June 27, 2007, - 9:54 am

Best Movie of Summer (So Far): Awesome “Live Free or Die Hard” Defies Expectations

I went to last night’s screening of Bruce Willis’ “Live Free or Die Hard” expecting to hate it. And I was pleasantly–shockingly–surprised. I loved this movie (which hits theaters, today).
It’s hard to believe this is the third sequel to 1988’s “Die Hard”. The movie is the best movie of the summer, so far, and it makes my Top Ten movies of the year at this point, half way through 2007. I loved it. It’s pure non-stop action, filled with excellent special effects, great lines, lots of humor, and a very viable terrorist threat that can very easily be perpetrated on America, thanks to the do-nothing Departments of Homeland Security and Energy and the FBI. And it’s patriotic and enlightening.

This is what summer action thrillers are supposed to be about. And this is a great prelude to the Fourth of July. The audience clapped at the end, and when you see it, you’ll no why. A great return to the Hollywood action thriller. I expect I’ll only like as much as this one.
This time, Bruce Willis’ NYPD Detective John McClane teams up with Keanu Reeves lookalike Justin Long, a hacker who helps Willis stop cyber-terrorist Timothy Olyphant, who plays a former high-ranking government cyber-security official, who was ruined by the federal government, after he exposed and complained about holes in America’s national security post-9/11. (I personally know people who’ve complained about similar security post-9/11 and have had their reputations pillaged by the feds, so that’s legit.)
Olyphant conducts a “fire sale”–where the entire country, all of its infrastructure, is systematically attacked taken off the grid: All computer, electricity, and everything that operates on a cyber basis is taken out of commission. That means traffic lights, utilities, everything is undone. And the whole country is put into chaos. It’s called a fire sale because “everything must go.”
And as in real-life–where then-Bush Energy Secretary and did nothing after the Blackout of 2003 to ensure it doesn’t happen again (and he’s now a )–America remains vulnerable to attack.
A “fire sale” attack could definitely be perpetrated upon America in real life. As we know from testimony in the past week, there have been 800 hacking attacks into Homeland Security computers at the highest levels. What has Michael Chertoff done about it? Nada. Zippo. Osama Bin Laden took credit for the 2003 Blackout, and even if he wasn’t responsible, it’s very conceivable a cyber-terrorist attack on a fire-sale scale could certainly happen. Islamofascists are very tech savvy, even as they hate the Westerners who created it.
As readers know, I’ve been for a number of reasons and . I remain steadfast in that reservation and note that this movie would have been even more fabulous if they were. The identity and motivations of the terrorists in this one are harder to buy into. And, yes, some of the death-defying scenes in the movie are too incredible to be believed, especially with 52-year-old Willis (though he’s in better shape than many 40-year-olds).
Still, it’s a great movie. And I recommend it highly. Guys, you will love this. It’s a man’s man’s man’s movie in the tradition of some of the great action thrillers of the 1980’s and early ’90s with much updated technology. Think mixed with “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” It’s not for young kids though. This one is very bloody and violent and lots of people are killed, though usually they are bad guys knocked off by the good guys.
Another bonus: This movie shows how incompetent the FBI, DHS, and NSA are when it comes to cybersecurity. Aside from the Congressional testimony about DHS hackers and the repeated FBI loss of computers containing classified info, we know that in many of the important terrorist cases, NYPD officials–like John McClane–have stopped attacks (), where the FBI has been impotent.
This isn’t a spoiler, but I loved it at the end of the movie when the FBI agents finally show up and rappel down from helicopters, after John McClane and his allies have already saved the day and themselves from impending death. America knows this ain’t fiction, as evidenced by the audience (with whom I saw this flick), who booed the FBI agents.
“Would you go home, FBI?! You’re too late. Too late.” That’s what a moviegoer behind me shouted to lots of applause. If only that were strictly fiction and not–as it is far too many times–fact.
Just ask Special Agent (see also).
Go see this. You’ll thank me.

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6 Responses

To me, Bruce Willis is like Adam Sandler—as much as i want to hate them, they’ve yet to make a bad movie—and yeah, “Hudson Hawk” was an O.K. movie:)

EminemsRevenge on June 27, 2007 at 10:59 am

I can’t believe I agree with EnemasRevenge and say I liked “Hudson Hawk”, too.
OK, Debbie, you better not let me down, here. The original “Die Hard” is one of my all time favorite movies. I even liked the sequels, but I was planning on skipping this as it looked like a desperate move by Willis. I will go see it since I loved the original and based on your recommendation.
BTW, isn’t it rated PG? Did they cut down on the constant F bombs? I ask because I actually read some idiots complaining about this.

Jeff_W on June 27, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Happy to hear how good it is. I’m going to see it tomorrow afternoon. Can’t wait…

Freudianslippers on June 27, 2007 at 4:59 pm

It’s actually PG-13 whereas the others were R rated. There was a clear reduction in language, notably the F-bomb. The others were littered with them. There was still profanity, but lighter in comparison. You’re right that the movie was violent, but compared to the others, a bit toned down. The first three showed a lot more blood and graphic violence. This one was more tightly edited, and while violent, not nearly as bloody. That being said, it was one of the more violent PG-13 films I’ve ever seen.
The good news though, it was a lot of fun. Easily the most fun I’ve had at the movies this summer. ‘Pirates 3’ and ‘Spiderman 3’ were bloated and overproduced bores.
But you need to stop worrying about the lack of Muslim villains. It’s not going to happen in today’s Hollywood. And I wouldn’t say it’s because of an overly PC, culturally sensitive takeover. It wasn’t that long ago when Tinseltown produced films like ‘True Lies,’ ‘Executive Decision’ and ‘The Siege,’ each with Arab villains. Two seasons of ’24’ have also featured Middle Eastern terrorists. Action films and thrillers tend to thrive on recognizable stars as villains. Look at the careers of John Malkovich, Dennis Hopper or Christopher Walken. There are not many (at least to my knowledge) Middle Eastern actors recognizable enough to be profitable for an action film. Timothy Olyphant, while not a huge star, is at least recognizable for anyone familiar with ‘Deadwood’ or independent cinema.
The end game, especially for a ‘Die Hard’ movie, is bottom line profit. Hence the fact that they even made a fourth one (and a PG-13 rating). You may think it would improve the movie, but don’t expect FOX (or any film company for that matter) to cater anytime soon to that request.

AlternativeThought on June 27, 2007 at 5:24 pm

RE: Actors & politricks…
As i’ve stated previously, never gave a F-BOMB…god that’s UBERdorky…about any actor’s politics, and until i watched O’Reilly tonight, hadn’t a clue that Bruce was a neo-con. Not that it matters.
The dude flipping burgers could be a neo-Nazi for all i care, as long as he don’t spit in my shit, it’s kosher with me.

EminemsRevenge on June 27, 2007 at 9:51 pm

“I loved it at the end of the movie when the FBI agents finally show up and rappel down from helicopters, *after John McClane and his allies have already saved the day* and themselves from impending death.”
I’m afraid that you just ruined it for me Debbie. That just makes it seem like a cartoon.

feralcat9 on June 27, 2007 at 11:08 pm

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