Friday, November 30, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

And I thought that Jackie Chan movie strained believability! LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD has enough “Oh, come on!” moments for three or four normal movies. But I’ll bet you can guess what I’m going to say next: I liked it anyway.

I enjoyed the original DIE HARD a lot, the second one was okay, and the third one was still watchable. I’ll go along with the general consensus on this fourth entry in the series, which if I recall correctly was that it was not as good as the first one but better than #2 and #3. I could drag out my usual complaints about most modern movies – too badly lit, too choppily-edited, too hard to follow in places – and they certainly apply to this film, too. The plot finally made sense, I guess, but for too much of the movie it was a matter of “There are these bad guys, see, and for some reason they want this computer nerd dead, and Bruce Willis has to protect him. Stuff blows up.” What saves the film for me is its sheer audacity in asking the audience to believe in what’s going on, and the fact that Bruce Willis is just so damned likable. To continue the comparison to Jackie Chan’s THE MYTH, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Willis in a movie where I didn’t like him at least a little. He’s possibly the most believable movie tough guy in the business today, although at times he seems to be parodying himself (THE WHOLE NINE YARDS and its sequel). His world-weary cop role in LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD doesn’t ask him to do much except run and shoot and jump on or off of things as they’re about to explode, but he manages to bring something more to it anyway in the quieter moments.

If you liked the other DIE HARD movies, you’ll probably enjoy this one quite a bit. If you didn’t, you’d be better off giving it a pass.


Mark Terry said...

We watched it--twice--this weekend and thought it was a riot. Believable? Gimme a break.

But if you want to see Willis in very interesting action roles, I suggest:

Lucky Slevin (have patience; this movie seems to make no sense until the end when it all comes together)

11 Blocks (tremendous movie)

James Reasoner said...

Seen 'em both and liked them a lot, especially LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN, which I thought was very well plotted.