Directed by: Len Wiseman
Yes, boys and girls, NYC cop, detective John McClane is at it again; doing what he does best, kicking tail and taking names, only he isn’t so much interested in taking names as he is in doing his job of serving and protecting — especially when the people he is serving and protecting are members of his immediate family.
Well, this time out, the family member in question isn’t his long-suffering wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia); who actually happens to currently be his long-suffering ex-wife as she apparently (and understandably) divorced him sometime after — or was it shortly before? — he stopped Jeremy Irons from stealing all the gold from the NY financial district in Die Hard: With a Vengeance. This time out it is McClane’s daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who winds up in the hostage hot seat.
Still, as usual, it starts out small when a computer hacker uploads a mutating algorithm code (and no, I don’t know what that is either) to a “client” who (unbeknownst to the hacker) is going to be used to set off a home-grown terrorist attack on the US. McClane enters the picture when the initial assault (shutting all of the computers inside the FBI cyber task force) causes the Feds to snatch up all of the known hackers who are capable of snarking their system.
McClane is dispatched to pick up Matt Farrell (best known as the Mac guy (Justin Long) from those too-cute-for-words “I’m a Mac” & “I’m a PC” TV commercials, who not only has no clue that he helped precipitate a terrorist attack on the US, but is more than just a bit suspect that anyone would want to kill him. Needless to say, that all changes when a squad of killers descend on his dorm with automatic weapons. This is where the film begins to ramp up into high gear as detective McClane starts to go to work.
With each shootout leading into the next, and the level of violence and random mayhem being ratcheted up geometrically with each new firefight we so settle into the whole Die Hard with a Snappy Comeback paradigms. Willis is at his smart-ass, snarky best armed only with his police-issued pistol and wisecracking nihilistic attitude going up against uber-stylish, way-savvy crooks carrying high-powered, automatic weapons.
Yep, this is precisely the type of mindless, check-your-brain-at-the-door type of entertainment that we all need right now. The flick is pure John McClane, complete with all of the familiar hip catchphrases and random mayhem that we’ve come to expect from this character (wouldn’t it be interesting if this one outing didn’t only revive the series but moved it to the next level, and we don’t have to wait another 12 years for the next film — it would be very interesting if this character could become bigger than Willis and evolve into this century’s “James Bond” with Willis play McClane as long as possible And some other (younger) actor eventually taking over the role.
To be sure, I’m not entirely sure that some other actor can simply step into the role, and pick up where Willis leaves off (if, in fact he does), but didn’t we all same the same thing about Bond when Connery stepped down? (Plus there’s a new in the next “Raiders” film, so who’s to say? Still, in the meantime, let’s all enjoy Willis’ flip, too-cool-for-school attitude while he is in the role of Detective John McClane, and all not only live as free but die as hard as we possibly can.
So, having said all of that, everyone should go out and spend a couple of hours with John McClane, and Live Free or Die Hard.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comic books for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web.