Live Free or Die Hard Len Wiseman

Live Free or Die Hard Len Wiseman
He’s "a Timex watch in a digital age” but John McClane doesn’t let a thing like technological advancement get in the way of stopping terrorists. The hardnosed NYPD cop who always seems to be the wrong (right?) guy in the wrong place at the wrong time is yet again called on to be the designated day saver.

This time there is a security breach at the Department of Defense and government officials look to nab all of the well-known hackers to determine who’s responsible. Cue our hero (Bruce Willis), who’s out keeping a watchful eye on his student daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) when he’s called on to bring in hacker Matthew Farrell (Justin Long). However, those responsible for the breach are also looking for Farrell — to exterminate him — and an explosive encounter at his apartment confirms that it’s going to be a very long day for Senior Detective McClane.

Like the previous films, the threat is again a terrorist; since this is the first Die Hard of the internet generation, they hit the extreme technological threat angle at full strength. Deadwood’s Timothy Olyphant is Thomas Gabriel, a brilliant ex-government tech wiz hell-bent on getting revenge by unleashing a devastating block on the nation’s digital infrastructure, paralysing everything from traffic to electricity to financial security, which, like always, is the foremost objective.

The first Die Hard in 12 years, Live Free or Die Hard doesn’t attempt to rewrite the franchise’s formula; it’s basically the same scenario each film in the series has followed to date. But newcomer Len Wiseman impresses with the strongest sequel yet, packing it full of the most unbelievably thrilling stunts (involving jets demolishing highways and "cars killing helicopters”) a Die Hard has ever provided. Icing on the cake comes from Mark Bomback’s solid script, which knows to keep the old school fun and add to the expected humour, which is enhanced by affable sidekick Justin Long (the guy from the Apple ads) and a cameo by Kevin Smith.

Willis owns this role — he should, considering it was the one that made him a superstar. Nineteen years after he first introduced us to McClane, Willis shows that he isn’t without rust but he throws himself around as if it’s his last shot at saving the day. The man really does need retirement but not because his action movies are suffering.

In a summer of three-quels, Live Free or Die Hard triumphs by adding one more notch to its booming franchise — a notch that is inferior to only the original. And to those apprehensive about the rating, never mind the fact that it is branded PG-13 — you’ll hardly notice. (Fox)