Live Free or Die Hard


Yippie-ki-yay! John McClane is back.

It’s been a long time since Hollywood came up with a decent action movie. Fortunately, Live Free or Die Hard helps reestablish a genre that has been on the recent decline.

The story begins when McClane (Bruce Willis) is assigned to pick up hacker Justin Long (Matt Farrell) and take him to FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. Thinking it’s just another routine assignment to pick up a computer nerd, McClane unenthusiastically goes to Long’s apartment only to find himself involved in a shoot out with people intent on killing the suspect.

After some intense and very slick action sequences in which McClane takes care of the bad guys, the pair heads off to Washington D.C. Once they arrive, the entire city begins shutting down. After a brief talk with the FBI, they conclude an Internet terrorist group is bent on shutting down the entire country by taking over the country’s vital computer systems.

But McClane’s not letting a bunch of computer geeks shut down the United States. What follows is two-hours of some of the most original and innovative action sequences in an action movie. Whether it’s taking down a helicopter with a police car, driving a 18-wheeler over a collapsing freeway system, or escaping from an SUV before it plummets down an elevator shaft, McClane shows that nothing can stop him from getting the bad guys.

Action and adventure type movies are never big on creating characters that the audience will actually care about. But that’s okay. There are just good guys and bad guys in this film. But like any good action movie, the audience will root for the hero and cheer when bad guys meet their demise – never mind the fact that the bad guy’s motives for shutting down the entire country are a little weak and the plot a bit implausible.

Willis is one of the most underrated actors and delivers another great performance as the hero who always keeps his cool even if the world around him is falling to pieces. He knows just how to deliver the script’s one-liners and come across as a regular guy who wants to save the world.

My only real complaint is that they killed off the best bad guy, played by Maggie Q, too early in the film. Q’s character was the most interesting of all the villains and it would have made the move better to see her in final climatic fight with McClane instead of the lackluster mastermind played by Timothy Olyphant.

Live Free or Die Hard is a perfect way to escape from the summer heat, reality, or any in-laws that may be visiting during Independence Day. Fans of action-packed, shoot-‘m-up movies will love the latest Die Hard installment and audiences will leave the theatre excited that once again John McClane saved the day.

Let’s hope Live Free or Die Hard is the first in a series of improved action/adventure movies that will come out of Hollywood.

*** stars (out of four)