mai Lihn (Maggie Q), who’s excellent at computers and also martial arts, oh and she’s hot and Gabriel’s girl. And she kicks the hell out of McClane, in what becomes the best sequence of the film, and also the most implausible.
On the geeky part, there’s great pleasure in a character called Warlock, played by none other than Kevin Smith to great fun and important plot points. On the dramatic part, McClane’s daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) takes charge both in her conflict with her father and her undeniable resemblance in attitude and spirit. I loved her character and the way she reacted to what it had to go through.
Scripted by Mark Bomback from his and David Marconi’s story, and based on a thrilling article by John Carlin called “A Farewell to Arms”, for Wired magazine, this film is good, clean, big, harmless fun. My only complaint is sometimes the story is slowed down by comedy and there’s too much time spent unnecessarily with an agent Bowman (Cliff Curtis). I guess it gives us some perspective, but that’s not what we went in for. Good job by every performer though, and naturally the technical departments all did admirably.
“Enough of this Kung-Fu shit.”
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Other reviews of Live Free or Die Hard (2007): Morris