Indiana Daily Student

Online only: 'Live Free or Die Hard' Grade: B+

McClane returns after 12 years

John McClane is back
John McClane is back

It has been twelve years since John McClane (Willis) was last seen on the silver screen and time surely has taken its toll. McClane is older, a bit wrinkled but also wiser from all the previous near-death experiences he's encountered, whether it was the time he escaped the destruction of Nakatomi Tower or raced around New York disarming bombs. Yet, in the modern world where technology rules all, McClane is beginning to feel like a dinosaur -- All that isn't going to stop him from kicking ass and taking names.

In "Live Free or Die Hard," this time McClane must go up against Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant, "Deadwood"), a cyber-terrorist about to bring America back to the dark ages with a "fire sale," which is technobabble for shutting down all electronic networks that power the nation from the stock market to the generators powering every city grid. McClane is in over his head as usual, but with the aid of a hacker he's sworn to protect, Matt Farrell (Justin Long), McClane will stop at nothing to take out his latest nemesis.

Despite all the moans and worried over a PG-13 rating, honestly, the film still delivers in every area. Shit blows up real good, the bad guys get shot and the only thing missing is the gore to go with it. I don't care about buckets of blood as long as the film is solid.

Willis is Willis; wisecracking and ass-kicking are his two hobbies in most flicks and he is great as always. Justin Long, fresh off a string of really crappy comedies, does fine matching wits with Willis and the occasional action beat comes his way every now and then. Olyphant maintains the "Die Hard" staple of villains who manage to be interesting and fun to watch, although an Alan Rickman or Jeremy Irons he certainly is not. Oh and let's not forget Kevin Smith whose minor role provides plenty of laughs.

"Live Free or Die Hard" only has one real problem and that's the pacing. At points scenes seem to wear thin, mostly as we're bombarded with those boring moments of people sitting at computers doing things most folks are clueless on, so it's clear we should get as frustrated as McClane.

With his previous track record of the two "Underworld" flicks, director Len Wiseman certainly has matured as a director. Granted, the action at times is absurdly unrealistic, Wiseman seems to be channeling big boys like James Cameron and Michael Bay. Sure he isn't John McTiernan (who I still would've loved to see directing this time around), but who is?

For what it's worth, "Live Free or Die Hard" is a great action flick despite the occasional slow bits and unexplained plot device (C4 charges on hackers' computers = never explained). It's not "Die Hard" or even "Die Hard: With a Vengeance," but it certainly is leaps and bounds better than "Die Hard 2: Die Harder"

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