NON-STOP, EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT ACTION
by Ray Baxter, senior reviewer
Bruce Willis (who plays NYPD Detective John McClane) appeared in the first "Die Hard" movie in 1988. To his credit, in this fourth "Die Hard" movie, he is up to all the mayhem and carnage you expect from this series.
In Camden, N.J., we have a young computer hacker named Matt Farrell (played by Justin Long who looks like a young Keanu Reeves) who has unwittingly assisted former high ranking DOD officer and now terrorist, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), with his three-step "Fire Sale" doomsday plan to cripple all U. S. government and major corporate communications and computer systems.
When McClane arrives at Farrell's residence to escort him to the Feds for questioning, they are met with an assassin team sent by Gabriel to quiet Farrell for good. While McClane foils the attempt, by the time he delivers his charge to FBI Headquarters in Washington, the first phase of "Fire Sale" is in full swing. Communications are down and the bad guys have taken over the traffic control centers in several major cities causing massive traffic accidents and gridlock.
For the next two hours, this movie is almost nonstop, edge-of-your-seat action (you would be wise to get your popcorn before the movie starts). There are special effects sequences I have not seen done before in other action flicks (e.g. scenes involving a car/helicopter, fire hydrant/helicopter and for good measure truck/jet plane).
As the movie progresses, you realize poor McClane is surrounded by techies and most of the time he doesn't have a clue as to what everyone is talking about. One of the best lines describing our favorite detective calls him "a Timex watch in a digital world" which is perfect, because Willis' character takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
The Matt Farrell character adds another dimension to the movie. He is the opposite of McClane in that he is a somewhat timid nerd. The writers have given him some terrific lines, which have the audience laughing, when they are not holding onto their seats.
Stay around at the end of the movie for the credits to watch the most extensive list of stunt doubles you're probably ever going to see.
If you liked the earlier "Die Hard" movies, you will love this one. I think it's the best one yet.
LOTS OF ACTION, LOTS OF FUN
by Austin Bai, teen reviewer
After the luminous fireworks on July fourth, it is only fitting and patriotic that I go to the theater and watch "Live Free or Die Hard." The ornery and tough NYPD detective John McClane sulkily returns to stop (beat the crap out of) a squad of techno-terrorists who are hell-bent on creating an obnoxiously chaotic environment on the landscapes of America. This disruptive behavior on the part of the terrorists does not sit comfortably with our calloused hero, who prefers a rather stress-free working atmosphere.
The cyber-terrorists are under the leadership of a clean-cut, intelligent, and vengeful young man by the name of Thomas Gabriel. He has in his possession, a very bitter and unhealthy grudge against the government, so he recruits a bunch of geeky computer hackers and a dozen cold-blooded European mercenaries to carry out his grand scheme of total incapacitation of all things controlled by computers, which in America, is just about everything. But when Gabriel's mercenary henchman try to execute Matthew Farrell, a teenage hacker who is of no more use to their cause, McClane saves Farrell's life, but regrettably, not his apartment. And thus begins a bizarre partnership between a trigger-happy cop and a youthful man who has spent way too much time in front of a Dell PC. Together, this dynamic duo repeatedly fends off assaults from belligerent helicopters, nasty automatic rifles, and impolite threats from an increasingly agitated Thomas Gabriel.
With undying loyalty to the previous films in the "Die Hard" franchise, opulent doses of violence and over-the-top gunfights/fist fights/car fights are applied generously, from beginning to end. A standard issue .44 Magnum police handgun is just as effective as those rapid-firing automatic machine guns that are quite popular with contemporary terrorists, and when you run out of bullets, a battered police car will make a fine substitute. The above mentioned is properly demonstrated by Mr. McClane. Another notable action sequence is between McClane and the enraged Asian girlfriend of Gabriel. Of course, besides being a computer expert, she is also proficient in 32 styles of Kung Fu, which she charitably donates to the body of McClane. McClane showed his appreciation by ramming a 2004 Ford Expedition SUV at roughly 30 miles an hour into Mai (The Asian girl's name) and then into a solid-looking concrete wall. She didn't take it too well.
This movie was pretty good. Bruce Willis added his share of wisecracking and morbid humor to lighten the mood. And there are quite a few political jabs sprinkled here and there (FEMA, 9/11). Go watch this movie; you shall enjoy it in the very air-conditioned theater.