If you are a devotee of time travel...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Live Free and Die Hard: Great Movie!

I saw Live Free and Die Hard with my son this afternoon, and loved it! (He did, too.)

It was an especially satisfying and appropriate movie, in this the weekend of the iPhone.

Some background and explanation -

1. I thought the first Die Hard movie was superb, the second excellent (meaning, not quite as good as the first), and the third very good. I'd rate the fourth - Die Hard and Live Free - as definitely better than the 2nd and 3rd, perhaps as good as the first, and in some ways, even a little better.

2. This movie had a James Bond and Terminator feel - two different things, of course - but LF&DH had them both. Bruce Willis (John McClane) was a little smoother than in the previous movies (and Daniel Craig was a little rougher in the most recent Bond, which drew the two characters and performances closer). The Terminator quality - by which I mean getting up from an explosive fire burning all around you - was also in the previous movies, but was more pronounced and effectice in LF&DH. One of my favorite scenes had Bruce taking on a figher jet - from the ground - and doing pretty well for himself.

2a. McClane also has a heightened MacGyver quality in this movie, harnessing the little and big technologies around him, making them work in ways against the villain, when hands and feet and guns are not enough.

3. Justin Long was fine as Matt Farrell, the (at first, reluctant) hacker sidekick. If you think Long really looked the part, you'd be right - he's the "I'm a Mac" guy in the Mac-PC commercials. He also looks somewhat like Kevin Rose of Digg fame, but people sometimes think my "looks like"s are a little off...

4. Timothy Oliphant was a good, tough, highly intelligent bad guy for McClane - following the tradition of the other Die Hards - and his bad girl friend, played by Maggie G - was hot, as well only almost as bad, tough, and viciously intelligent as Oliphant.

5. The true meaning of the movie: Farrell at some point explains to McClane that although so much of our lives and jobs is conducted online, there are still essential off-line components. This not only plays a major role in the movie, but symbolizes McClane - it takes his analog, real-world attributes to combat an ingenious and ruthless cyber-villain (who also understands that the real payoffs may be offline). In other words, there are some things even an iPhone can't do. Cellphone by Levinson

Hey, I like this lesson so much, I even wrote a book about it in 2003 - Realspace: The Fate of Physical Presence in the Digital Age.

But you won't need to read it to see Live Free and Die Hard - it's great on its own.

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Simon Haynes said...

Thanks for posting the review. The original Die Hard is still one of my favourite movies, so it's great to hear they might just have equalled it.

Paul Levinson said...

Thanks for dropping by, Simon.

The one difference between Die Hard 1 and 4, which some critics have complained about, is that McClane is a little less the common man of DH1, and a little more the superhero (which is why I saw Terminator reflections). But I didn't mind it, and in fact I liked it ...