Live Free or Die Hard
2007
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back and badder than ever, and this time he's working for Homeland Security. He calls on the services of a young hacker (Justin Long) in his bid to stop a ring of Internet terrorists intent on taking control of America's computer infrastructure. Fear not, the information-age plot still boasts plenty of good old-fashioned gunfights, smash-ups and explosions.

Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”

Somehow even stupider than the ads made it seem, this uninspired sequel-by-the-numbers vindicates every doubt that series fans expressed about director Len Wiseman, and vindicates every time Willis declined to waste his charisma on another retread of Standard Bruce Willis Action Movie. It's not boring – stuff gets blown up real good – but it's so married to the formula, you can predict what font they'll use for the closing credits. The portrayal of computer technology is ridiculous even by Hollywood's crazy standards, and that says nothing of the portrayal of the limits of the human body: McClane is thrown many stories through the air and slammed into concrete walls, and he just gets up and keeps going, apparently having completed his evolution from blue-collar everyman to Looney Tunes drawing.

What made the previous Die Hard movies so popular and enduring was not Willis's charm or the explosions, but the elevation of the material into something greater than a genre picture. The first took a high concept and ran with it, inventing the action-movie formula that has become a cliché since. The second worked its way through a labyrinthine plot that made the defeat of the villains seem like a Herculean achievement instead of inevitable. The third was determined to keep the audience guessing, with puzzles and unpredictable turns of the plot. But the fourth? Like Wiseman's abominable Underworld movies, it's perfectly content to stick to the formula and be just like every other predictable bore that preceded it, devoid of ambition. Movie-making is damn hard work, so Willis is right to ask why he should waste his time making something that isn't good. Willis, and McClane, deserve better.

− December 22, 2007 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

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