Thursday, July 19, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

Die Hard was a trendsetter in that it set all its action within the confines of a single building. Its sequels slowly expanded the hero John McClane's boundaries as he fought against the bad guys in an airport in Die Hard II and zipped around entire New York(with Samuel Jackson in tow) in Die Hard with a Vengeance. Following the trend, Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth instalment in the series, further extends his playground as John goes after a cyber-terrorist. So its not a good 'Die Hard' movie but as a generic action film, it fits the bill with good pacing and effective stunts.

Thomas Gabriel is the cyber-terrorist who is shutting down the computers that control all aspects of life in America. All hackers are being questioned about this and McClane is asked to bring a hacker Matt Ferrell to Washington D.C for questioning. But Matt had unwittingly been a part of Thomas' plan to control the country's computers and so Thomas wants to eliminate him. So McClane now has to save Matt and the country from Thomas.

The film has some good set pieces for the action sequences. The chase in the tunnel and the final chase (where McClane, in a huge truck, evades a fighter plane) are pretty good and the sequence with the SUV in the elevator shaft, while reminding us of a similar sequence in Jurassic Park - The Lost World, generates a few tense moments. Granted, almost all of the stunts are preposterous but created in the ol' fashioned way using sets and stuntmen rather than computer graphics, they manage to get the adrenaline flowing.

McClane gets a partner in the form of the hacker here and he does what unwilling partners do in movies like this - diffuse the tension, serve as a comic interlude and occasionally help out as he gets pulled into increasingly dangerous situations. While Die Hard III played the racism card as it pitted Willis and Samuel Jackson together, this film plays the technology card as it pairs up McClane and the hacker and paints McClane as someone not caught up with today's technology. It does get a few funny lines out of this.


At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Balaji:

I saw this one on the day it was released as I love Die hard movies in general and Die Hard -1 in particular!! Though the stunts are preposterous as you said, but still they are more enjoyable than the CG stuff that's been thrown out at us every friday starting from Spidey to Potter!!! I had great fun and thought this one is close to the first one, if not better. But defintely better than the 2 & 3!! Anyway, I am really waiting for Bourne Ultimatum ( I loved the books by Robert Ludlum). Hope that one is as goog as the Identity & Supremacy!!!

At 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a great weakness for the DIE HARD trilogy, and consider the first three films the finest of Hollywood, blockbuster entertainment. Dying(no pun intended) to see this.


At 9:38 PM, Blogger KayKay said...

Thanks for the review BB.

In a summer chock a block with over hyped, noisy and thundering sequels (Let's face it: Ghost Rider was lame, Spidey 3 a step down from Spidey 2, Shrek 3 the weakest entry in the series, Pirates 3 was overlong with a stupefyingly baffling plot which I'm yet to make sense of and Transformers was a migraine inducing cacophany of noise and fury), Live Free Or Die Hard is the true standout: A fast paced, unpretentious, adrenaline charged actioner that delivers a knock out in the thrills department for sheer exuberance in pace and it's staging of kinetic,over the top action sequences.
Have always felt that the real talent of good American movies is to take an action sequence that looks stupid on paper and make it look good, even briefly,on screen, the complete opposite of Tamil movies that manage to transform what look like fairly inventive set pieces on paper into ludicrously hilarious results on screen (e.g, the movie drive in vehicle mayhem in Shivaji)!
It's preposterous, no doubt, but tell me you didn't have a "WOW" moment in Die Hard 4 when that car careened off a ramp, smashed through a toll booth,zoomed through the air and collided with a chopper in mid air!
And refereshing to see a hero in his mid fifties playing a his mid fifties with grown up daughter to boot, no?

At 3:42 AM, Blogger Jolikum Salangai said...

hey nice blog... been meaning to read some books... been ages since i've read anything much at all.... u seem to have a few suggestions!!! shall get my head right into them! cheers...


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