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(Review originally written at 14 February 2008)

Just what I had feared after watching its trailer for the first time; this movie doesn't really feel like its part of the Die Hard movie franchise. Main reason for this is its approach. All of the previous three Die Hard movies had a certain realistic action approach. The movies at all time felt like these events as portrayed could really occur one day. It didn't tried to overdo things and put in any overblown action sequences, even though some moments were still rather far fetched to say the least. And then there is "Live Free or Die Hard". In this movie John McClane battles a F-35 on an highway with a truck, fights an Asian chick in an elevator shaft will hanging in a van and crashes a car into a flying helicopter. It sort of tells the approach of "Live Free or Die Hard". It features mostly overblown action sequences and the movie, as well as definitely its story, are far from believable all. But there is nothing wrong with this all, since this movie is still a great action flick on its own right. Still I'm somewhat disappointed that the movie sort of lacks the same feeling and approach of the previous Die Hard movies.

What makes "Live Free or Die Hard" a great movie in its genre are its stunts. The movie knows to come up with a couple of highly original action moments and an even better execution of it all. Len Wiseman shows that he's a man who knows how to handle the action genre. But yes, even so I still wished John McTiernan had directed this.

The movie is good looking with a nice visual (though it was a bit too dark in parts perhaps) style, which looked like they had a serious budget to spend on this movie and they did a good job with the money.

The story and its main-plot is overall pretty good but only problem with it is that it's filled with some stupidities. This unfortunately ALWAYS happens when Hollywood decides to make a movie involving high tech computers and other technical aspects. Some things are just not possible as portrayed in this movie while others are just utterly ridicules (Really, press the delete button to make hacker leave your computer?). Hollywood always spends lots of money on hiring experts who tell them what is really technically possible and what's not but amazingly they all time ignore these advises, all in the best interest of the story and flow, at least in their opinion. I of course can somewhat understand this, since sometimes you just have to simplify a lot and make things happen without having to spend too much time explaining why. But this doesn't take away that the story of this movie is an at times pretty silly one to follow. But oh well, logic just isn't one of the requirements for an action-flick.

Bruce Willis is well over 50 but with this movie once more shows that he can still handle an action movie, also as John McClane. The character hasn't changed much, he still manages to get his shirt very dirty only he has lost more of his hair by this time. I have always liked Timothy Olyphant as an actor and I really loved him in "The Girl Next Door" but I had my doubts if he was already ready enough for a big villainous role in a movie such as this one. He was good enough in his role but unfortunately he wasn't exactly among the most or best movie villains of this or any other decade. Did they ran out of Gruber brothers already?

All in all, I can really recommend this movie as a superior mindless action flick. And after all, a movie that features a nice Boba Fett reference (of course also involving the Kevin Smith character) just can't be all that bad, even though the fans of the previous three Die Hard movies might still feel a bit cheated by this movie its style, approach and handling.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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