See It Free Or Die
I attempted to write this last night when i got home at 3:30 am after living free but would up crashing. So, now that i’ve slept a bit…what did i think of it? Well, let me start by saying that, sometime in the first few minutes of this film i remember thinking to myself, “jesus – we’re actually watching a new die hard movie…!” ….i don’t know – it just was just cool that McClane was actually back up there. Now, the thing is, that feeling only lasted for about a second or two…
It’s hard to die when you have computer screens that say things like “virus uploading” or characters spewing inane lines with the deliveries less believable than in DOA.
McClane is introduced in a very annoying and creepy way, but once we get past this opening “set up” scene…things begin to feel more Die Hardy once McClane picks up Justin Long’s character. The fact that Long is probably the best thing about this film says a lot. It’s great that he’s not annoying. It’s great that he’s got some funny lines. But c’mon. We’re watching a new Die Hard film and Justin Long is the BEST thing about it?! This is out of whack, yet this is the case.
During the first action sequence my hope began to rise. I was really into it. The action was choreographed well and there were a few really cool shots. Some strains of the original Michael Kamen Die Hard score were placed in…making it feel…Die Hard. I was smiling. Not bad so far.
What happens, though, is more of the aforementioned DOA-esque line readings. And Kevin Smith. And terrorists we don’t give a shit about. And Maggie Q opening her mouth. Not a good idea. And a lackluster lead villian. Timothy Olyphant was so GREAT in the girl next door. Fucking great. And it’s not that he’s bad here…it just boils down to him and his gang not being very interesting. And Kevin Smith. And McClane killing people and then going, “whooo!!!”. Umm… did McClane go fucking nuts since we’ve last seen him? Why is he going “whooo!” when he’s killing people? I’m sorry – i’m sorry… i don’t remember any “whooo’s” in Die Hard. I remember a regular guy who was scared shitless of the situation he was in.
So yeah – as Eros’ pointed out – there are moments here and there where you genuinely feel as though you’re watching John McClane. But more often than not – it’s just a different Bruce WIllis action movie up there. Which is not to say that’s not welcome. They don’t make enough action movies of this type these days. So, i tried to shift gears midway through and attempt to enjoy it as it’s own thing. Which is my top tip for you this week. While still not a great film, it is vastly improved when not going in thinking of it as a Die Hard. Which is ridiculous, i know, since it IS. But yeah. I’m trying. I’m trying to love you, Live Free or Die Hard. I’m trying.
But then there’s Kevin Smith. Fucker. Ya know, i remember reading somewhere that Ron Howard wanted Gervais in The DiVinci Code and Ricky pointing out that he would be a distraction to the film and he would feel out of place and not be able to live with himself. And so he wisely turned it down. If only Smith had this insight. What a cock thing to do. If he’s such a “fan” of the Die Hard films, he should have showed the same restraint. He’s a smart guy and should have realized how his presence would fuck this movie up. Fucking Kevin Smith. He ruins the act of loving Star Wars. Why does he have to take that shtick every fucking where he winds up?? If Daniel Logan was the beginning of Boba Fett not being cool any more, Kevin’s scenes in this film are the final nail in the coffin. Ass hole. (note – i love his films! – i just hate HIM.)
The screenplay COULD have been something great if not for all the generic lines and uninspired villains. I appreciate the fact that they tried to work in some references to the first one..but feel, as good ol’ Sallah once said, that they were digging in the wrong place. References to the first film don’t make something cool. Respecting the first film’s rules is what would have.
Finally, the action. As I said, some of the early action sequence feel very right. But as the film meanders on you get that trying-way-too-hard vibe. It literally becomes a fucking cartoon. There are scenes so over the fucking top that you become detached from the action. Detaction.
If McClane was to suddenly sprout digital wings and fly out of trouble up to the heavens where he makes guns out of clouds that shoot rain…you’d buy it because it’s really not that far off from what happens at the end of this film. A proper Die Hard film needs to be more intimate. And more reality based. Sure, McClane hanging outside Nakatomi Plaza on a fire hose may be unrealistic – but it felt believable in the context of that film. I mean, why not? But here – the ending with that jet…i mean – i sat there wondering WHY i wasn’t thinking it was cool. And that was the hardest part of all.