That was some loco shit – gruesome deaths, helicopters strafing, outrunning fireballs, hanging over great heights, jumping on moving objects, jumping off moving objects, shooting things to make them explode, head butting, speaking ill of the dead, helicopters flying in formation, PG-13 profanity, machine guns, a command center where people explain the plot, a Joint Strike Fighter piloted by the most bloodthirsty maniac in the Air Force, collapsing freeways, parkour, annoying meta references to the first three films, lots of broken glass, elevator shaft fu, and car crashes. Oh, the crashes. There are enough car crashes in Live Free or Die Hard to fill ten normal movies.
Darn it, I kinda liked it.
By the time the movie limps into the third act, it had built up so much momentum and good will that I temporarily suspended critical thinking and just enjoyed the whole F-35 vs Mack truck scene, even if it did deeply offend my intelligence. If you see the movie, you'll know what I mean. By the end of the film you will just be shaking your head and muttering, "No fucking way." And then you'll catch yourself and feel silly for applying logic and reason to this film.
There were a couple of things that bugged me about Live Free or Die Hard. Well, a lot of things, really, but let's just pick a few.
First of all, it's not really a Die Hard movie. I mean, the central idea is there - cop in wrong place, right time foils the plans of a group of sophisticated terrorists who are not what they appear to be - but I felt like this could have been Random Mark Wahlberg Movie instead of the fourth chapter in the franchise. The John McClane in Die Hard felt like a real guy stuck in a shitty situation, but in this one he has transformed into a frickin' OMAC* who bends physics and audience disbelief at will. The American Everyman is long gone.
Strap in, I'm going to bitch about something totally trivial:
There's a scene in Live Free or Die Hard where McClane1000 runs out of bullets so he uses his onboard cyber-targeting system to precisely launch a cop car into a cooperatively motionless helicopter. Big explosion. Hey, I'm not spoiling anything, man, it was in the trailers.
Keep in mind, this movie takes place on the East Coast:
Here's the thing: I don't actually recall seeing the Bonaventure in the film. They either cleverly avoided filming the building or they just did a little CGI voodoo on the backgrounds. I'll have to watch more carefully when the movie comes out on DVD. But let's say they did manage to keep the landmark hotel out of frame - why would you include a shot of said hotel in a photo in the official press kit? Newspapers and websites everywhere are running that shot of car + helicopter + Bonaventure Hotel. They couldn't have put some effort into their official press kit photos?
It reminds me of the remake of Dawn of the Dead. Man, I loved the first twenty minutes of that movie. When DoD V 2.0 came out, I remember reading a review and looking at one of the press kit photos of a horde of zombies doing the 100 meter dash. Let me see if I can find the photo I'm looking for...
Ah, here it is:
What's wrong with this picture? Yes, aside from "real zombies don't run," smart-ass.
Well, clearly the make-up people forgot to zombify the guy in the foreground's gut, because you can see a nice pink belly button that doesn't match the rest of zombie guy's body. Do I hold this against the filmmakers? No, but I can hold it against the guys that did publicity for the movie. Did nobody notice that? Nobody? I can't be the only guy in the world who noticed that guy's gut, and I'm just some dude. People actually got paid to select that picture as part of the press package.
Let's move on. There's another scene where the Thankless Expository Actors are flying around in helicopters over the Eastern Seaboard explaining the plot and I swear -and I could be wrong- I swear they are flying over Long Beach, CA. Am I wrong? I frequently am. Can somebody back me up on that?I get tired of seeing movies half-assedly pass one distinctive location off for another. It's like every film that is shot in Vancouver, B.C.. I love Vancouver, it's one of my favorite cities, but please Hollywood, I beg of you - stop filming movies up there. Movies that are shot in Vancouver look like they were shot in Vancouver, and no place else. Remember Rumble in the Bronx? Filmed in Vancouver. Did anyone for even a moment actually think that was shot in New York City? What about the scene where Jackie Chan is hanging off the speeding hovercraft in "New York" with beautiful snow capped mountains in the background? Please, no more Vancouver movies unless the story actually takes place in Vancouver.
Anyway, the whole point of that was I hate it when movies are sloppy about shit. I'm not losing sleep or anything, but it kind of bugs me because I feel like the filmmakers think audiences are too stupid to notice stuff like towering mountains in New York City and non-zombie bellies and the ubiquitous Bonaventure Hotel.
Oh, one last thing. The villain in Live Free or Die Hard looks like Ryan Seacrest. It was distracting. During one of the many tense walkie-talkie exchanges between McClanebot and Bad Guy, I kept expecting the guy to say, "I've got your daughter now, McClane. Seacrest OUT!"
So there you are. Not so much a review of the movie but just a lot of random, sloppily organized thoughts that pass as a review - which, considering the source material, is appropriate. Live Free or Die Hard is gloriously messy, fun entertainment. Go check it out, and come back and tell me what you thought of that crazy fucking jet vs semi scene.
*O.M.A.C. = One Man Army Corps