LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD unleashes more over-the-top justified mayhem from ‘John McClane’, the NYPD’s most hazard prone detective. In the 4th ‘Die Hard’ adventure, punishment-absorbing star Bruce Willis is once again in good form for another wild ride to a large body count and property damage that reaches apocalyptic proportions. Though the insane stunts, obliteration of structures and vehicles and the likelihood of surviving any of it pushes the guffaw button, the doomsday plot is nonetheless plausibly unnerving, the villains worthy of the designation, and the expected wisecracks get the laugh meter registering.
Bruised and blooded Bruce is dead-set on point and Justin Long is excellent as a snarky sidekick, a programmer wonk who Gen-X explains to the dino-cop that “It’s a three-step… it’s a three-step systematic attack on the entire national infrastructure. Okay, step one: take out all the transportation. Step two: the financial base and telecoms. Step three: You get rid of all the utilities. Gas, water, electric, nuclear. Pretty much anything that’s run by computers which… which today is almost everything. So that’s why they call it a fire sale, because everything must go.”
Cyber terrorist and dick-with-a-major-grudge ‘Thomas Gabriel’ (Timothy Olyphant) and a cold-blooded team of hackers and assassins stage a full-scale attack on the nation’s power grid. Bringing hacker punk ‘Matthew Farrell’ (Long) in for grilling, detective McClane inadvertently becomes lead Spartan for the FBI, racing against the clock to not just salvage America but also save his estranged, extra-plucky daughter ‘Lucy’ (Mary Elisabeth Winstead), hostage to the bad guys. Chief among the evildoers is Gabriel’s vicious lover ‘Mai Linh’ (Maggie Q), who simply refuses to play nice.
Spheres-to-the-wall audience pleaser, brightly written by Mark Bomback, directed full-throttle by Len Wiseman, became the highest grosser in the series, placing 16th in the States in 2007 by taking $134,529,000, one third of the global pull of $388,156,000.
Well scored by Marco Beltrami. With Kevin Smith, Cliff Curtis, Edoardo Costa, Cyril Raffaelli and Željko Ivanek. An expenditure of$110,000,000 and channeling of the right attitude produced 129 kickass minutes. This should have been the fitting finale to the series instead of the pissant #5 that slithered out six years later as A Good Day To Die Hard. Watch this bad boy, shoot that pretender on sight.